KALAMAZOO, Mich. - Freshman goaltender Ryan McKay stopped all 29 shots he faced and the No. 3 Miami hockey team controlled play from start to finish en route to a 4-0 shutout of No. 6 Western Michigan Saturday night at Lawson Ice Arena. The RedHawks (18-7-5, 13-5-4-4 CCHA) avenged Friday's 2-0 loss to the Broncos (18-7-5, 14-5-3-1 CCHA) while snapping WMU's six-game unbeaten streak in the process.
With the win, Miami also regained the top spot in the CCHA, moving one point ahead of Western Michigan. The Broncos, who suffered their first home CCHA loss of the year Saturday and just their second home loss of the season overall, fall back to second place after jumping the RedHawks with Friday's win.
The shutout was McKay's third of the season (and of his career) while it was Miami's fifth of the season as a team. Freshman forward Riley Barber and senior forward Curtis McKenzie both recorded two points on a goal and an assist each, with Barber's goal the game-winner.
After not finding the back of the net all night Friday, Miami came out firing on all cylinders Saturday, creating several good scoring chances in front of the net. WMU netminder Frank Slubowski made several big saves early to keep the RedHawks off the board, but Barber gave Miami a 1-0 lead with 7:17 remaining in the opening period. Freshman defenseman Taylor Richart fired a blast from the blueline that was deflected by Barber past Slubowski for his team-leading 12th goal of the year. Senior defenseman Garrett Kennedy earned the second assist.
Miami doubled its lead just 2:39 into the second period on the power play. Barber sent in a shot from the point and McKenzie was camped in front of Slubowski where he redirected the puck into the net five-hole for his eighth goal of the year. Freshman defenseman Matthew Caito collected the other helper.
The RedHawks scored for the second time in the second stanza on just their third shot of the period when junior forward Max Cook found the net with 8:47 remaining in the period. Sophomore forward Blake Coleman scooped the puck out of the corner to classmate Jimmy Mullin behind the net, where he back-handed a pass to Cook alone in front of the net. Cook deked Slubowski and deposited the puck in the empty net for his second goal of the year (and in as many weekends) and a 3-0 Miami lead.
Immediately following Cook's goal he was called for a cross check while another Miami penalty seconds later gave the Broncos an extended 5-on-3 power play. The RedHawks buckled down, however, and killed both penalties to prevent WMU from cutting into the lead and took their three-goal lead into the second intermission despite being outshot, 11-8, over the middle 20 minutes.
The third period did not see much offense for most of the stanza, until a pair of penalties seconds apart led to 4-on-4 hockey. With 5:28 remaining in the contest, redshirt senior Marc Hagel concluded the scoring as he took a pass from senior defenseman Joe Hartman and muscled the puck inside the right post past Lukas Hafner, who replaced Slubowski for the third period, from behind the goal for his third tally of the season.
Miami finished with 27 shots in the contest, 13 of which came in the first period, as the RedHawks were outshot by two for the game. Slubowski totaled 18 saves in 40 minutes of work while Hafner stopped five in the final frame. Miami finished 1-for-5 on the power play while going a perfect 5-for-5 on the penalty kill.
Miami returns home to host No. 11/12 Notre Dame on Friday at Steve Cady Arena. Puck drop is set for 7:35 p.m. while the game will be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network. Both teams then travel to Chicago for the OfficeMax Hockey City Classic on Sunday, Feb. 17 when the two sides will complete the weekend series with an outdoor game at Soldier Field. The OfficeMax Hockey City Classic begins at 1 p.m. ET/noon CT and will be televised on Fox Sports Detroit, Fox Sports Ohio and several other Fox Sports affiliates.