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'Hawks, Dogs split series

By Joe Gieringer
On November 5, 2012

The fourth-ranked Miami University men's hockey team (5-2-1) continued in-conference play over the weekend against Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) foe No. 18 Ferris State University (FSU), splitting the series.

Miami fell 3-0 Friday, but bounced back Saturday winning 4-2.

Freshman forward Riley Barber was named National Rookie of the Month by the Hockey Commissioners' Association (HCA) Saturday, making him the first RedHawk since Andy Miele to receive HCA honors.

The Bulldogs (3-3-2) came out strong Friday as defenseman Brandon Anselmini opened up the scoring halfway through the first period on the power play, beating freshman goalie Jay Williams with a snipe from the blue line. Miami rebounded and created scoring chances late in the first and into the second frame, but the RedHawks had trouble finding the back of the net thanks in large part to the play of Ferris goaltender CJ Motte, who finished the night with 25 saves and a shutout.

FSU finished out the game scoring twice in the span of four minutes, including another power play (PP) tally. The Bulldogs came into the game with the most efficient PP in the league, converting 40 percent of their man-up chances. Miami was outshot 31-25 overall and 14-6 in the first period alone.

"Friday we just didn't come to play really, we didn't win the battles one-on-one," sophomore forward Austin Czarnik said. "We had no flow whatsoever. But Saturday we came out with a new mindset."

The RedHawks looked refreshed Saturday night and came out swinging early. Senior forward Curtis McKenzie was tripped up on a breakaway chance just two minutes into the game and was awarded a penalty shot. Though he could not net an early goal, freshman forward Kevin Morris stuffed the puck in on a rebound attempt later in the period to put Miami on the board first. That lead did not last long however, as Ferris State's leading assist-getter Jason Binkley upped his year's total to six on a pass to sophomore Justin Buzzeo, who redirected the puck past Williams to tie the game at one.

As the second period rolled on, Miami's freshman class stepped up yet again when forward Sean Kuraly scored on the power play to give the 'Hawks the lead. Classmate Matthew Caito earned the assist on the play, giving the son of Miami all-time leading goal scorer Rick Kuraly his first collegiate goal.

"I was lucky that it was sitting right there, so I put it in the back of the net - I wasn't going to let that one go by," Kuraly said. "But I'm glad. The guys did a great job on the power play and they ended up feeding me right in front of the net. It was a big goal for us; we needed that."

Miami made it a two-goal game early in the final frame when sophomore center Austin Czarnik buried the eventual game-winner on a feed from Barber.

Though FSU cut the deficit to one with just over five minutes remaining in the game, Williams stood strong in net late. The Bulldogs pulled their goalie in favor of an extra attacker, but Czarnik turned the tables and scored an empty net goal for his second of the night and fifth on the season to secure the RedHawk win.

"We did a great job bouncing back," Kuraly said. "We used some new strategies to counteract what they were doing and it all worked out for us. Losing on Friday and then coming back to win at Yost and at Ferris Saturday nights is definitely huge for us going forward."

Miami returns to action Nov. 9 on home ice, taking on the Wildcats of Northern Michigan University. The puck drops 7:35 p.m. Friday and 7:05 p.m. Saturday at Goggin.

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