Thirty seconds into the game, Gordie Green broke free.
The senior forward skated to a one-on-one try with Western Michigan’s goaltender, but his shot was deflected.
Sophomore forward Monte Graham cleaned up Green’s miss, netting a goal at the 19:21 mark.
That is as good as it got for Miami. The RedHawks’ 1-0 lead didn’t last long.
On the faceoff following Graham’s score, the Broncos corralled the puck and sped down the ice, responding with a goal of their own only nine seconds later.
“I didn’t even have a chance to look up,” Miami head coach Chris Bergeron said.
Miami fell, 4-1, Saturday at the Steve ‘Coach’ Cady Arena in the Goggin Ice Center to split the weekend series with the Broncos.
“Pretty ugly game,” Bergeron said. “Pretty disappointed in our effort — the third period. The first two periods, I’m disappointed in our thought process. There wasn’t a lot of smart hockey being played on our side, but again, I think we were trying.
“But the self-inflicted things we do, that give other teams opportunities or goals, I’m not sure I’ve seen it to the level of this before. It cost us the game. And in the third, I felt like the players quit, and that’s something I’m going to address.”
Though the teams played scoreless hockey for the rest of the first period following sophomore forward Cole Gallant’s 1-1 equalizer, Western Michigan threatened several times. It took 14 shots on goal compared to Miami’s nine.
Western Michigan (15-10-5) spent much of the first 10 minutes of the second period in its offensive zone, but Miami goaltender Ben Kraws held strong.
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The Broncos’ persistence paid off, when they recorded two goals in a three-minute span to go ahead, 3-1. The first was scored by senior defenseman Cam Lee and the second by senior forward Dawson DiPietro.
Up to that point, Miami (6-17-5) had endured more than 12 minutes of the period with only one shot on goal to show for it.
But DiPietro’s goal struck a chord with the RedHawks, as they fired three shots at freshman goalie Brandon Bussi in quick succession, though none found the back of the net.
In the final period, the crowd roared multiple times, but it was its silence that mattered most.
The RedHawks aggressively attacked in their offensive zone, putting together several near-goals to raise the collective heart rate of the audience.
With twelve and a half minutes remaining, the fans went quiet, when Western Michigan junior forward Paul Washe tacked on an insurance goal, essentially sealing the Broncos’ victory.
They polished off a 4-1 win.
The RedHawks finished with 20 shots on goal, and Western Michigan had 37. Kraws saved 33 shots, and Bussi blocked 19.
Miami travels to Colorado to play Denver next weekend. Both games are slated for a 9:07 p.m. EST puck drop.