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RedHawks split first series of season

Alex Wideman looks to the bench during a Miami hockey game. Wideman plays on the first line alongside fellow senior forwards Austin Czarnik and Blake Coleman.

Photo by Lauren Olson, Photography Editor

By Steven Perkins, For The Miami Student

The No. 11 Miami University men's hockey team split a home-and-home series with Bowling Green State University this weekend to start its season. The RedHawks lost the first on the road Friday and won the second at home Sunday. Both games ended with 3-2 final score.

Miami quickly found itself in a 2-0 hole to start the season and was never able to battle back.

Head coach Enrico Blasi said effort wasn't the problem.

"I thought we played hard at times," Blasi said. "We didn't execute like we needed to. We had a lot of blown chances."

Miami was able to score two goals, but Bowling Green maintained a lead for the entire game. Bowling Green buried two power play goals to help solidify the win.

Blasi said penalties and defensive play hurt the team Friday.

"We took too many undisciplined penalties tonight," Blasi said. "They scored two goals on the powerplay and that was the difference in the game. At times we have to make better decisions with the puck."

It was an entirely different story Sunday. The RedHawks were in total control for the entire game.

The 'Hawks opened the game with a goal from the true freshman defenseman Louie Belpedio. It was his first as a collegiate hockey player and he picked up National College Hockey Conference Rookie of the Week for his efforts.

"Louie is one of those offensive minded players," Blasi said. "We've got some guys that can add some offense from the defensive side of things and that's a nice element to add to our team. He's one of those guys that is kind of shifty."

Belpedio said it was more about the win for him.

"It's exciting but I think more importantly than that was how the team played," Belpedio said. "It's exciting to score the first goal, but we've got to move on from that."

The defensive zone, which had been a problem during some of the preseason and against Bowling Green, was much better Sunday. Miami only allowed two goals, one of which was on the power play.

Junior forward Sean Kuraly scored twice for Miami during a big second period Sunday.

"It was really important for us as a team to have a big second period," Kuraly said. "I think it was our best period of the year as a team. And we were happy it helped us get it done here at home."

Sunday's home victory marks Miami's first in the regular season. It was the first win of the year for junior goaltender Jay Williams.

He came in for junior Ryan McKay with just under 13 minutes to play in the first period after McKay was injured when a Falcon forward collided with him. Williams was able to make 23 saves on 25 shots.

"It's been a tough week for Jay," Blasi said. "And then having to come in in relief tonight I thought he played great. When you see a guy on the other side making big saves then you have to do the same and Jay played well tonight."

Williams lost a family member earlier in the week.

"Jay got the game puck in the room, it was well deserved," Kuraly said. "For him to go in and play like that, we expected that and he proved us right. We were all happy for him."

The RedHawks have another home-and-home series against Ohio State University up next. The 'Hawks travel to Columbus Friday and host the Buckeyes Saturday.