ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Opening its 32nd and final season of Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) action, the No. 3 Miami hockey was tied with No. 6 Michigan after two periods but the Wolverines scored a pair of third-period goals to hand the RedHawks a 4-2 loss Friday night at Yost Ice Arena. The defeat was the first of the year for the RedHawks (3-1-1, 0-1-0-0 CCHA) while the game was also the CCHA opener for Michigan (3-1-0, 1-0-0-0 CCHA).
Miami had numerous quality scoring chances throughout the game but could only manage to deposit two in the net. The Wolverines outshot the RedHawks, 35-32, in an evenly played game, while special teams also played a big factor as Miami scored both its goals on special teams while UM tallied a power play goal, as well. The 'Hawks finished 6-for-7 on the penalty kill while scoring short-handed, and went 1-for-5 with a man advantage.
The RedHawks jumped on the board first, benefitting from an early power play as sophomore Cody Murphy scored his first goal of the year just 3:14 into the contest. It was an all-sophomore goal as Michigan netminder Steve Racine tried to play the puck but missed with his stick. The puck went to Jimmy Mullin, who quickly fed an open Murphy in the right circle where he shot it into the goal but as he did so, Racine knocked the net off its moorings. After a long review, Murphy was credited with the goal to give the 'Hawks a 1-0 lead.
With 15:01 remaining in the first, freshman goaltender Ryan McKay injured himself after making a save and classmate Jay Williams was forced into the action. He was tested early as the Wolverines had a 5-on-3 power play for over a minute but he kept Michigan off the board with several strong saves.
Miami nearly doubled its lead with just under eight minutes left in the opening period as senior Marc Hagel and freshman Kevin Morris had a 2-on-1 break but Morris was unable to finish Hagel's crisp pass as Racine recovered in time to keep it a one-goal game. The Wolverines got their third power play late in the first period and found the equalizer with 2:33 remaining as A.J. Treais scored on a one-timer from the blue line past a screened Williams.
After a fast a furious start to the second period, Miami generated several good chances, including sophomore Austin Czarnik hitting the post and creating a 2-on-1 rush but the RedHawks were unable to grab the lead. The Wolverines then snagged their first lead of the night 6:32 into the second period as freshman Riley Barber fell down with the puck and Treais skated the other way. He pulled up just inside the blue line and fired a wrister past Williams for his second tally of the night.
Barber made up for his fall with 8:02 left in the middle stanza as he stole the puck behind the Michigan net from Racine and another Wolverine while the RedHawks were short-handed. He quickly centered to Czarnik, who hammered the puck home before Racine could recover to level the game at 2-2 with his third goal of the year.
Czarnik generated more pressure with multiple good looks late in the second stanza, including hitting the post again, and drew a penalty. Michigan nearly scored short-handed however, as UM hit the post themselves with under minute to go but senior Curtis McKenzie cleared the puck off the line as the teams went into the second break even at 2-2.
The RedHawks started the final frame on the power play but were unable to capitalize. The Wolverines then grabbed a 3-2 lead 8:41 into the third period, taking advantage of Miami miscue. The RedHawks had the puck just inside their own blue line but failed to clear as Jacob Trouba forced a turnover and eventually Mike Chiasson was able to poke the puck past Williams.
Less than four minutes later, the Wolverines doubled their lead. Trouba sent in a blast from the blue line that Williams saved but the rebound popped out to Alex Guptill between the circles, where he buried the puck for a 4-2 Michigan advantage. The 'Hawks pulled Williams late but were unable to dent the lead as Miami suffered its first loss of 2012-13.
Williams finished with a career-high 30 saves in relief while Racine also totaled 30 saves to earn the win.
The two sides square off again Saturday at 7:35 p.m. at Yost Ice Arena.