OXFORD, Ohio — The Miami RedHawks completed a weekend sweep of visiting Alabama-Huntsville with a commanding 4-1 victory Saturday night at the Steve Cady Arena.
Four different skaters scored for the RedHawks, who outshot the Chargers 48-16.
Miami coach Enrico Blasi said it wasn’t easy for his players to not look beyond this non-conference series with the CCHA standings as tight as they are. Entering play on Saturday, Miami was in a three-way tie for sixth place in the CCHA, eight points behind league-leader Ferris State.
“Obviously, everybody’s focused on our league, but these were huge games,” Blasi said. “If you don’t take care of business, they could really hurt you, so I thought our guys did what we needed to do and now we can move forward. We should know what we need to do going into next weekend [against Notre Dame].”
After a scoreless first period, it was the Chargers who got on the scoreboard early in the second frame.
Junior assistant captain Sebastian Geoffrion earned his second goal of the season when he intercepted an errant Miami pass at center ice and brought it into the offensive zone, wristing it past senior goaltender Cody Reichard from the circle right of the net at 1:28.
That lead held up for most of the period, but the RedHawks (17-13-2) turned the tables in the blink of an eye. Miami freshman Alex Wideman scored his fourth career goal at 16:33 in the period by scooping up a blocked shot right in front of the net and poking it by UAH sophomore goalie Clarke Saunders.
Miami took the lead just 14 seconds later when senior Matt Tomassoni picked the puck off the boards behind the net and forced it just inside the post for his fifth goal.
Tomassoni said the team was energized by the back-to-back scores and was able to take control of the play going forward.
“We were struggling there, not really playing our game,” Tomassoni said. “[The goal] really got momentum going and we kind of fed off that. [Freshman Cody Murphy] got in there. He chipped the puck in and he did all the work. I just kinda waited until the puck popped out. I think I caught [Saunders] off guard.”
The RedHawks added a pair of insurance goals in the third period, once again scoring them in succession.
Seconds after Reichard made a charging, diving save out in the faceoff circle to thwart a breakaway attempt by the Chargers, the RedHawks went back the other way and stormed Saunders in the crease. Sophomore Bryon Paulazzo was the beneficiary of a bouncing puck that sailed up over Saunders’ shoulder at 8:49.
Just 49 seconds later, the Chargers (2-28-1) were unable to clear the puck out of their zone and Miami freshman Blake Coleman put the puck on net. Senior Alden Hirschfeld was there to put the loose puck away in the twine.
Chargers’ head coach Chris Luongo saw a great deal of effort from his players in the series.
“I thought we competed hard,” said Luongo. “Obviously, a little span there in the second period where they turned the tide on us. They run a lot of traffic to the net and they’re big guys and it’s a handful to defend around there.”
Saunders made 44 saves in the losing effort.
Reichard stopped 14 of the 15 shots he faced before being relieved for the final 3:27 by little-used senior netminder Ben Saksa.