March 12, 2011
By Drew Davis
OXFORD, Ohio – No. 7 Miami earned a trip to Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, home of the CCHA Championship, with a second-straight 4-1 win over Alaska in game two of the CCHA quarterfinals Saturday night at Steve Cady Arena. The RedHawks (21-9-6) swept the Nanooks (16-17-5) in the best-of-three series to advance to the semifinals of the CCHA Tournament. Miami’s opponent is yet to be determined.
Senior Andy Miele led the way for Miami with three points while sophomore Reilly Smith added a goal and an assist. The RedHawks scored four unanswered goals to grab the win, as they did a night earlier.
"Our guys came to play tonight. They played with a purpose, obviously the purpose to get to Joe Louis and be in the semifinals,” head coach Enrico Blasi said. “We executed when we needed to and killed a lot of penalties.”
Just like Friday night, Alaska got on the board first, scoring on an odd-man rush at 4:31 of the first period. Miami had been controlling the puck on an extended attack, but the Nanooks came back in transition and after Miami goaltender Connor Knapp made an initial stop on UAF’s Scott Enders, Chad Gehon picked up the rebound and found an opening for the 1-0 lead.
Miami answered back with a laser of a slap shot from junior Cameron Schilling from the point at 13:23 of the first. His classmate, Trent Vogelhuber, took a pass from Miele in the right circle with his back to the goal and sent it to a wide-open Schilling just inside the blue line. The Miami defender settled it and fired it past Alaska goaltender Scott Greenham to tie the game at 1-1. Miele’s assist extended his point streak to a career-long 15 games.
Miele then put the RedHawks up for good with a goal just 16 seconds into the second period. Junior Will Weber stole the puck in the Miami zone and passed to Smith, who tapped it ahead to Miele. The national scoring leader then carried it coast-to-coast up the left boards alongside Vogelhuber with just one defender to beat. Miele faked a pass to Vogelhuber and then beat Greenham with a top-shelf wrister that rattled around the net for the 2-1 Miami advantage.
The RedHawks added to the lead with a short-handed goal at 9:59 of the second frame when Miele intercepted a pass in the neutral zone. The assistant captain sent a perfect pass ahead to senior defenseman Vincent LoVerde just as he was crossing into the Alaska zone. LoVerde stopped on a dime just outside the crease and pushed it past Greenham for the 3-1 Miami lead. It was just LoVerde’s second goal of the year.
"In playoff time you get a goal from (Patrick) Tiesling last night, (tonight) you get a goal from Schilling, and you get a goal from LoVerde shorthanded,” Blasi said of the contributions from non-traditional goal-scorers. “We were wondering what he was doing up there on the breakaway, but it looked like he knew. He's been watching Miele and Smith and Carter (Camper) for a few years so he knows what to do with it when he gets the chance. He just doesn’t get those chances very often, but he made the most of it and, shorthanded, that was a big goal for us."
Just 1:30 later, senior Carter Camper and Smith combined to finish off the scoring for the game. Camper got a pass low on Greenham’s right side from senior Pat Cannone and sent a shot off the goaltenders stick, right to Smith, who finished it off for the 4-1 Miami victory.
After allowing just one shot on goal by the Nanooks in the second period, the RedHawks closed out the scoreless third period with more strong defense. Knapp finished with 14 saves on 15 UAF shots, while Greenham made 32 stops on 36 Miami shots. Miami was 1-for-4 on the power play and finished 4-for-4 on the penalty kill, as the Red and White have now killed off 42 out of the last 43 power play opportunities for their opponents.
Miami will face Notre Dame, Western Michigan or Ferris State, pending the results of Sunday’s CCHA Tournament games, in the CCHA Semifinals on Friday at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.