The Brotherhood sweeps opening series for 2nd time in 5 years
The No. 8 Miami University hockey team swept its season opening series for only the second time in the past five years, shutting out Colgate University 3-0 Friday and besting them 5-1 Saturday at Steve Cady Arena.
The RedHawks came out strong Friday with a goal halfway through the first frame, as one-touch passing from sophomore forward Alex Wideman and senior forward Marc Hagel helped sophomore line mate Blake Coleman light the lamp to gain an early lead. The physical play picked up throughout the game, with Miami asserting itself over the equally sized Raiders.
"It's just part of our team and who we are," Blasi said of the physical play. "It's been kind of our M.O. When we're physical and we're in the game and we're skating, we're effective. And that's how we've got to play."
Sure enough, big hits by RedHawk defensemen opened up big plays. At 6:41 in the second period, sophomore forward Austin Czarnik dished a blind pass into junior forward Bryon Paulazzo's feet, who kicked it to his stick and fired a five-hole shot to put the 'Hawks up two.
But hitting was not the only thing that energized the 'Hawks. Miami sent nine men to the box Friday night, yet still managed to successfully kill each penalty. They even capitalized on a 4-on-4 situation with just over one minute remaining in the second, when Coleman out-muscled a Colgate player to sneak a well-placed wrist shot by the goalie, picking up his second goal of the night.
The Raiders battled back in the third, but Miami rallied around freshman goaltender Ryan McKay, who turned aside 12 shots in the third period for 24 total saves and his first collegiate victory and shutout.
"I'll take it any way I can get it, but starting out with a shutout is definitely a nice way to do it," McKay said. "I thought as a team we played well enough to deserve a shutout tonight."
Miami continued to play two-way hockey Saturday, as Paulazzo tallied his second goal of the year off a picturesque pass from sophomore line mate Cody Murphy to tie the game at one. The RedHawks started the second period quickly when freshman forward Kevin Morris buried senior Steve Mason's rebound, putting the Red and White up 2-1.
Miami did not look back, scoring three times in the third frame, including two power play goals, to put the game out of reach. Freshman goaltender Jay Williams notched his first win, turning aside 20 of 21 shots, while 11 RedHawks tallied points in the matchup.
Blasi stressed the importance of special teams in the two wins over a formidable Colgate opponent, as Miami went 3-for-6 on the power play and was perfect on the penalty kill (PK) Saturday night.
"Our PK was great all weekend and our power play came alive," Blasi said. "It gives us so much more confidence going into the week of preparation and gives us an idea of what we need to do. And besides that we got a couple of wins. You never know how big those are going to be at the end of the year. We'll enjoy it for a little bit and then get ready to play next week."
The RedHawks return to action this weekend, opening a two game series against Providence College Friday at Steve Cady Arena.
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