OXFORD, Ohio - For the first time in program history, the No. 8/8 Miami hockey team started a season with a shutout as the RedHawks began the 2012-13 campaign with a 3-0 victory over Colgate Friday night at Steve Cady Arena. Miami (1-0-0) won its season opener for the fifth time in the last seven years and won its home opener for the 10th time in the last 11 seasons. The Raiders fell to 1-1-0 on the year after totaling 10 goals in their season opener Tuesday against Niagara.
Sophomore Blake Coleman scored two goals to lead the offensive attack for the 'Hawks, tying a career high with his third career multi-goal game. Freshman goaltender Ryan McKay earned the shutout in net in his first collegiate game, stopping all 24 shots that came his way, including 12 in the final frame.
"I'll take it any way I can get it, but definitely starting out with a shutout is a nice way to do it. I felt like as a team we played well enough to deserve a shutout tonight," McKay said. "A lot of these guys I played with along the way when I played in the USHL with Green Bay. That definitely helps the transition part. Our coaching staff also prepared us well for the season."
The RedHawks struck first with 6:58 remaining in the opening stanza as Coleman scored Miami's first goal of the season. Sophomore Alex Wideman started the play with a pass up to senior transfer Marc Hagel, who carried the puck into the offensive zone. Hagel sent a backhand pass between the circles where Coleman ripped the puck into the net for a 1-0 lead.
Colgate turned up the pressure over the next two minutes, firing several shots, including a wrap-around, but McKay was up to the task each time, making multiple tough saves to keep the RedHawks ahead. Miami took its one-goal advantage into the first intermission while killing a pair of penalties in the opening 20 minutes as well.
After just missing a goal on a rebound on the power play early in the second stanza, junior Bryon Paulazzo did light the lamp 6:41 into the period. Sophomore Austin Czarnik stole the puck at the Colgate blue line and quickly turned around creating a 2-on-1 break. He dished to Paulazzo, who went between his legs to beat a Raider defender before banking the shot off the inside of Colgate netminder Eric Mihalik's leg pad and into the cage for a 2-0 Miami lead.
Coleman struck again with just 1:15 remaining in the middle frame for his second tally of the night. With the teams skating 4-on-4 due to penalties on each team, a Raider defender was unable to control a pass at the blue line as the puck skipped over his stick. Coleman muscled his way to get control of the puck and skated toward goal with the defender draped on him. Coleman sent in a shot that Mihalik got a piece of but the puck still made its way into the net for a 3-0 RedHawk advantage after two periods.
Coming out of the second intermission, Colgate switched goalies, putting Spencer Finney in to relieve Mihalik. Finney kept Miami off the board, making nine saves, but the Raider offense was unable to solve McKay. Colgate garnered four power plays in the third period, firing five shots on the man-advantage situations, but the RedHawks were able to kill the penalty each time, including a 5-on-3 power play to end the game and close out the 3-0 victory.
"I thought we played hard tonight. I thought we did a lot of good things with the puck and without the puck. There were times when we got a little bit crazy, especially in our own zone, but our effort was pretty good tonight," head coach Enrico Blasi said. "Usually when your efforts good, well sometimes you get the bounces. It was nice to see all the young guys get some experience in a tight game like that against a very good Colgate team."
Mihalik totaled 12 saves in two periods of work for Colgate while both teams fired 24 shots on goal. Miami finished a perfect 8-for-8 on the penalty kill, just one shy of its season high from a year ago, but went 0-for-4 on its own power plays, including a five-minute man advantage in the second period.
The RedHawks go for a sweep of the Raiders Saturday at Steve Cady Arena when the two sides complete the two-game series. Puck drop is set for 7:05 p.m.