OXFORD, Ohio — Miami freshman Alex Wideman recorded his first career multi-goal game as the No. 17 RedHawks scored four times in the third period to blow out No. 19 Northern Michigan 6-0 Saturday night.
With the victory, Miami (15-11-2, 11-9-2-1 CCHA) avoided a season sweep at the hands of the Wildcats after falling 2-1 on Friday night and being swept by a combined 7-2 margin back in December up in Marquette. The RedHawks moved back into a tie with Western Michigan for second place in the CCHA, one point behind Ferris State.
Setting the tone for what would be an intensely physical game, four penalties were called in the opening period. The RedHawks took advantage of the opportunity, with Wideman’s first goal coming on a power play in the 17th minute. It was the first time he had lit the lamp since the season opener against Bemidji State. Wideman collected a rebound after NMU sophomore goaltender Jared Coreau blocked a shot by Reilly Smith, and wristed it over Coreau’s glove for the early lead. Smith’s assist on the score earned him the 100th point of his career.
Wideman was glad his goal drought came to an end when it did.
“It’s been a while, but I’m glad I could just chip in for the team and get a huge win this weekend,” Wideman said.
The RedHawks added to their lead with a second goal in the seventh minute of the second period. Senior Matt Tomassoni fed the puck up to sophomore Bryon Paulazzo in the offensive zone, who then took the pass behind the net and wrapped it around the post before Coreau could reposition.
Tempers really began to flare as the period wore on, with penalties mounting on both sides. Once the horn sounded at the close of the period, a brawl broke out that led to five penalties, all of them minors.
Miami would start the final frame on a 5-on-4 power play as a result of the scuffling.
Miami head coach Enrico Blasi said he knew his players would be able to overcome the potential distraction and stay focused on the task at hand.
“This time of the year, you have to put things behind you and focus on the next shift,” Blasi said. “I thought our guys did that very well tonight.”
Once again, the RedHawks used the man advantage to get on the scoreboard. This time, Smith slapped a shot at Coreau from the goal line left of the net, grabbed his own rebound and tried the exact same shot again, this time finding the inside of the twine just 70 seconds into the period for his CCHA-best 19th goal.
Wideman extended the lead to 4-0 in the fourth minute, chasing Coreau from the game after he carried the puck behind the net and wristed it in from the post. Wideman’s big brother, Chris, a senior, earned an assist on the score.
Senior goaltender Reid Ellingson came on in relief of Coreau, but he wasn’t in the crease for even a minute before Miami scored again. Senior forward Pat Tiesling netted his second goal of the season just 58 seconds after Wideman’s. Paulazzo had dumped off a pass to Tomassoni in the slot and Tiesling was there to slam in the loose puck.
The final score of the game came in the 19th minute off the stick of freshman Tyler Biggs, his sixth of the season. Coming across the front of the crease he took a feed from junior Curtis McKenzie and used a nifty backhand to beat Ellingson.
The win gave senior goaltender Cody Reichard 12 shutouts in his career, tying him with for the most in program history with David Burleigh. Reichard had only played in two of Miami’s last nine games, due to the hot play in net of classmate Connor Knapp.
“Obviously, it’s a pretty big honor, with a lot of the guys that have played here before me,” Reichard said. “I got a lot of [offensive] help from the guys tonight.”
NMU head coach Walt Kyle felt that despite Friday’s victory, his team just didn’t show up for the series in Oxford.
“We were a different team at home certainly against them earlier in the year,” said Kyle. “Last night, they [Miami] deserved better than what they got, but we managed to steal one from them, which is great, but they came at us both nights.”
Miami outshot Northern Michigan 81-29 in the weekend series.
Miami will head out on the road next weekend to play Michigan, while the Wildcats (12-9-5, 7-8-5-2 CCHA) will return home to host Ferris State.