OXFORD, Ohio - After needing overtime and a shootout to
decide its last two games, the No. 4 Miami hockey team left little undecided in
regulation Saturday as the RedHawks controlled play from start to finish in a
2-0 victory over Michigan State at Steve Cady Arena. Miami (7-2-3, 4-2-2-2
CCHA) is now unbeaten in its last five games and is 6-0-1 against the Spartans
(4-6-2, 3-4-1-0 CCHA) in the teams' last seven meetings.
Freshman goaltender Jay Williams backstopped Miami to the
win, pitching his first career shutout with a 13-save effort. It was Miami's
second shutout of the year, along with the season opener against Colgate. The
RedHawks outshot MSU, 36-13, for the game with the 13 shots allowed the fewest
Miami was given up all season.
"I think our effort from start to finish was there. We
challenged our guys to play 60 minutes. I think that this was the closest we've
been to that all year," Miami head coach Enrico Blasi said. "I thought our guys
did a nice job of continuing to put on pressure. Guys were doing what we asked
them to do."
The 'Hawks had a chance to take the lead early in the game
on the power play as freshman Sean Kuraly was camped at the far post, but his
redirection of a pass from classmate Riley Barber sailed high. Miami did score
with 7:58 remaining in the opening period though when senior Curtis McKenzie
redirected a shot just under the crossbar for his third goal of the year.
Sophomore Austin Czarnik won an offensive zone faceoff back to Barber at the high
slot, where he fired a shot that McKenzie deflected into the net.
After Miami earned a pair of power plays in the first frame,
the Spartans garnered a pair of man advantages in the first five minutes of the
second stanza, but the RedHawks killed both without allowing a shot on goal.
Miami then received a five-minute power play midway through the middle period
when Lee Reimer was given a game disqualification and a major for hitting from
behind, but the 'Hawks were unable to capitalize and the game went to the final
period a one-goal contest.
Neither team was able to generate much offense over the
first 10 minutes of the third period. With eight minutes left, the Spartans had
a 2-on-1 break after senior defenseman Steven Spinell fell down, but Williams was
able to make a shoulder save on Brent Darnell to keep MSU off the board.
Sophomore Alex Wideman then sealed the game with an
insurance goal with 3:45 remaining in the contest. Freshman defenseman Taylor Richart poked the poke free off a Spartan stick and Wideman gathered the puck
in the neutral zone. He skated in hard and blasted a wicked wrister from just
inside the blue line over MSU goaltender Jake Hildebrand's left shoulder for
his fourth goal of the year. Richart earned his first collegiate point on the
play while Wideman has now scored a goal in three straight games.
"I owe a lot to (Associate Head) Coach (Brent) Brekke. He
helps me out in practice all the time. Even if it's a small drill, if he sees
me not shooting the puck hard, he'll get on me," Wideman said. "Small things
like that make a big difference. He's been helping me out with my one-timer and
pre-game skate stuff as well."
The Spartans pulled Hildebrand in the final minute in favor
of an extra attacker but Miami kept MSU from generating any scoring chances to
close out the 2-0 victory. Hildebrand finished with 34 saves in defeat,
including 16 in the first period. Neither team scored on the power play with
the 'Hawks going 0-for-3 and the Spartans going 0-for-2 without even
registering a shot on goal.
"It's important to win in regulation," Blasi said. "With
this young team, you have to focus on one game at a time, which is hard to do
sometimes, but we will continue to do that."
Miami, which sits in first place in the CCHA after this
weekend, is off next weekend before making the long trek to take on Alaska
Friday, Nov. 30 and Saturday, Dec. 1. Puck drop is 11:05 p.m. ET both nights
(7:05 p.m. local).
"We got five of six points this weekend, which is big," said
Wideman, who scored the shootout winner in Friday's 2-2 draw with MSU. "That
gives us a lot of confidence as we are going into the break."