OXFORD, Ohio — The No. 4 Miami RedHawks and Providence Friars skated to a 1-1 deadlock in a game where both teams saw lights-out goaltending from their freshman netminders.
Miami’s Ryan McKay made 37 saves on the night, while his counterpart Jon Gillies made 27 for the Friars.
Though this was the first collegiate meeting between McKay and Gillies, they had faced off before during their United States Hockey League careers. McKay played for the Green Bay Gamblers, while Gillies played for the Indiana Ice.
Both goalies said they felt spurred on to step up their game due to the history between them.
“[McKay]‘s an outstanding goaltender [and] we’ve had battles in the past,” Gillies said. “I love watching him play, I love playing against him.”
“I played against Jon Gillies the last few years in the USHL and I’m pretty friendly with him,” McKay said. “I felt like both us gave our teams chances to win and it just resulted in a tie.”
The Friars took advantage of an up-tempo and physical first period, getting a power-play goal from sophomore forward Ross Mauermann at 5:55 in the period. The goal was Mauermann’s third of the season, and came during a four-on-three power play for Providence. The Friars kept McKay off-balance from the start, outshooting Miami 15-7 in the opening period.
The RedHawks netted an equalizer early in the second period, courtesy of freshman forward Riley Barber.
The Friars had just taken back control of the puck in their own defensive zone, but Austin Czarnik stole the puck away and fed it to Barber, who beat Gillies on his glove side for his second career goal at 4:40.
The Friars missed key chances to regain the lead while still in the second period. Freshman forward Steven McParland hit the post on a breakaway attempt just minutes after Barber’s goal. Later in the period, Providence intercepted an errant pass by McKay at center ice while the RedHawks made a line change and McKay somehow managed to keep the puck out of the net while on his back.
The third period saw momentum swing in Miami’s favor, as the RedHawks started creating more scoring opportunities and made Gillies stretch out his 6-foot-5 span across the crease time and time again to preserve the stalemate.
Both teams had good looks in overtime as well, but no one was able to step up and send his team home a winner.
Instead, the obvious heroes were the freshmen between the pipes.
“Ryan McKay kept us in it,” said Miami coach Enrico Blasi. “He did a great job. We were just out of sorts for pretty much the first two periods. Give [Gillies] credit. When the other guy on the other side is lights out, you’ve got to be lights out, too, so it was a tremendous battle between the two of them. We’ve got to find a way to solve him.”
Providence coach Nate Leaman fully expects the play of the goalies to keep Saturday’s game just as close as Friday’s.
“We knew coming in it would be a 120-minute weekend,” Leaman said. “It was a good game tonight [and] it’s going to be a better game tomorrow night.”
The two teams did elect to play a shootout following the overtime period, but the outcome does not affect standings because it was a non-conference game. Czarnik and Cody Murphy scored to take the shootout for Miami 2-0.