OXFORD, Ohio — The No. 3 Miami RedHawks (10-2-3, 7-2-2-2) saw a familiar trend continue in a 3-2 victory Friday over the Lake Superior State Lakers (7-10-0, 4-7-0-0), as a trio of freshmen accounted for all their goals. Kevin Morris, Sean Kuraly, and Riley Barber all scored for the RedHawks, who extended their unbeaten streak to eight games (6-0-2). In winning their fourth in a row, Miami also remains undefeated at home (6-0-3).
Miami coach Enrico Blasi said that because his roster contains so many underclassmen, they have already done a great deal of maturing.
“I don’t consider them freshman anymore; this is our team, this is the way it is,” he said.
Barber echoed his coach’s sentiments regarding his class’s early-season performances.
“We have a great freshman class,” Barber said. “Coach has given us a lot of confidence in ourselves, and we just go out there and play.”
Lake Superior’s Kellan Lain put the Lakers on the board first, beating Miami’s freshman goaltender Jay Williams 11:16 in the first. It was a power-play strike for the Lakers, with Lain cleaning up a rebound off of Williams’ pad and stuffing it under his leg for the junior’s fourth score of the year.
Though Miami never really seemed to find a rhythm in the opening period, Barber said the RedHawks fully expected to regain the momentum.
“We have a lot of young guys, a lot of energy, so when we’re going out for the second [period], I think the whole bench knew we were gonna get that one back and win the game.”
The RedHawks did come to life in the second period and dominated from start to finish. By the time it ended, Miami had taken 24 shots on goal to Lake Superior’s five. The Lakers’ junior goalie Kevin Kapalka kept the RedHawks off the scoreboard until deep into the period though, as he made one stellar save after another.
Miami finally broke through his defenses at 15:37 when Morris emerged from a scrum in front of the net and poked the puck behind Kapalka for his third career goal. The RedHawks took their first lead of the night not long after that. Kapalka gloved down a shot by RedHawks senior Marc Hagel, but wasn’t able to cover up the puck, leaving it on the ice for Kuraly to slam it into the back of the cage at 18:09. It was also his third career goal.
Lake Superior coach Jim Roque was disappointed with the Lakers’ second period performance, especially considering how closely the other two periods were contested.
“If you’re gonna beat a team like Miami on the road, or Notre Dame last weekend, you gotta play well the whole 60 [minutes],” Roque sad. “Can’t give up bad goals. It’s gotta be 60 minutes. Can’t be 40, can’t be 50. It’s gotta be all the way.”
Barber scored his goal unassisted at 2:09 in the third period, his seventh. Carrying the puck into the offensive zone, he lined up his shot from the top of the circle and wristed it by Kapalka for what would prove to be the game-winner.
The Lakers made it a one-score game again at 4:09, once again taking advantage of a power-play opportunity. Sophomore Chris Ciotti streaked through the slot and beat Williams backdoor after taking a feed from senior Nick McParland, netting his seventh goal of the season.
Lake Superior kept the pressure on Williams throughout the period, outshooting the RedHawks, 11-10, in the final frame. Kapalka was pulled with 1:14 remaining, and though the Lakers kept the puck in the offensive zone, they were unable to find an equalizer.