FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Sophomore Cody Murphy scored two goals while the No. 4 Miami hockey team jumped out to a 4-0 lead as the RedHawks went on to earn a 5-2 victory over Alaska Friday night at the Carlson Center. Miami (8-2-3, 5-2-2-2 CCHA) extended its unbeaten streak to six games with the win while beating Alaska (6-6-3, 4-5-2-0 CCHA) for the fifth straight time.
Murphy's two goals marked his first multi-goal game of the year and second of his career, scoring both on special teams, with the short-handed tally the first of his career. Sophomore Austin Czarnik added a goal and two assists while freshman Riley Barber and senior Curtis McKenzie each chipped in a goal and an assist as the 'Hawks matched a season high with five goals.
Although Alaska controlled play early, including multiple looks short-handed, the RedHawks struck first as Czarnik scored his team-leading seventh goal of the year 7:07 into the contest. Barber started the play by poking it into the neutral zone to Czarnik, who then found freshman defenseman Matthew Caito at mid-ice. Caito skated into the offensive zone, hesitated and dished back to a cutting Czarnik, who then beat a UAF defender with a nifty move and goalie John Keeney for a 1-0 Miami lead.
The RedHawks doubled their lead 14:21 into the opening period when Murphy scored on the power play. Murphy and freshman Sean Kuraly worked the puck behind the net until Kuraly was able to fire a shot that was saved by Keeney, but Murphy stormed the crease and poked in the loose puck at the post. Kuraly earned his first career assist on the play.
The second stanza was full of offense as the two sides combined for five goals in the period. Miami scored the first two of the frame to go up 4-0. Barber tallied the first one exactly four minutes into the period after some smooth passing from Czarnik and McKenzie. McKenzie spun around in the left circle and found Czarnik cutting toward net, when he dished to an open Barber for his sixth goal of the year from the opposite circle.
Murphy recorded his second goal of the night short-handed with 8:44 left in the middle period, giving him four goals on the year. Freshman Taylor Richart cleared the puck up the ice to senior Marc Hagel, who beat a Nanook to the puck, creating a 2-on-1 rush. Hagel then fed Murphy, who beat Keeney above his blocker.
Alaska started to rally late in the second period, scoring a pair of goals within three minutes to cut Miami's lead in half. Andy Taranto scored first for UAF to make it 4-1 with 6:35 left in the second period as he went top shelf off assists from Josh Atkinson and Adam Henderson. The goal was scored 4-on-4. Nolan Huysmans then made it 4-2 with 3:52 left in the middle frame.
McKenzie stole back the momentum just over a minute later however, stealing the puck in the neutral zone and blasting a shot past Keeney to restore Miami's three-goal lead at 5-2. It was his fourth goal of the year while Czarnik earned an assist on the play for his career-high-tying third point of the night.
Early in the third period, the Nanooks appeared to make it 5-3 with a short-handed goal but after a review it was determined Tyler Morley kicked the puck in and the goal was waved off. Alaska then had a 5-on-3 power play later in the final frame, but strong defense and shot blocking kept Alaska off the board as Miami closed out the 5-2 win.
Freshman goaltender Jay Williams made 31 saves to earn the win as the Nanooks outshot Miami, 33-30, in the contest. UAF's first goal snapped Williams' shutout streak at 112:42. Keeney finished with 25 stops for Alaska.
Miami was strong on the penalty kill all night, going 8-for-8, while finishing 1-for-7 on the power play.
The RedHawks and Nanooks square off again Saturday night at 11:05 p.m. ET/7:05 p.m. local at the Carlson Center.