MARQUETTE, Mich. - Down 2-0, the No. 6 Miami hockey team scored three unanswered goals only to have Northern Michigan score late as the teams played to a 3-3 overtime tie Saturday night at the Berry Events Center, but the RedHawks won the shootout to earn the extra point in the CCHA standings. Miami (12-5-5, 8-4-4-4 CCHA) snapped a two-game losing streak with the draw after falling to the Wildcats (9-10-4, 3-9-4-1 CCHA) Friday, while the two teams are 1-1-2 against each other on the season.
Sophomore forward Austin Czarnik, freshman forward Riley Barber and freshman defenseman Matthew Caito all recorded two points for the RedHawks, who finished with a 32-25 advantage in shots. Caito tallied two goals for his first career multi-goal game while Barber had a goal and an assist and Czarnik dished out a pair of helpers. Sophomore forward Jimmy Mullin was the only player for either team to score in the shootout, which lasted a season-long five rounds.
Both teams had a pair of power play opportunities in the first 15 minutes, but neither squad was able to capitalize. Just nine seconds after NMU killed Miami's second power play, the Wildcats struck first when Kory Kaunisto scored with 4:47 remaining in the opening period. Matt Thurber carried the puck into the offensive zone and found Kaunisto in front of the net, where slammed the puck past freshman goaltender Ryan McKay for a 1-0 Northern Michigan lead.
For the fourth straight game, Miami was unable to find the back of the net in the first 20 minutes of the contest, as NMU took its one-goal lead into the first intermission. The 'Hawks put just five shots on net in the first frame compared to the Wildcats' eight.
Northern Michigan doubled its lead only 47 seconds into the second stanza. Reed Seckel forced a turnover in Miami's own end and fed Thurber, who fired the initial shot that was saved McKay. Erik Higby was waiting on the doorstep however and lifted the rebound over McKay for a 2-0 Wildcat advantage.
Just over four minutes into the middle period, senior forward Curtis McKenzie and NMU's Stephan Vigier grappled after the whistle in front of the Wildcat net, which resulted in a game misconduct for McKenzie and a five-minute power play for Northern Michigan. The RedHawks rose to the challenge and played strong defense to kill the major penalty with a NMU minor penalty sandwiched in between.
The momentum started to then shift toward Miami as the RedHawks used a pair of special teams goals to pull even. With 4:17 left in the second period, Miami cut the deficit in half on a power play goal by Caito. It was an all-rookie goal as forward Sean Kuraly passed the puck to Barber in the left circle, where he sent the initial shot on net. Wildcat netminder Jared Coreau made the stop but the puck bounced out between the circles where Caito hammered the puck top-shelf for his first goal of the night.
Less than three minutes later, Miami knotted the game at 2-2 when Barber scored his first career short-handed goal and the RedHawks' sixth of the year. Czarnik stole the puck behind the NMU net and circled around for a backhand shot that Coreau saved but Barber quickly followed up and blasted the puck into the yawning cage for his team-leading ninth goal of the year with 1:59 left in the second period - a period in which the teams combined for 10 penalties and 31 penalty minutes.
The teams traded chances in the third period until Caito found the back of the net for the second time to give Miami its first lead of the game with 4:37 remaining in regulation. Caito sent in a shot from just inside the blue line that deflected off of a Northern Michigan player's skate and into the goal for his third tally of the year. Czarnik and Mullin collected the assists on the go-ahead goal.
The RedHawk lead did not last long however, as Ryan Daugherty stole the puck at the blue line while Miami was on the power play and went the other way on a breakaway. Daugherty went backhand, top-shelf to beat McKay and level the game at 3-3 with a short-handed tally with 2:25 remaining in regulation - the first short-handed goal Miami had allowed all year.
The 'Hawks had a chance to win in regulation as C.J. Ludwig was called for roughing with 2:05 remaining in the third period, putting Miami back on the power play. The RedHawks fired a flurry of shots, including three on net, but Coreau was able to keep the puck out as the game went to overtime. NMU nearly ended it in the extra session, but a review upheld a no goal call and the contest ended in a 3-3 draw, forcing a shootout.
After neither team scored in the first three rounds of the shootout it went to sudden death, but McKay made one of his four saves in the shootout in the fourth round while sophomore forward Alex Wideman was also denied. After another McKay save, Mullin crept toward the net and beat Coreau five-hole in the fifth round to give Miami the 1-0 shootout victory. The 'Hawks improved to 4-0 in CCHA shootouts this year while Miami has still not allowed a shootout goal in 12 attempts this season.
McKay totaled 22 saves in the contest (not counting the shootout), while he allowed more than one goal in a game for the first time in eight career starts. Coreau finished with 29 stops for NMU. Miami finished 1-for-5 on the power play while going 6-for-6 on the penalty kill after racking up nine penalties for 29 minutes in the game.
The RedHawks remain on the road next weekend when they step out of league play for a two-game series at WCHA foe Wiscosin Friday and Saturday, Jan. 18-19. Puck drop is set for 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. local time on Friday and will air on the Big Ten Network while Saturday's contest begins at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. local time and will be on Fox Sports Wisconsin+.