OXFORD, Ohio — After a slow start in Oxford, the Miami RedHawks were able to get things going against the University of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks in the closing minutes of the first period with a Justin Mercier shorthanded goal from Kevin Roeder. The goal was Merciers fifth of the season
UNO quickly turned things around as Dan Charleston scored his second goal of the year and tied the game early in the second period. The Mavericks momentum was short lived as Mercier scored another goal, this time on an unassisted breakaway at the 2:19 mark in the second.
The RedHawks were able to score again in the second, giving them a two goal cushion at the 4:40 mark. The Ryan Jones goal was scored off of assists from Pat Cannone and Vincent Laverde. The goal gave team captain Jones, a senior from Chatham Ontario, the 100th point of his career. Jones scored the fourth Miami goal of the night at the 6:23 mark in the second on a Gary Steffes assist.
With a little under five minutes left in the game, Miami freshman Carter Camper scored the RedHawks second short-handed goal of the night on a Ryan Jones assist. It seemed like Miami could do no wrong. Up 5-2 late in the game, Miami was able to rest assured that the RedHawks had proved that they deserved their number two spot in the USCHO rankings.
But that didnt stop Charlie Fitzer from scoring the teams first power play goal of the night on assists from Jarod Palmer and Justin Vaive. The goal gave Miami a 6-2 lead, but that soon changed as Brian Kaufman scored the teams seventh goal of the night at the 18:37 mark of the third period, upping Miamis winning margin to five.
Miamis major flaw the entire game was penalties. By the start of the third the Hawks had already served six penalties, taking Miami players off of the ice for 12 minutes and giving the Mavericks every opportunity possible, including a couple of two-man advantages. Luckily for the RedHawks, UNO was unable to convert on any of their power play opportunities.
Part of our game plan is to make sure that were good on special teams; its part of our focus and preparation during the week, said Miami head coach Rico Blasi.
Mike Kemp, the head coach of the Mavericks, didnt seem too unhappy with the way his team played.
We had good chances, said Kemp, The way Miami kills penalties, theyre going to put pressure on you, and theyre going to create turnovers. The frustrating thing for me is that fact that we made mistakes that ended up in the back of our net. You cant give Miami opportunities on your point to make breakaways and thats what we did. We just didnt do a good job taking care of the puck.
Charlie Effinger made his first start of the season tonight and showed very little rust allowing two goals, one of which was on a UNO power-play.
It was part of our game-plan (to start Effinger), said Blasi. Hes known for a while that he was going to take (the starting job).
Blasi didnt seemed surprised though that Effinger, a senior from Belleville, IL, let up two goals tonight.
If you were to call a star tonight, Effinger would be the number one star for sure.
In an evening that seemed like it wouldnt get better for the unbeaten RedHawks and is now 3-0 in CCHA play, about half way through the first period the Steve Cady Arena was filled with the news of North Dakota States stunning 3-1 upset at the hands of Michigan Tech.
The Miami victory combined with the Sioux loss puts Miami in a position to take the number spot in the USCHO poll away from the Fighting Sioux, but Blasi feels that his team needs to stay focused on the task at hand.
Our focus is on Nebraska tomorrow night, and making sure that were ready to play, noted Blasi
Nathan Davis, who suffered a shoulder injury during Miamis first game of the regular season, was scratched from tonights game, but is listed as day-to-day.
He should be back soon, noted Blasi, We just want to make sure that hes 100% when he comes back and that he can contribute right away.