BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — The Miami RedHawks picked up goals from five different players in a balanced scoring attack to knock off the Bowling Green Falcons (9-9-0; 6-6-0 CCHA), 5-2, at the BGSU Ice Arena on Saturday night.
The RedHawks (19-3-0; 11-3-0 CCHA) were a different team on Saturday than the one that was upset by the Falcons just 24 hours earlier. Miami jumped out to a quick lead in the opening period and didn’t look back, playing aggressive hockey while keeping the Falcons on their heels for much of the night.
“We played a 60-minute game tonight,” said Miami coach Enrico Blasi. “We matched their energy. We seemed to really come out with a purpose and we got the job done.
“Give the credit to the guys and their leadership. They’re the ones that are doing it in the locker room, making sure guys are ready to go.”
“It was clear tonight that we got the focus of a pretty good hockey team right from the start,” said Falcons’ coach Scott Paluch. “We spent so much energy trying to get back into the game and their depth really took control of the game. The last two periods of the game, they were the stronger of the two teams.”
Jeff Zatkoff was back in net for Miami, after getting pulled at the end of two periods last night. He turned in a strong effort between the pipes, turning aside 26 of the 28 shots he faced on the night.
“We knew he would respond after last night,” said Blasi. “We didn’t pull him because he played bad last night; we left him hanging a little bit. We knew he’d come out and play hard and play well.”
Falcons’ goaltender Jimmy Spratt struggled in net after his stellar performance the night before. Spratt stopped 25 of the 30 shots he faced for Bowling Green.
After a power-play goal by Brian Kaufman to open the scoring at 1:44, RedHawks’ center Alexander LaCombe gave Miami a 2-0 lead when he poked in a Bill Loupee shot from beyond the left circle.
The Falcons cut the lead to one at 8:38 of the opening period. Freshman Jacob Cepis made a crisp pass to defenseman Mike Nesdill at the point, and Nesdill fired a slap shot from the blue line, beating Zatkoff on the glove side for his third tally of the season.
Bowling Green tied the game in the second period with a power-play goal off a draw in the offensive zone. Tim Maxwell won the draw and slid the puck over to James Perkin. He drove a shot on net, where freshman David Solway was waiting to clean up the rebound for his seventh goal of the year.
Undaunted, Miami struck back less than a minute later with the game winner. Defenseman Kevin Roeder threw a shot on net that came out to Justin Vaive at the side of the net. He slid the puck through the crease, where Loupee tipped it in for the 3-2 lead.
“It was so important because Bowling Green just got momentum from the tying goal and got the fans into it,” said Loupee. “It let them feel like they had some hope. To be able to answer back right away was kind of a shock to them.”
“That was a huge goal by Billy Loupee right after they tied it up in the second period,” said Blasi. “For us to go out and get it right back was a big swing for us.”
The RedHawks put the game away in the third period, with goals by Justin Mercier and Alec Martinez.
Despite the loss, Paluch was still upbeat about the weekend as a whole.
“We showed that our speed can be a factor against a pretty good hockey team, and I like the way we stayed with a game that didn’t start very well for us. We played a good team twice, and when it’s all said and done, it’s 1-1. Somewhere down the road, maybe we’ll see them again.”
Up next for the Falcons is a trip to Sault Ste. Marie, where they will take on Lake Superior State next weekend. The RedHawks head to Omaha to take on Nebraska-Omaha next weekend.