Miami falls to third in nation after series split
Published: Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, October 22, 2013 10:10
It appears there is a new rivalry shaping up in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC), and it features two of the hottest programs in the country.
Miami University (3-1-0) dropped to No.3 in the country after splitting its first full home series with No. 6 University of North Dakota.
The team, previously-known as the Fighting Sioux got on the board first Friday night at 7:55 of the first period, when a wrist shot by UND junior forward Michael Parks took a funny bounce by sophomore goaltender Jay Willliams. In the twilight minutes of the first frame, UND added another to end the period up 2-0.
After a mishandled puck behind the net by Williams led to an early second period goal for North Dakota, it looked as if they would run away with the game, but Miami battled back on a pair of goals by sophomore forward Sean Kuraly and freshman forward Anthony Louis.
Despite the comeback, the game ended in a 4-2 loss and Kuraly said the team did not play to its potential.
“We weren’t happy with the way we played,” Kuraly said. “We didn’t play a full 60 [minutes], and our process wasn’t as good as it needed to be. We have some mistakes that need to be fixed for tomorrow.”
A rejuvenated RedHawk squad took the ice Saturday night. Head coach Enrico Blasi has never shied away from changing up the lines, and this past weekend was no different. Led by a new front three of junior captain Austin Czarnik, classmate Cody Murphy and sophomore Riley Barber, the ’Hawks jumped out to a 1-0 lead just 2:24 into the game on a Murphy one-timer. Junior forward Blake Coleman notched one of his own with minutes left in the opening frame on a solo effort from of a face off.
Miami didn’t let up on the gas as it poured in three more goals in the second period, starting with Barber’s rebound strike at the 3:40 mark for his fifth goal on the year. Coleman added two tallies throughout the frame for his first career hat trick to bring the game to 5-0 at the halfway mark, and the RedHawks held on to capture a 6-2 win with a late Czarnik tally in a dominant performance.
Audio clips courtesy of WMSR.
“I thought everyone in our lineup contributed tonight,” Blasi said. “Everyone was focused and ready to go.”
The players noticed a significant difference from Friday to Saturday as well. Coleman, who was assessed a five-minute major and a game misconduct Friday, bounced back for the aforementioned hat trick in a +3 performance.
“I think we followed the process a little more tonight,” Coleman said. “We played within our system and we had a little more jump, a little more energy. We always talk about staying in the moment and I think our team responded really well.”
Two new faces, freshmen forward Devin Loe and defenseman Johnny Wingels, got significant ice time. Loe contributed two assists in his collegiate debut, and looked poised and collected out on the ice. The game was a physical one, and Miami outhit UND by a wide margin. Loe’s 6-foot, 190-pound frame helped acclimate him to this lumber-laying affair, and the freshman joked that he did not mind throwing his weight around.