OXFORD, Ohio — In their first home playoff contest since 2003-04, No. 2 Miami (24-7-4, 20-6-2 CCHA) inched one step closer to a berth in the CCHA championship at Joe Louis Arena with a 4-1 win over Western Michigan (10-23-6, 7-16-5 CCHA) Friday night.
Miami leads the best-of-3 series 1-0 and can close out the quarterfinal with a victory on Saturday.
Freshman Alec Martinez’s first goal in a Miami uniform gave the RedHawks a 1-0 lead at 17:55 of the first period.
With Miami on the power play, junior Matt Christie moved the puck from the right corner to freshman Raymond Eichenlaub at the right point. Eichenlaub walked the puck to the center point before wiring a shot that Martinez, stationed in front of the net, batted out of the air and past WMU goaltender Daniel Bellissimo.
Just seconds after his wrist shot from the right circle rang off the far post, sophomore Ryan Jones made it 2-0 for Miami on a wrist shot from the left dot that beat Bellissimo over the shoulder on the stick side.
Sophomore Nathan Davis forced a turnover in the neutral zone and moved the puck to Jones, who was streaking in along the boards. Jones gained the WMU blueline and took three strides before pulling the trigger on his 20th lamplighter of the season, caroming the puck off the crossbar and in.
With time winding down in the second period, Nathan Davis put the RedHawks up 3-0 with a power-play tally at 18:23. Senior Andy Greene took a pass from classmate Chris Michael and carried the puck down the left half-wall before firing a shot on goal.
The rebound squirted directly onto the stick of Davis at the right post where he buried his 19th of the year.
Western Michigan cut into Miami’s lead early in the third period when Brent Walton picked up the puck after a draw in the Miami zone and skated in before beating Miami goaltender Charlie Effinger with a shot from the left circle to make it 3-1.
Christie added his second point of the night with under a minute remaining in the contest, potting an empty-net shorthanded goal with the assist going to Greene.
Effinger turned away 18 shots and improved to 11-3-3 on the year, while Bellissimo stopped 33 shots and dropped to 9-21-6. The RedHawks went 2-for-5 on the power play with the Broncos going scoreless in four chances with the man-advantage.
Miami and WMU battle again on Saturday at in game 2 of the series with the faceoff slated for 7:35 p.m.