OXFORD, Ohio — You can call it a slump-buster, but it seems that the Miami RedHawks were back in their standard, top-of-the-line form for their 6-1 victory over the Bowling Green State University Falcons.
Struggling as of late, the RedHawks were able to take out their frustrations on the Falcons, who didn’t stand a chance after the start of the second period. The RedHawks had won just twice in their last seven games heading into Friday’s CCHA clash in the Cady Arena at the Goggin Ice Center. That all changed on Friday when they were able to win their second game in a row since their sweep of Rensselaer back in mid-December.
“We’ve been playing pretty good our last four games,” said Miami head coach Enrico Blasi. “I think we did a pretty good job.”
Fantastic goaltending was the highlight of the first period early on. Both Miami’s Connor Knapp and BGSU’s Nick Eno made fantastic saves throughout the first period. Miami’s Gary Steffes was able to sneak one past Eno early on in the game.
With less than 10 minutes left in the period, Dan Sexton was able to put one past Knapp on a power play to tie it up. Another goal for the RedHawks, this one by Carter Camper off of a Justin Mercier assist, gave the Hawks another lead with about five minutes to go in the period.
Neither team had any trouble making big hits either.
Multiple Falcons took painful looking hits and were slow to get up, as did Miami’s Vincent Loverde who had to be helped off the ice early on after getting upended by a BG skater. While Loverde returned shortly after being taken to the bench, the hit set the tone for the evening with both teams showing a “take no prisoners” approach in their game plans.
Late in the first, freshman Miami defender Chris Wideman was sent to the box for a contact to the head/roughing penalty, giving the Falcons their second power play of the night.
“It was physical out there for sure,” said Blasi, “but that’s the way it’s going to be for the rest of the year. Everybody’s playing for a spot in the tournament.”
The second period began slowly, but the ice almost erupted in a brawl around seven minutes into the period after BGSU’s James Perkin was slapped with a high-sticking penalty which almost led to a fight. While on the power play, the RedHawks were able to get off a fair amount of close shots, but Eno wasn’t letting anything else past him.
Since the beginning of the month, Miami had fallen from the second ranked team in the country to No. 10. Their stumble in the rankings was highlighted by losses to Clarkson and Army in the Ohio Hockey Classic, being swept at No. 8 Michigan and Michigan State, and a shootout loss in Omaha to the Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks. The RedHawks needed to stop the bleeding now.
The Falcons were keeping it very close until late in the second when Miami’s Jarrod Palmer was able to put a power play goal past Eno for the third score of the night. Camper and Pat Cannone assisted Palmer on the goal. The lead would stay the same for the remainder of the period, but the RedHawks were ready to run with it as the third period kicked off.
“Mentally, we just didn’t finish the game out strong,” said Bowling Green head coach Scott Paluch. “Physically we stayed with them, but mentally, we just good make plays the last 10 minutes of play.”
A third period shorthanded tally by Miami’s Camper sealed the game.
“We focus on the next game, not the past,” said Blasi. “Obviously tonight was a good win, but now tonight’s over and we’re focusing on tomorrow. We can’t do anything about what happens in the past. Bowling Green’s going to be focusing on tomorrow, and we just have to go out there and match their intensity.