DETROIT — Conference tournament consolation games are often looked upon by teams as a necessary evil.
After losing in the semi-final round, pulling together enough emotion to compete at a high level the next night after a tough loss is challenging.
In Miami’s 4-1 win over Bowling Green Saturday afternoon in the CCHA championship tournament consolation game, the Miami victory held extra meaning for two of the RedHawks.
Freshman Alex Wideman, who has been in and out of the Miami lineup this season, scored the RedHawks opening goal at 6:51 of the first period. After teammate Joe Hartman bagged the second Miami goal, senior defenseman Chris Wideman, Alex’s older brother, opened the second period with a third Miami goal that put plenty of distance between the two Ohio schools on the scoreboard.
For the Wideman brothers, it marked the first time they had each scored a goal in the same game.
Chris’s goal gave the RedHawks, still fighting for PairWise rankings positioning, an important early lead over Bowling Green.
“Just a great play by [Austin] Czarnik to win the faceoff,” described the elder Wideman brother of his goal. “Reilly [Smith] just touched it over to me. I saw ‘Biggsie’ [Tyler Biggs] going to the net and I tried to shoot for the far side because he was taking the goalie’s eyes away. I was lucky enough that it went in.”
After Hartman’s goal put Miami up 2-0 with only half a second left in the opening period, the younger Wideman brother struck for his second period goal at 4:04.
“It was all Blake Coleman’s work,” said Alex. “He was behind the net. I was just lucky to be there right in the slot. He made a good backhand pass to me and I just started jamming away at it.”
After Bowling Green made a slight run at the RedHawks on Cameron Sinclair’s goal at 9:24 of the final period, Smith hit a milestone of his own, putting the game out of reach with his 30th goal of the season.
For Chris, as his career winds down, the game was one of the last he’ll spend as a RedHawk with his brother.
“He got one in the first period, so I couldn’t let him outdo me,” joked Chris. “I knew I had to get one because mom and dad were watching. Obviously, we root for each. I’m really happy for him when he scores and I know he’s happy for me.”
“It was pretty cool,” said Alex of the family scoring surge. “It was still a big game for us in the PairWise. I’m sure we’ll both look back and appreciate it.”
The Wideman’s contributions to Miami’s offense were noted by their teammates as well.
“It’s exciting for them,” said Czarnik. “It’s good for Al, especially. He’s been working really hard in practice. It’s a good moment for both of them.”
“They’re best friends, so they’re always trying to pump each other up in the dressing room,” added Smith. “So it’s good for both of them to have success in the same game.”
Bowling Green’s season ends with the loss, but the RedHawks can look forward to Sunday afternoon’s NCAA selection show to find out where and who they’ll play in regional action.
That leaves at least another weekend for Chris to continue his mentorship of Alex before moving on.
“The questions I don’t go to Coach [Enrico Blasi] with, I go to Chris,” said Alex. “He’s been in the tournament every year. He’s been in the national championship game. Pretty much everything college hockey has to offer he’s experienced and knows the answers to give me.”
Video: Miami coach Enrico Blasi:
Video: Bowling Green’s Andrew Hammond: