OXFORD, Ohio — The Miami RedHawks and Michigan State Spartans skated to a 2-2 deadlock Friday night in Oxford. The RedHawks did earn an extra point in the CCHA standings by winning the shootou,t 2-0. Miami got goals from freshman Alex Gacek and sophomore Alex Wideman, while sophomore Matt Berry and junior Jake Chelios lit the lamp for the Spartans.
Miami coach Enrico Blasi called a tight game, and just the sort his players needed to come to expect.
“I thought it was a good college hockey game,” Blasi said. “One of those nights for both sides where you gotta just stay with it and try to find a way. It was a good game, well-played both ways. We had our chances, they had theirs.”
The RedHawks grabbed the early lead when Gacek picked up a turnover in the slot and wristed it passed Michigan State’s freshman goaltender Jake Hildebrand at 11:15. Miami then pushed the advantage to 2-0 at 5:47 in the second period as Alex Wideman backhanded the puck over Hildebrand’s shoulder.
Michigan State coach Tom Anastos said the early deficit did not dissuade the team, and he knew the players knew what it would take to come back.
“I’d call it patience, rather than try to force things out there just be real patient,” he said.
The Spartans did not wait long to respond. At 7:38 in the second, Berry put Michigan State on the board with his seventh goal of the season, a nifty spinning shot that eluded Miami’s freshman goalkeeper Jay Williams. Then Miami took a penalty late in the period, putting Michigan State on a power play. The Spartans converted the opportunity, with a shot by junior Jake Chelios deflecting off of a Miami defender and into the back of the cage.
As the game progressed, both defenses clamped down ever tighter. Though Miami held an edge in shots on goal, neither team could capitalize on any momentum. The Spartans were outshot, 21-12, after the first period, and Chelios said the grind of the action took its toll.
“They were wearing us down the whole game,” he said. “We were having a hard time getting the puck deep and getting caught in our area. That eventually got to us.”
Following a gritty third period, neither team had many good looks in the overtime, setting up a trip down the shootout lane. Miami won the shootout on goals from Wideman and freshman Riley Barber. It marked the second consecutive game that Wideman netted a shootout-winning goal for the RedHawks.
“A shootout win in our league is two points and those are two points that could be huge at the end of the season. You never know,” he said.