Photo by Angelo Gelfuso
By Steven Perkins, Senior Staff Writer
The Miami University hockey team moved up in the national rankings after taking sweeping the Western Michigan University Broncos at home.
No. 5/6 Miami snagged a "sloppy" 1-0 win Friday and a 5-2 win Saturday.
"It was sloppy, but sometimes you have to win them ugly," senior forward Blake Coleman said of Friday's game. "Everybody kind of banded together and we'll take it"
The 1-0 win marked junior goaltender Jay Williams second shutout of the year, as he was perfect on all 23 Bronco shots. He stopped 46 of the 48 shots he saw over the weekend and earned National Collegiate Hockey Conference Goaltender of the Week honors.
Head coach Enrico Blasi is pleased with his goalie.
"I thought Jay played well in net," Blasi said. "He's playing well for us right now and he's working hard. Our goal is to get better every day and I think Jay is no different than anybody else."
Saturday's 5-2 win came with yet another game-winning goal from junior forward Sean Kuraly. Of Miami's 10 wins, Kuraly has seven game winners. He's just one off the school's single season record of eight and not far behind the NCAA's single season record of 10.
"Honestly I didn't even know until someone came into the locker room and told me I had another game winner," Kuraly said. "Originally I was really upset because our [penalty kill] was perfect all weekend and then the last goal we just let up was on their power play, so I was really frustrated."
Blasi said he was pleased with his squad's penalty kill.
"Our penalty killers did a nice job of killing penalties, blocking some shots," Blasi said Friday. "Nice to come out with a win, we have to be ready to play again tomorrow night and hopefully do a much better job for 60 minutes."
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The RedHawks did just that. Western Michigan opened the scoring early in the second period, but Miami responded with four of its own before the frame had ended. Kuraly and junior forward Cody Murphy notched goals just eight seconds apart. Each team had one in the third as well. Five different players scored each of the RedHawks' five goals speaking volumes to Miami's depth.
"Our philosophy here at Miami is that everybody has to contribute," Blasi said. "If you want to go far into March you need everybody clicking. You go on the road and you aren't going to be able to match lines; you're going to have to have everybody feeling good about their game."
Blasi also spoke to the intensity of the rivalry with WMU.
"Every weekend is intense in our league," Blasi said. "Especially a weekend like this where we're playing our rival. This is a rivalry weekend and you've got to be ready for those battles and I thought our guys handled themselves fairly well."
Kuraly said it is important to win at home.
"It's huge," Kuraly said. "We wanted to emphasize this year that playing at home is something special and you have to treat it like that so we were really happy at how the weekend turned out."
Miami takes the week off from games for the Thanksgiving holiday. They return home Dec. 5 and 6 to face another NCHC opponent, the University of Nebraska Omaha.