Brotherhood snaps skid
Published: Monday, December 2, 2013
Updated: Monday, December 2, 2013 23:12
Following a three-game skid that marked its longest losing streak since October of 2011, the Miami University hockey team got back on track with a tie and a win at Bemidji State University. No. 12 Miami improved to 8-6-2. Junior forward and captain Austin Czarnik had quite the showing Saturday, though the RedHawks showed up with a strong early effort Friday.
After building a 4-1 lead halfway through the contest on two-goal efforts by sophomore and junior forwards Alex Gacek and Blake Coleman, the Bemidji State Beavers battled back in the third period to tie the game with just seconds to spare. Though the RedHawks had a man advantage in the extra frame, the teams skated to a 4-4 tie.
“I thought Friday we played well early, but we let the momentum get away from us,” head coach Enrico Blasi said. “The second night, it was more back and forth, and in the third period we made the most of our opportunities.”
Czarnik made a difference in the final game of the roadstand, showing why he was nominated as a Hobey Baker finalist last season. The undersized forward displayed both finesse and physicality en route to a five-assist evening, a career best outing for Czarnik that pushed him over the century mark in points as a RedHawk, becoming the 48th player wearing the red and white to achieve such a feat.
“I didn’t have my best game Friday,” Czarnik said of his pointless outing. “I knew what I had to do, and I was just feeling good. The team played really well and it worked out for the best.”
For his efforts, Czarnik was named National Collegiate Hockey Conference Offensive Player of the Week, and is now tied for third in the country with 24 points. His 17 helpers are second-most in the NCAA.
Other Miami players had notable games as well. Coleman notched three goals and an assist, while sophomore forward Riley Barber grabbed a goal and four assists for the ‘Hawks, his three-assist Saturday being a career high. Junior forward Alex Wideman, sophomore forward Sean Kuraly, Gacek and Max Cook all recorded multi-point weekends as well, and freshman forward Devin Loe found the back of the net twice Saturday in just his third time seeing the ice all season.
“We made strides after not winning Friday night,” Czarnik said. “That was hard on us, but we came out and made a statement and I’m really proud of the guys. We played a team game and worked within our system. Hopefully we’ll keep moving forward this week.”
The RedHawks return to action Friday, Dec. 6 when they host NCHC foe the University of Denver, who sits just four spots out of the USCHO Top 20 with a 7-5-2 record on the year.