OXFORD, Ohio - Sophomore forward Jimmy Mullin tallied two goals and the No. 6 Miami hockey team pounced on Bowling Green early behind a pair of first-period markers en route to a 3-1 win Saturday night at Steve Cady Arena, completing a weekend sweep. The RedHawks (15-6-5, 10-4-4-4 CCHA) are now riding a three-game winning streak while the sweep of the Falcons (8-13-5, 5-10-3-1 CCHA) was Miami's second broom-job in CCHA action this year.
Mullin's two goals, his first multi-goal game of the year and third of his career, were sandwiched around junior forward Bryon Paulazzo's game-winning goal. Mullin doubled his goal total for the season in the contest, as he now has four on the year. Senior defenseman Steven Spinell and freshman forward Sean Kuraly each chipped in a pair of assists, the first multi-point outing of the season for either player.
"We've played four lines the past couple of weekends now and it's nice to see (Blake) Coleman and Mullin going. McKenzie was out and Paulazzo goes in and scores a goal," Miami head coach Enrico Blasi said. "It's important to get everybody going because you don't know what player is going to make the difference."
After struggling to find the back of the net in the first period as of late, the RedHawks tallied two goals in the first 10:28 to grab a 2-0 lead. Mullin notched his first tally of the night with a snipe into the upper right corner of the goal just 5:20 into the game. Classmate Blake Coleman set up the score as he dropped off the puck to Mullin in the right circle while entering the zone.
Paulazzo, who was in the lineup in place of Curtis McKenzie after he was given a game disqualification on Friday, doubled the RedHawk advantage with 9:32 remaining in the opening period. Kuraly gathered the puck behind the net and attempted a wrap-around that went through the crease to Paulazzo, who banked his shot off of BGSU netminder Andrew Hammond's back and into the net for his third tally of the year and first since Oct. 13. Like Kuraly, Spinell earned his first assist of the night on the game-winning goal.
"It's been a good three months for me (since his last goal), so it feels good to score," Paulazzo said. "I just had the puck in the corner and the guy kept pushing on me. I saw Kuraly go and call for it so I chipped it behind the net and he did a wrap-around but it went backdoor and I was on the goal line and my shot hit the goalie's butt and hopped in."
The Falcons got one back with 1:17 remaining in the opening frame when Dajon Mingo beat freshman goaltender Ryan McKay above his glove hand to make it a 2-1 contest. Dan DeSalvo and Ryan Carpenter earned the assists on the tally. The RedHawks outshot BGSU, 14-5, in the opening 20 minutes, despite being up just a goal.
Miami regained its two-goal lead six minutes into the second stanza on the power play when Mullin notched his second goal of the evening. Spinell sent in a shot from the point with Mullin alone in front of the crease, where he took two hacks at the loose puck, the second of which beat Hammond for a 3-1 RedHawk lead. Spinell and Kuraly again assisted on the tally.
"We went on a drought there for a little bit but you can't keep us off the board for too long, that's our motto, and the last couple of games we've been scoring," Mullin said of the team's recent offensive struggles. "They've been close games, but our goalies have been keeping us in it and without them we wouldn't be winning those games."
The RedHawks then used their strong penalty kill to close out the win. Midway through the middle period, Miami killed the Falcons' first power play. Bowling Green then received its second five-minute power play in as many nights when freshman defenseman Taylor Richart was given a major for charging in the final minute of the second period. The 'Hawks once again rose to the occasion, killing it off in the third period to finish 2-for-2 on the penalty kill and 7-for-7 on the weekend a man down.
The third period saw three Falcon penalties, but Miami was unable to convert on the power play, as the 'Hawks finished 1-for-4 on the man advantage. Miami also had a 9-7 shot advantage in the final 20 minutes and ended with a 34-24 edge in shots for the game. McKay made 23 saves, including a point-blank stop on each BGSU power play, to earn his fifth win. Hammond totaled 31 saves in the loss.
"This weekend was a hard battle both nights. We had to block a lot of shots. Our two goalies played great. Our power play was clicking and our penalty killers did an unbelievable job," Blasi said. "We have to put that behind us now and focus on getting some rest and get ready for a really hot Alaska team."
Miami is now unbeaten in its last 16 games against the Falcons (15-0-1) and is 15-0-1 vs. BGSU in the last 16 meetings in Oxford as well, including Friday's 2-1 victory in the opening game of the series.
The RedHawks remain at home next weekend looking to extend their winning streak when they host Alaska Friday and Saturday, Feb. 1-2. Puck drop Friday is set for 7:35 p.m. while Saturday's contest, which is Skate with the 'Hawks Night, begins at 7:05 p.m. Miami swept Alaska in Fairbanks earlier this year for its other CCHA sweep of the season.