RedHawks drop in polls after winless weekend
Published: Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 00:10
Miami University dropped to No. 6 in the USCHO national hockey poll after a loss and a tie this weekend in Providence, R.I. Both of the games took overtime to decide, and the RedHawks (3-2-1) battled back from two goals down both nights.
Friday night’s performance took heroic effort from leading scorers Riley Barber and Blake Coleman to reignite a stagnant Miami offense. Miami was held scoreless until junior forward Coleman found the back of the net at 2:40 of the final frame. Sophomore forward Barber notched his tally five minutes later, but the RedHawks’ newfound overtime life was cut short. Friar freshman forward Niko Rufo burned sophomore goalie Jay Williams with a short-side snipe to give the Friars a 3-2 win.
“Obviously, it wasn’t the weekend we wanted to have,” Miami head coach Enrico Blasi said. “We seem to be making some plays that are resulting in goals against right now and those things need to be cleaned up and that’s what we’ll continue to work on.”
The next night brought more adversity for the RedHawks, who had to erase a two-goal deficit three separate times. After an early two-goal lead for the Friars, junior forward and captain Austin Czarnik found Barber open in front of the Providence net to bring the game to 2-1, as Barber grabbed his second short handed goal of the year.
The Friars notched a power play goal just 44 seconds later. The back and forth game continued until it was 4-2 late in the second frame, when senior forward Bryon Paulazzo battled with two defensemen in front of the net, finally getting a stick on the puck after a Coleman pass and drove it home. With 4:53 remaining in the third, sophomore defenseman Matthew Caito foiled an attempted clear, gave the puck to Czarnik, who in turn found Barber who snuck a wrist shot inside the right post to tie the game at four all. The extra five-minute period had just four total shots combined by both teams, and the game ended in a draw.
Czarnik was named the National Collegiate Hockey Conference Offensive Player of the Week for his effort as he recorded five assists during the games. He attained two helpers in Friday’s loss and a playmaker in the Saturday contest.
“Obviously, it’s nice to get and feels good,” Czarnik said. “But obviously it’s about the team, that’s what matters. Hopefully this weekend we can go out and put together a couple of wins and we’ll get different awards down the road.”
Though the weekend ended up being a disappointing series statistically, Blasi said the progress made by his team as an encouraging sign.
“The good sign is this is a resilient group,” Blasi said. “We’ve shown that just about every game to this point. Both Friday and Saturday night, we had to come back in games and a tough one in overtime on Friday, but Saturday I thought we took it to them. It’s a disappointing outcome to the weekend, but we’ll continue to focus on the process and hopefully the process gets better.”
Blasi’s boys return for a home stand this weekend against Canisius College Friday and Saturday.