MARQUETTE, Mich. — The Miami RedHawks skated to a 9-2 victory over the Northern Michigan Wildcats Friday night in Marquette. The outcome didnt shock many.
The Wildcats were off to a rough start as they entered the CCHA regular season. After two close games against third ranked Michigan, and then another close series against defending national champion Michigan State, going into their third series against the number one team in the nation was mind numbing.
The first 10 minutes of the opening period resembled a tennis match as possession went back and forth between both teams. Miami showed they came to play at 10:15 with the first goal of the night by senior Nino Musitelli. At the end of the first period, Miami not only dominated the ice, but the score board as well, leading the game 3-0 and outshooting Northern, 8-4.
The Wildcats finally made it onto the scoreboard 10:11 into the game. Senior Matt Siddall scored his first goal of the season with a wrist shot high into the right top corner of the goal. It was enough to give the Wildcats hope, but not enough to shut down the Miami offense which took over the ice.
Miami followed with even more aggressive play. Senior Captain Ryan Jones scored his second goal of the night on a power play with less than four minutes left in the period.
Ryans been our captain for two years now. Hes been consistent whether he scores goals or not. All of our players feed off him. Hes our emotional leader and he plays like that every night, said Miamis Head Coach, Enrico Blasi.
The second period ended 5-1 with Miami on top. Although shots on goal were even at 18, the differences in conditioning and focus were apparent.
We came to play 60 minutes of hockey. Northern was coming after us and theyre a good hockey team. Theyre going to play hard and we knew that. Part of our philosophy is to go to the net and when the pucks present themselves, our focus is to execute, said Blasi.
Northern came back onto the ice with a new vigor in the third. Their head coach, Walt Kyle, put in sophomore Derek Janzen in goal for Stewart, the fifth game of the season where both goaltenders took the net during regulation play.
Miami had brutal execution and we made tons of mistakes. Those goalies left guys alone in front and had our own guys beat in front of our net, so to look at those goalies. . . . We were brutal on them, said Kyle.
Northerns Gregor Hansen added another point to NMUs stats, but it was nothing compare to the four goals Miami racked in as the third period continued. Jones set a personal record with five points (four goals and an assist) to lead Miami to their resounding victory.
I was just opportunistic, said Jones. I had great line mates. I just parked myself out front and tried to get the garbage in.
The teams were not evenly matched.
Miami was good. We werent, said Kyle. At 5-1 we quit playing our older players because they were getting chewed up, so we put out our younger players to get some more ice time and let them get chewed up. We were awful. They were just really good and we were just really bad.
Tonights outcome reflects the trials and triumphs of both teams seasons, but doesnt quite express the true talent on the ice.
Northern is a great team. Tonight doesnt show the depth they have out there. They had us on the ropes a couple times throughout the game and I wouldnt take anything away from their defense. We just got opportunistic and put a couple behind them when we had the chances, said Jones.
Miami will defend their ranking on Saturday as they conclude the series at the Berry Events Center. The puck drops at 7:35.