OXFORD, Ohio — In Friday’s first game of a weekend series between the Miami RedHawks and the Michigan State Spartans, sloppy play — especially neutral-zone passing — bad penalties, and unclean defensive play, ended up being the Spartans’ downfall, while on the other end of the ice the RedHawks were all too eager to capitalize on Spartan mistakes.
Two goals early and two more late for Miami eventually proved to be too much for the Spartans, who fell to the RedHawks, 4-2.
The first period belonged to the RedHawks as the senior pair of Greg Hogeboom and Mike Kompon set each other up less than four minutes apart, thanks largely to an undisciplined Spartan team that was whistled for three penalties in one minute, not to mention sloppy Spartan passing in the neutral zone.
“We got in trouble right away, obviously with penalties — got them on a high tilt and us on a low tilt and the only thing that kept us close for two periods was [netminder Dominic] Vicari. We just got outworked — too many bad penalties and no work,” Spartan Head Coach Rick Comley said.
Speaking of the freshman Vicari, he saved 38 shots in three periods, while at the other end of the ice, RedHawk freshman Brian Crawford-Jones stopped only 20 — that being all the shots the Miami defense let slip by.
RedHawk senior forward Greg Hogeboom was the first to hit the back of the net, just 2:56 into the game. He then made the undisciplined visitors pay again when Miami found itself on a four-on-three power play, with the extra penalty going to Spartan junior forward Brock Radunske for tripping. Hogeboom set up linemate Kompon to give the RedHawks the lead by two, and so ended the first.
“Outside of those four seniors that play every night, our team is very young, so they need some guidance. Give them credit, they battled back; it’s fortunate for us we got the bounces at the right time,” Miami coach Enrico Blasi said.
The second period belonged to the Spartans, who looked to mount a comeback. It took almost 25 minutes for Spartan skaters to put the puck in the RedHawk net, but Radunske redeemed himself as he solved RedHawk goaltender Brandon Crawford-West to bring the Spartans within one early in the second period.
Then Miami fell victim to strange circumstances — with referee Matt Shegos’ hand in the air and Vicari off the ice for the extra attacker, junior forward Kevin Estrada hit the back of the net for the first time this season to bring the Spartans even with the RedHawks.
Early in the third period the RedHawks, just off the penalty kill, decided enough was enough. Todd Grant victimized Vicari for the third time in the game, giving the RedHawks the lead once more.
The RedHawks then sealed the deal when Spartan sophomore defender Corey Potter passed the puck through the middle of the zone — a cardinal sin in hockey — and freshman forward Marty Guerin, ironically a native of Lansing, Mich., gobbled up the pass to shoot past Vicari, regaining the two-goal lead and taking the Spartans out of the game for good.
“They were ready and they came out and we didn’t respond,” Comley said.
“I thought it was a pretty good college game. We knew we wanted to play hard and play for 60 minutes and it really took all 60 for us to get it done,” Blasi said. “We’ve been on the road for so long; we’ve logged a lot of miles, but I think we learned a lot about our team.
“Any time you beat the better teams in our league, it’s going to give you some confidence, and we knew Michigan State was one of the better teams in our league. You have to come out and play hard and you’ve got to do little things right, and for the most part, I thought we did tonight.”