OXFORD, Ohio – A weekend sweep of No. 12 Wisconsin was within reach, but two Badger goals in the third period sent the No. 8 Miami hockey team to a 3-2 loss at Steve Cady Arena on Saturday night.
The RedHawks drop to 7-4-1 with the loss and the Badgers are now 4-3-1.
UW got an early opportunity on the power play that MU was able to kill off, its 16th-straight successful penalty kill. Miami fired the next four shots on goal that were stopped by Joel Rumpel. The RedHawks got their first try with the man advantage at the 8:32 mark, but were unable to get any shots on net in that two-minute power play.
Miami found itself shorthanded with 4:10 left in the period, and this time UW capitalized. The puck got worked behind the net as several players on both sides were digging for it at the boards. Wisconsin’s Mark Zengerle got a stick on the puck and passed it out front to Jake McCabe, who fired a shot through traffic to put the Badgers up 1-0 with 3:08 to go in the period. That goal was the first power play tally allowed by Miami since facing Canisius on Nov. 2. McCabe’s goal was the only shot to find the back of the net as Wisconsin held a 1-0 lead after one period, UW held a 10-9 edge in edge in shots in the opening 20 minutes.
The RedHawks’ used a power play of their own to tie it when Blake Coleman blasted a shot into the top corner from the top of the right faceoff circle at the 5:01 mark of the second period. He one-timed a feed from Austin Czarnik after Riley Barber swung it to the MU captain. Coleman appeared to put the RedHawks on top with 7:30 left in the period when Cody Murphy found him crashing the net with a centering feed. The puck trickled into the net, but after an official review, the goal was waved off due to contact with the goaltender.
Undeterred, Czarnik put MU ahead with his seventh of the season after Jimmy Mullin chipped the puck up the ice to an open wing. Czarnik got to the puck, worked into the middle of the ice to use a UW defenseman as a screen and beat Joel Rumpel to give the RedHawks their first lead of the night (2-1) at the 14:28 mark of the second.
Wisconsin got to work with the power play once more. MU was whistled for a penalty with 4:47 left in the period and then another Red and White player went to the box with seven seconds left on that penalty. The RedHawks cleared the puck to stifle the Badgers’ brief two-man advantage and then a Jake McCabe penalty ended the second power play. MU had 36 seconds to work with on the power play, but was unable to add another goal. The RedHawks instead took a 2-1 lead into the locker room for the second intermission.
The Red and White got a power play with 13:32 remaining, but only one of their three shot attempts got to the net. After killing that penalty to keep it a one-shot game, UW evened the score at the 10:07 mark when a failed clear was picked off by Michael Mersch. He flung a puck to the net and Morgan Zulinick got to the rebound at the top of the crease. His attempt from in close hit the cross bar, but Mersch skated in and poked the rebound into the net to even the score at 2-2.
MU tried to turn up the heat immediately after the goal, firing four shots on net that Rumpel turned aside. The Badgers turned defense into offense with under five minutes left when Tyler Barnes blocked Alex Wideman’s shot at the point and skated the other way towards the puck. With a delayed penalty coming on the RedHawks, the puck eventually worked around to Joseph LaBate at a sharp angle on the left side. LaBate found a small opening and fired the puck in to put the Badgers up 3-2 with 4:43 remaining.
Trailing once again, MU also had to kill off another UW power play, which it did. In fact, the RedHawks got the puck right as Wideman’s penalty expired and an outlet feed sprung him with a partial break down the left side. His attempt from the left wing was stopped by Rumpel. MU had another good look as Barber had a shot go off post with time winding down, that was the last shot Miami attempted as UW salvaged a split.
Saturday’s result snapped an impressive streak for Miami when leading through two periods. The RedHawks had won 50-straight when holding the lead after 40 minutes of play since falling to Bemidji State on Oct. 7, 2011.
The RedHawks outshot the Badgers 34-26 overall, including 25-16 in the final two periods of play. Both teams converted once on the power play with Miami going 1-for-4 and Wisconsin finishing 1-for-6.
Rumpel turned away 32 of MU’s 34 shots while McKay made 23 saves on 26 shots. Czarnik led all RedHawks with two points on a goal and an assist.
The RedHawks play their next four games on the road, starting with a conference series at Nebraska Omaha on Nov. 22. That game starts at 8:37 p.m.