OXFORD, Ohio - For the second time in as many games, sophomore forward Alex Wideman (St. Louis, Mo.) scored the shootout winner as the fourth-ranked Miami University hockey team earned a 2-2 draw against Michigan State Friday night at Steve Cady Arena before earning the extra point in the CCHA standings with the shootout win. The RedHawks move to 6-2-3 on the season and 3-2-2-2 in Central Collegiate Hockey Association action, while the Spartans move to 4-5-2 overall and 3-3-1-0 in CCHA play.
"I thought we played hard tonight," said Miami head coach Enrico Blasi. "It's a good sign. We are going to be in a lot of tight games so we might as well get used to it, and I thought the guys handled it very well."
Freshman forward Alex Gacek (Dracut, Mass) put Miami on the board in the first period at the 11:15 mark on an unassisted goal, which was his second goal as a RedHawk. As Michigan State was trying to clear, Gacek intercepted the puck between the circles and fired a wrister over MSU goalie Jake Hildebrand.
"(Blake) Coleman and (Marc) Hagel had a great forecheck," said Gacek. "They were in there for a minute or two and had great pressure. There was a turn over to my side and I found the puck and had a quick release, and luckily it went in."
The RedHawks took a 2-0 lead when Wideman punched in his third goal of the season off a sophomore defenseman Ben Paulides (San Jose, Calif.) assist at 5:47 in the second period. Wideman picked up the puck skating away from Hildebrand to the Spartan goaltender's right, then spun and lifted a sharp-angle shot into the back of the net.
Michigan State pulled within one goal two minutes later, as Matt Berry scored at 7:38 off an assist from Matt DeBlouw. The Spartans evened the game on a power-play goal by Jake Chelios at 18:53 in the second period off a Berry assist. Chelios' shot deflected off a Miami defenseman just in front of freshman goaltender Jay Williams (McLean, Va.), sending it past his outstretched glove with just over a minute to play in the second period.
Both teams created opportunities in the third period, with Miami holding a slight 8-6 margin in shots on goal, but the two netminders held strong to send the teams to overtime. In the overtime period, Miami again held an advantage in shots with two to the Spartans' one, but for the second straight game the RedHawks skated to a tie through 65 minutes of play to send the game to a shootout.
Miami, shooting first, sent freshman forward Riley Barber (Livonia, Mich.) to center ice for the first attempt. Barber skated straight up the ice and made a move to his forehand to beat Hildebrand for the 1-0 lead in the shootout period. After two Williams saves and a miss by sophomore forward Austin Czarnik (Washington, Mich.), Wideman sealed it for the RedHawks when he sprinted up the ice, used a quick deke and sent a low shot past Hildebrand for the extra point in the league standings.
For the night, the RedHawks outshot the Spartans 27-21 as Williams made 19 saves for Miami and Hildebrand stopped 25 for MSU. The 'Hawks finished 0-for-4 on the power play and 2-for-3 on the penalty kill against the potent Michigan State power play unit that is ranked first in the CCHA.
Miami returns to the ice on Saturday, Nov. 17 when they complete the weekend series against the Spartans. Game time is 7:05 p.m.