FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Making his first start in over a month, freshman goaltender Ryan McKay stopped all 26 shots he faced to lead the No. 4 Miami hockey team to a 4-0 shutout over Alaska Saturday night at the Carlson Center, completing a weekend sweep. The RedHawks (9-2-3, 6-2-2-2 CCHA), who won 5-2 Friday, earned their first CCHA sweep of the year while defeating the Nanooks (6-7-3, 4-6-2-0 CCHA) for the sixth straight time.
McKay, who hadn't started since being injured at Michigan Oct. 26, pitched his second career shutout in just his third full game. He has allowed only one goal in his young RedHawk career and made several clutch saves Saturday on odd-man rushes and with heavy traffic in front of the net. It was Miami's third shutout as a team on the season.
A trio of RedHawks tallied two points led by redshirt senior Marc Hagel, who scored the first two goals of his Miami career after transferring from Princeton. Sophomore Jimmy Mullin notched a goal and an assist for his first multi-point game of the year while classmate Austin Czarnik added two assists for his second straight multi-point contest.
After killing a pair of penalties with some strong shot blocking in the first 14 minutes, Miami had a pair of power play chances of its own. The RedHawks appeared to score with 4:40 left in the first period as sophomore Alex Wideman blasted a laser on the first man advantage just inside the blue line that was ruled a goal initially but after a review it was waved off. The puck was ruled to have hit the bottom of the crossbar and bounced down but never crossed the goal line as the opening stanza ended scoreless. UAF held a 12-5 edge in shots after the first 20 minutes.
Wideman did score on the power play 2:26 into the second stanza on a two-man advantage to put the RedHawks up 1-0. Miami worked the puck around the zone to freshman Riley Barber in the left circle, where he fed Czarnik in the slot. Czarnik then quickly dished to Wideman at the opposite post where he slammed the puck home for his fifth goal of the year and fourth in his last five games, which turned out to be the game-winner.
Sophomore Blake Coleman nearly doubled Miami's lead just minutes later as he hit both posts in a matter of two minutes but both times Alaska netminder John Keeney was able to cover the rebound before the 'Hawks could poke it in. The RedHawks then killed a pair of penalties later in the stanza to keep UAF off the board as Miami carried its one-goal lead into the second intermission. The 'Hawks did flip the tables on shots with a 10-4 advantage over the middle 20 minutes.
With 11:36 remaining in the third, Miami added an insurance goal as Hagel notched his first goal as a RedHawk and first of three Miami tallies in the final frame. Mullin started the play behind the net and found Coleman on the doorstep. Coleman tried to slam the puck in but Keeney made the initial save. The rebound went loose in front of the crease however and Hagel roofed the puck to make it a 2-0 contest.
A little less than three minutes later Miami made it a 3-0 contest as Czarnik gathered a loose puck in front of the RedHawks' own net after a McKay save and found Mullin streaking alone at center ice. Mullin skated in on the breakaway and beat Keeney five-hole for his second goal of the year.
With 2:46 remaining, senior Joe Hartman was called for a trip and Alaska pulled Keeney to make it a 6-on-4 advantage for the Nanooks as they looked to chip away at the deficit. Hagel was able to add a short-handed empty-netter from just across the center line however to seal the 4-0 Miami victory.
Miami's penalty kill was strong for the second straight night, killing all seven Alaska power plays. The 'Hawks went 8-for-8 on the penalty kill Friday night, finishing 15-for-15 a man down on the weekend. Miami went 1-for-7 on the power play for the second straight night and finished with a 27-26 advantage in shots as Keeney totaled 23 saves in defeat.