DETROIT — Third-seed Miami led 3-0 by the middle of the first period and never looked back on its way to a 6-2 win over Notre Dame on Friday and their first championship game appearance since 2008.
Andy Miele led Miami with two goals and two assists. Carter Camper had two goals and a helper, all in the first period. And Reilly Smith had three assists, with Cody Reichard stopping 25 shots in his 14th win of the season.
“Obviously, a good first period for our team,” said Miami coach Enrico Blasi. “Our guys came out hard and with a purpose. We were fortunate on Carter’s first goal and we seemed to roll from there.”
Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson said that Miami’s “great performance” was too much for the Fighting Irish. “They put us on our heels at the beginning and we didn’t recover. I thought our team recovered a little bit in the second period, but when they scored the fifth goal, I thought that was pretty much it.”
Miami made a statement with two goals a minute apart before the game was six minutes old. Camper scored at 4:52 on the power play on a pass from the corner by Miele and at 5:52, Bryon Paulazzo netted just his second of the season from Alden Hirschfeld.
Miele said that the quick start served two purposes for the RedHawks: “It not only puts them on their heels but it gives us a lot of confidence. We kept on rolling after that. They’re a young team, and that’s where our experience comes in and we got the outcome we wanted.”
Hirschfeld made it 3-0 at 9:47 on the second Miami power-play goal of the night and Camper capped the first period with his second goal — his 19th of the season — at 13:32, short-handed. Miami outshot Notre Dame 14-2 in the first.
The Irish capitalized on a couple of chances in the second period and outshot the RedHawks for the remainder of the game. At 6:46 in the second, a power-play shot by T.J. Tynan ricocheted off the skate of Billy Maday in front of the Miami net and back past Reichard to make it 4-1.
But at 12:01, Miele scored his first of the night — from the slot, on his knees, and almost face-down — to make it 5-1. Calle Ridderwall scored Notre Dame’s second goal at 18:05 in the second, but at that point, even Jackson thought it was too late.
Miele’s second and 23rd of the season at 3:35 made it a 6-2 game and Notre Dame brought in Steven Summerhays to replace starting goalie Mike Johnson.
“Their skill and speed forced us to turn a lot of pucks over,” said Jackson, “and you can’t do that against a team like that because they transition so well offensively and they’ve got so many great weapons. It was a lot about them, in my opinion.”
“I thought our guys did a pretty good job for 60 minutes of limiting their chances,” said Blasi. “They’re a great team. They’re a high-scoring team. I knew in the second period they were going to get some chances. Cody came up big. I thought we did a real good job in the third period of limiting their chances. Good performance by our guys.”
Video: Miami’s Reilly Smith:
Video: Miami’s Andy Miele:
Video: Notre Dame’s T.J. Tynan: