OXFORD, Ohio — Top-ranked Miami used two first period goals and a sound defensive performance to defeat Western Michigan, 4-1, Friday night at Steve Cady Arena, extending their CCHA unbeaten streak to 17 games.
Carter Camper and Chris Wideman each had a goal and an assist in the contest for the RedHawks, who improved to 17-4-6 overall, and 14-1-4-2 in the CCHA. Senior goalie Riley Gill had 39 saves in the losing effort for the Broncos, who fell to 6-14-5 overall, and 2-13-4-1 in the CCHA.
For the most part, we established the way we wanted to play, said Miami head coach Enrico Blasi. We did a good job of making good decisions in all three zones. It was a good effort overall for us, and now we have to get ready for the game tomorrow night.
Cameron Schilling opened the scoring for the RedHawks early in the first period, firing a slap shot from the blue line past Bronco senior goalie Riley Gill just three seconds into a Miami powerplay. Miami junior winger Pat Cannone took a faceoff win from Camper and found an open Schilling, who registered the second goal of his career to give Miami the early lead.
Western Michigan nearly evened the score less than two minutes later, when a Miami turnover led to a breakaway for Bronco winger Greg Squires. Squires fired the puck on the Miami net, but saw Miami netminder Cody Reichard make a great glove save to keep the Broncos off of the scoreboard.
Miami doubled their tally late in the first period, when Wideman scored his third goal of the season, beating Gill on a wrap-around shot from the right. Miami winger Justin Vaive fired a pass from the sideboards behind the back of the net to Wideman, who gave the RedHawks a 2-0 lead going into the second period.
The second period got off to a fast start, as the Broncos used an early power play to cut the deficit in half.
Freshman defender Luke Witkowski received a pass to the left of the Miami goal, and shot the puck past the glove of Reichard and into the net to put the Broncos on the board three minutes into the period. Sophomore winger J.J. Crew, who saw Reichard make a diving save on his shot earlier in the powerplay, was credited with the assist after he found Witkowski with a pass from behind the Miami net.
The teams traded scoring chances until late in the second period, when Miami regained their two goal lead.
With the puck deep in the Miami zone, Bronco senior defenseman Tyler Ludwig fired a pass up the boards to try and clear the zone. Miami winger Andy Miele got to the puck before it crossed the blue line and left it off for freshman Reilly Smith for a 2-on-1 for the RedHawks.
Smiths backhand pass in front of the net found and unmarked Jarrod Palmer, who netted his 11th goal of the season for the RedHawks at 18:25 of the period to increase the lead to 3-1.
Miami had a great chance to increase their lead to three midway through the third period, when Miele, who was credited with an assist on Miamis third goal, earned a rare penalty shot during a Western Michigan power play. Mieles backhand on the penalty shot forced a great save from Gill, who kept the Miami lead at two with just under 10 minutes to go.
Western Michigan had a few chances to cut the lead down to one in the third period, but couldnt beat Reichard, who finished the night with 18 saves.
Cody made some big saves tonight on some breakdowns that we had, said Blasi.
Every team is going to come after us, and Western had some great chances early that Cody saved. That gave us some momentum, and we were able to capitalize on our chances.
Miami added their second power-play goal of the night with under a minute to go in the third period, when Campers backhand from the right of the goal deflected off of a Bronco defender and past Gill to give Miami a 4-1 lead.
Miami is a solid team, said Western Michigan head coach Jim Culhane. We made a lot of mistakes against them that really hurt us. Hopefully we can pick up our game tomorrow night and come out with a better result.