OXFORD, Ohio - After Colgate scored the game's first goal, the No. 8/8 Miami hockey team responded with five unanswered goals, including three in the third period, to complete a weekend sweep of the Raiders with a 5-1 victory Saturday night at Steve Cady Arena. The RedHawks (2-0-0) opened the season with a sweep for just the second time in the last five years as Miami blanked Colgate (1-2-0), 3-0, in its season opener Friday.
The 'Hawks received offensive contributions from all four forward lines as five different players notched goals while 11 RedHawks recorded at least a point, led by a trio of assists from sophomore Cody Murphy. The three helpers marked a career high in both points and assists for Murphy. Classmates Alex Wideman and Blake Coleman each tallied multiple points as well with a goal and an assist each.
"That's the way it is going to be for us, everyone is going to do their part and just play hard and continue to play hard and continue to execute on our game plan. Hopefully good things will happen," head coach Enrico Blasi said. "We are getting good play from everybody. It's tough to close out a team in college hockey and I think our young guys got a good lesson in that this weekend. We learned a lot and that's the experience I was talking about earlier in the week. There's only one way to get the experience and that's to go through it."
For the second straight night, Miami received strong goaltending from a freshman as Jay Williams made 20 saves while allowing just one goal in his first collegiate action to earn his first career win. Classmate Ryan McKay pitched the shutout Friday night in his first game at Miami.
Colgate jumped out in front 11:40 into the opening period as the RedHawks allowed their first goal of the year. Tylor Spink started the play with a pass from below the goal line to Jeremy Price, who fired a shot from the blue line that was deflected. The slow moving puck went right Kyle Baun between the circles, where he turned around a Miami defender and fired a shot past Williams, who had slid out of position in attempt to stop the initial shot.
"After that first goal (allowed), there was no doubt and no one was down on themselves on the bench, which is huge," Wideman said. "Everyone was calm and everything was going to be alright. We just had to do the process right. In the process we are going to get some shots on net, go to the net, screen the goalie and you're going to get goals. We did that and got the win."
The RedHawks did not trail for long, however, as junior Bryon Paulazzo scored his second goal in as many nights less than five minutes later on the power play. Wideman sent a pass from the point to Murphy in the circle to Colgate goaltender Eric Mihalik's right, where he quickly centered to Paulazzo, who was camped between the circles and banged the puck by Mihalik to even the contest at 1-1.
Freshman Kevin Morris gave Miami its first lead of the night, 2-1, 2:52 into the second stanza with his first career goal. Junior Max Cook went to work behind the net and was able to break free for a quick shot at the near post from Mihalik's right. The netminder made the save but the rebound went right to Morris, who buried the puck in the open net on the opposite side. Senior Steve Mason picked up the second helper.
Miami continued to control the second period, but was unable to add to its lead despite outshooting the Raiders, 16-6, in the middle 20 minutes. Colgate had a few chances on its lone power play opportunity of the period but Williams made multiple key saves with heavy traffic in front of the crease to keep the 'Hawks on top.
With 13:22 remaining in the final frame, Miami doubled its advantage off the stick of Wideman. Coleman went hard to the net with the puck before having it poked away to Murphy in the corner to Mihalik's left. Murphy centered to a cutting Wideman between the circles, where he beat Mihalik above his left shoulder with a hard wrister for his first goal of the year.
Colgate nearly got one back less than a minute later as the puck was loose in the crease and the Raiders had an open net, point-blank but Williams swung his arm behind him on the ice to prevent the puck from crossing the line with a highlight-reel save.
With 4:26 remaining in the game, the Raiders' Tyson Spink was disqualified for an elbow to the head of senior Marc Hagel, giving Miami a power play for the remainder of the game. The RedHawks took advantage with two power play goals in the final three minutes.
Freshman Riley Barber scored the first one for his first career goal, cleaning up a rebound off a wrap-around from sophomore Jimmy Mullin right in front of the net to make it 4-1. Just over a minute later with only 1:13 to play, Coleman recorded his third goal of the year with a sharp-angle shot from the left circle to complete the 5-1 victory. Freshman Chris Joyaux earned an assist on the goal, his first career point, while Murphy picked up his third assist of the night on the goal.
Miami finished with a 32-21 shot advantage, as Mihalik totaled 27 saves in defeat for the Raiders. The RedHawks went 3-for-6 on the power play while going a perfect 5-for-5 on the penalty kill. Miami was a combined 13-for-13 on the penalty kill against Colgate on the weekend.
"It's huge," Blasi said of the opening weekend sweep. "It gives us so much more confidence going into this week's preparation. It gives us an idea of what we need to do. Besides that, we got a couple wins and those are huge. You never know how big those are going to be at the end of the year."
The RedHawks continue their season-opening home stand next weekend, hosting Hockey East foe Providence Oct. 19-20 at Steve Cady Arena. Puck drop Friday is at 7:35 p.m. while Saturday's contest is at 7:05 p.m.