BIG RAPIDS, Mich. — Miami’s struggles before this weekend were well-known. Now, the RedHawks look to have the momentum to sneak into the playoff home-ice picture after a 5-3 victory and a sweep of Ferris State on the road.
On Saturday, Nathan Davis’ wrist shot from the slot that hit the far post and went in was the game winner at 16:18.
“The OT game last night led into this one and we responded,” Miami coach Enrico Blasi said. “I think the team rallied around [netminder] Charlie Effinger tonight. They want to play in front of him, and his effort showed that he wants to continue to play.”
“Once again, I thought we played well tonight,” Bulldogs coach Bob Daniels said. “I think our weak spot these last two games was our goaltending. I don’t want to put it all on their shoulders, but there were a couple goals they should have had. In these tight games, the other goalies aren’t giving these goals up.”
Miami had the extra jump in the first period as the RedHawks had a clear advantage in scoring opportunities. Bulldog goaltender Derek MacIver stopped the shot on three odd-man rushes early, but a quick power play by Miami gave the ‘Hawks an early lead.
At 4:42, Marty Guerin made the Bulldogs pay for another undisciplined penalty. Chris Michael’s shot missed just wide and hit the boards behind the net. Guerin was there on the other side of the net to shoot the puck into the open side of the net to make it 1-0.
After that goal, the Bulldog defense shored up and both teams were working hard just to get their shots off. Both goaltenders easily made the saves when the shots were to the outside.
The second period featured more of the same — with plenty of defensive play by both teams to start out. Bulldog defenseman Andrew Winnik was given a major penalty for hitting from behind, but Miami couldn’t cash in on the opportunity. Ferris State had a late spark in the period, but Effinger was there to keep the Bulldogs off the board.
Early in the third period, Carter Thompson finally got through the armor of the Miami goaltender. Thompson unleashed a shot from a sharp angle that deflected off a Miami defenseman and went into the back of the net.
But Miami answered at the 7:04 mark when Guerin got his second goal of the game off a screened shot from the point that hit the top corner of the net just above the glove of MacIntyre.
The Bulldogs tied it up once again at 8:15 while on the power play. Greg Rallo passed the puck to the point to Jeff Legue and with Effinger screened, Legue made no mistake and ripped a shot upstairs on the Miami goaltender to tie the game at 2.
With the game tied, Ferris State was awarded two straight power-play opportunities. The first one expired without incident, but the second one gave the momentum back to Miami. Davis capitalized on an odd-man rush at 15:19 to give the lead back to the RedHawks.
Derek Nesbitt scored with the extra attacker to bring the lead back to one, but Ryan Jones’ empty-net goal for Miami completed the scoring.