’Hawks tame Mustangs
Published: Monday, October 8, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 00:10
Efficient shooting and physical play was the name of the game for the ninth-ranked Miami University hockey team, who defeated Western Ontario 6-2 in the team’s home exhibition opener.
The young Miami skaters were slow to start but they found their stride in the second frame. The Mustangs, who beat Western Michigan University in a shootout Saturday, proved no match for the fresh, rested RedHawks, who pulled away in the third period. Head Coach Enrico Blasi was pleased overall with his squad’s effort.
“I thought we did a lot of good things,” Blasi said. “I thought our guys handled themselves well, we executed fairly well … The one thing you always want to measure as a coach is their work habits, and their enthusiasm and their passion to play, and I thought that was very evident tonight.”
Sophomore forward Austin Czarnik started things off for the RedHawks less than five minutes in, as freshman forward Riley Barber fed him from behind the net for a quick first strike.
The Mustangs responded quickly however, as Shaun Furlong sneaked a shot past sprawling freshman goaltender Jay Williams just minutes later to tie the game at one. Not to be outdone, Miami freshman forward Kevin Morris put a five-hole shot past the Mustangs goaltender to break the tie at the 8:30 mark in the first period.
Miami outshot Western Ontario 16-4 in the first period and would sustain that type pressure to finish ahead in the final shot count 49-14.
The Mustangs evened the score again early in the second period, but that would be all the production they would find. Miami gave freshman goaltender Ryan McKay the nod at the 10:38 mark, and he flashed the leather with a crowd-pleasing glove save. Following the save, the Brotherhood notched three goals in the next two minutes to put the game out of reach.
Junior forward Bryon Paulazzo started the offensive explosion with a one-timer after a series of tic-tac-toe passes from freshman forward Alex Gacek and Morris. Sophomore forward Jimmy Mullin scored just 39 seconds later, as Barber tallied his second assist of the night.
Czarnik lit the lamp for the second time at 13:33 on the power play, beating the Western goaltender clean with a snipe high blocker side. Barber and sophomore forward Alex Wideman assisted on the goal, giving him a playmaker (three assists) on the night.
Sophomore forward Blake Coleman added one more score on a five-minute power play in the third, extending the lead to 6-2. Miami was 2-7 with the man advantage. It was an aggressive game, with 20 total penalties.
“I think the freshmen really clicked,” Czarnik said. “They ended up working hard. Morris had a great game and so did Barber and McKay. So did Jay [Williams]. It was a team effort, they really showed up today and I’m proud of them.”
Blasi liked the effort in goal for Miami as well, and praised both goalies’ first collegiate starts. Each finished with six saves.
“It’s tough for [Williams] to start, but I thought he did a nice job [and] handled himself real well,” Blasi said. “And then it’s tough to come in as a goaltender halfway through the game, so I thought [McKay] handled himself well. It’s a tough game to play when you’re only seeing a few shots – and when you do see shots, they’re usually pretty quality. But I like our goaltending.”
Miami opens regular season play against Colgate University Friday. The puck drops 7:35 p.m. at Goggin Ice Center.