OXFORD, OHIO — Different weekend, same story for the No. 4 Miami RedHawks (7-2-0, 4-1-0 CCHA) and their power play unit.
A week after the RedHawks power play came alive against the Bowling Green Falcons with two power play goals, the RedHawks lit up the Northern Michigan Wildcats (4-4-1, 1-2-0 CCHA) for four power play goals in a 5-1 rout at the Steve Cady Arena. “We’ve been working on the power play a lot.
It’s something our guys are working really hard on,” said RedHawk head coach Enrico Blasi.
Not only did the power play look dominant throughout the game, but the play of junior forward Nathan Davis was unbeatable as he tallied five points against the Wildcats to add to CCHA leading total of 19.
“I’ve got the rabbit’s foot. The shots are bouncing in and I’ve been in the right spot at the right time,” Davis said.
Tempers were flaring at the beginning of the period as each team took their intense physical game out on each other.
“When two good hockey teams get emotional, it’s going to get physical,” Blasi said.
The anger did not work well at first for the Wildcats as they were on the other side of a RedHawk 5-on-3 advantage. The advantage allowed the RedHawk power play to tally a goal early on at 5:55 in the period.
Defenseman Alec Martinez scored his fifth goal of the season when he received a pass at the top of the slot and fired a wrist shot past Wildcat goaltender Bill Zaniboni on the high glove side.
The assists were credited to Nathan Davis and Marty Guerin. As the Wildcats continued their penalty kill only a man down, they brought a quick rush on RedHawk goaltender Charlie Effinger. Wildcat forward Mike Santorelli fired a shot that was saved by Effinger. However, RedHawk Brian Kaufman accidentally slid into Effinger and the puck appeared to trickle into the back of the net.
After referee Barry Pochmara reviewed the replay, he concluded that it was a goal and the score was tied, 1-1. Santorelli was credited with the goal and winger Darin Olver got the assist. As both teams kept bringing the intensity, they still couldn’t find the back of the net on their chances during the middle of the period.
“Northern is a big team and we expected a battle tonight and it was war out there,” said Martinez.
The RedHawks took the lead with less than five minutes left in the period. At 15:52, Davis fired a shot at the front of the crease that found its way to the back of the net. It was Davis’ seventh multi-point game of the season. Ryan Jones and Jarod Palmer credited with the assists on the play.
“A lot of my success so far has been because of the team,” Davis said. “This team is playing unbelievable and we’re a mature team.”
The period ended with the RedHawks on top 2-1 after out shooting the Wildcats 16-4 with their relentless attack. After the break, it didn’t take too long for the RedHawks to put another goal on the board.
The goal came on the power play at 3:36 when Davis picked up a rebound off a shot by Kaufman and poked the puck into the back of the net to make the score 3-1. Mitch Ganzak would also be credited with the assist.
“Our (penalty kill) isn’t very good and we haven’t been proven on that. But Miami still did a great job tonight,” said Wildcat head coach Walt Kyle.
However, the celebration would not last long as the forward Justin Mercier would be busted for a checking from behind penalty at 3:57. The penalty would result in a five-minute major and a game misconduct for Mercier. Miami’s success on the power play would continue later in the period when they tallied their third goal with the man advantage.
At 17:17, Kaufman scored his first goal of the season when he picked up a Davis rebound and fired it past Zaniboni on the stick side to make the score 4-1. Martinez was also credited with the assist. It was Kaufman’s first multi-point game of his career and Davis tied a career high in points with his fourth of the night on the assist to Kaufman’s goal.
At the beginning of the third period, Coach Kyle went with a change and pulled Zaniboni in favor of freshman Brian Stewart. It wouldn’t be enough to hold the RedHawks relentless rush on the power play.
After being given a 5-on-3 advantage, Davis tallied another power play goal to get the hat trick. The goal came at 7:29 when Davis received a pass at the top of the right circle to fire a wrist shot past Stewart.
It was Davis’ fifth point of the night and eighth goal of the season with Ganzak and Guerin being credited with the assists. Blasi added that the success Davis has had is largely due to the play of the team.
“This is a team game and Nate wouldn’t be able to do this without them,” Blasi said.
The RedHawks would end the night out shooting the Wildcats 39-18. Kyle added that his team was inexperienced compared to the team on the opposite end of the ice.
“Miami is that good and we’re not. We’re a young inexperienced hockey team that needs room to grow,” Kyle said.
Both teams will face off again tomorrow night at 7:05 PM at the Steve Cady Arena.