BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — Matt Tomassoni was in no man’s land, his stick laying on the ice and Bowling Green on a 5-on-3 power play. The Miami right winger was stuck in the middle of the defensive zone without his most important piece of equipment.
Tomassoni was stuck, but he didn’t quit.
He didn’t go to the bench for a stick, instead he laid out to block a Bowling Green point shot, losing a glove as he attempted to knock the puck out of the zone. Regaining his feet, without a glove or stick, Tomassoni hurried back toward the Miami net, laying a check on a Falcon forward before he could collect and fire a rebound on net.
“We’re just taught to block everything, sacrifice that’s what it’s all about … it’s all about hard work on the penalty kill,” Tomassoni said.
When Tomassoni was finally reunited with his equipment, Miami had killed off back-to-back Bowling Green power plays, including a 59 second overlap when the Falcon had the 5-on-3 advantage.
It was the type of effort sixth ranked Miami got all night, as Tomassoni and his teammates defeated Bowling Green, 3-0, and completed the weekend sweep.
“I thought we played well tonight, we we’re physical … so good effort for the RedHawks tonight,” Miami coach Enrico Blasi said.
Miami improve to 8-3-3 and 6-2-2-1 CCHA, while Bowling Green fell to 5-9-0 and 2-8-0-0 in the conference.
Just like the night before — when the RedHawks held the Falcons off the board for the extent of a five minute power play — the penalty kill swung the momentum, this time preserving a lead that Miami picked up thanks to a penalty on Bowling Green’s Ryan Viselli.
“It’s pretty easy to build off something like that, the bench get’s going … it’s definitely a momentum boost,” Tomasoni said.
Called for goaltender interference in the second period, Viselli’s infraction resulted in not one, but two goals for Miami with the man advantage, as Reilly Smith first scored on the delayed penalty and then added another goal on the ensuing power play.
With goaltender Connor Knapp on the bench for an extra attacker, Miami was able to control the puck and eventually Smith shoveled it home after a shot from the point by Chris Wideman.
While his first goal came after a gritty effort to get to the front of the net, Smith’s second goal — which came 1:44 after his first — came off some slick passing by the Miami power play. Camped out in the slot, Smith took a pass from Camper and beat Bowling Green goalie Andrew Hammond five-hole.
The Falcons had a hard time containing Smith all weekend, as he had a goal and two assists in the 4-3 win Friday night.
“It’s definitely a confidence booster, coming into this weekend planning on helping my team out offensively, my linemates did a good job of setting me up offensively. I guess when it rains it pours,” Smith said.
Miami would add another power play goal at 12:45 of the third period, this time Carter Camper finishing off a Miami 5-on-3 power play with a wrist shot from below the right circle.
Bowling Green goalie Andrew Hammond played well in the loss, stopping 35 of the 38 shots he faced.
“I thought he was strong, he looked focused and ready to compete… I’m getting concerned with Andrew’s mental state able to keep it positive, the teams completely left him alone the past three Saturdays,” Bowling Green coach Chris Bergeron said.
Knapp was far less busy in the Miami net, stopping all nine shots he faced.
The RedHawks head to Kalamazoo next weekend for a series with Western Michigan, Bowling Green will play Alabama-Huntsville next Friday in the first round of the UCONN Tournament in Storrs, Conn.