ANN ARBOR, Mich — The Miami University RedHawks avenged a Friday night loss and took a step toward exorcising some old ghosts with their 4-1 victory over the Michigan Wolverines Saturday night at Yost Arena.
Paced by junior center Nathan Davis’ second career hat trick, the RedHawks not only evened up their weekend series with the Wolverines with the victory, they gave coach Enrico Blasi his first career victory and the team’s first win at Yost Arena since the 1994-95 season.
The victory was only the third all-time for Miami at the venerable arena in Ann Arbor.
“I think our guys were focused to play a 60 minute game,” said Blasi. “We didn’t let the emotion of the crowd and the game get to us tonight. We wanted to respond from last night. We came in here to play well and to play our best hockey and I thought we left it on the ice tonight. I’m just so proud of everyone on our team.”
“You have to give them credit,” said Michigan coach Red Berenson. “They were a different team tonight. We have to be honest about Michigan, though. We were a different team tonight.”
The teams traded power play chances and a few scoring opportunities in the scoreless first period.
As a penalty to Michigan defenseman Jack Johnson expired, Miami defenseman Alec Martinez missed a tip-in at the corner of the net seven minutes into the period.
Just after a Wolverine power play expired 12 minutes into the period, junior forward Chad Kolarik shot wide of the open side of the Redhawk cage off a feed from behind the net by sophomore Andrew Cogliano.
The best scoring opportunity of the period came on a five on three advantage held by Michigan for final 54 seconds of the stanza. Kolarik, Johnson and Cogliano all buzzed around the Miami net but couldn’t solve Miami goaltender Jeff Zatkoff.
Davis started his takeover of the game early in the second period
“I think we got a few bounces and got some momentum going especially early on,” said Davis. “It’s always fun to get a hat trick. It’s just an unbelievable feeling especially in a building like this and against a team like Michigan. This (Yost) is not an easy place to play so it’s extra special to get one here.”
“Nathan’s one of our go-to guys,” said Blasi of Davis. “He didn’t have a great game last night and he and his teammates wanted to respond. He had some chances tonight and he buried them. He did a great job on the penalty kill.”
Coming into the second period short-handed, Miami defenseman defenseman Kevin Roeder flipped a pass from his own zone to a streaking Ryan Jones who skated in from center ice alone. After Michigan netminder Billy Sauer made the initial save on Jones, Michigan defenseman skidded just out of reach of the rebound.
Davis, following up on Jones’ break, was free to bang the rebound past the defenseless Sauer only 38 seconds into the period, the first of his two shorthanded goals.
“I knew Jones was going to go hard to the net, so I just followed him up there,” said Davis. “The puck was just lying in the slot so I just banged it home.”
The RedHawks forced the play through much of the period and were finally rewarded with two late period goals to open a commanding 3-0 lead.
On the first of the two, Miami defenseman Alec Martinex was the recipient of a Joe Cooper pass from in front of the Wolverine net. Martinez wristed a long screened shot from his position at the left point past Sauer at 16:16.
Miami came right back on the power play two minutes later. As a group of RedHawks buzzed the Wolverine net, Davis finally converted from the corner of the net to Sauer’s left for his second tally of the game.
Davis finished the hat trick late in the third while shorthanded, taking a feed from teammate Mitch Ganzak and fighting off Michigan defenseman Matt Hunwick before beating Sauer.
“I haven’t had two shorthanded goals in a game since I was nine or ten years old,” said Davis.
Michigan spoiled Zatkoff’s shutout bid with only 1:35 remaining in the game on a driving shot by sophomore Johnson.
Michigan stays at home for the third straight weekend on October 27 and 28 when it hosts Northeastern University in its next scheduled action. Miami heads back to its new home, the sparkling new Steve Cady Arena, to take on in-state rival Bowling Green in a two-game tilt next weekend.