SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. — In its final CCHA road game, Miami capped off a weekend sweep with a 2-1 win over Lake Superior State.
With the win, Miami maintains top spot in the CCHA with a 16-6-4-4 record.
Despite the low score, the game wasn’t without scoring chances.
Miami coach Enrico Blasi credited the RedHawks’ special teams in the win.
“Lake State certainly threw everything at us,” said Blasi. “[Miami goalie] Ryan [McKay] played well and made some big saves, Our penalty kill did a nice job. [Special teams] ended up being the difference. Our power play scored and theirs didn’t.”
For the Lakers, coach Jim Roque was much more pleased with his team after Saturday’s loss.
“Our effort was outstanding,” said Roque. “That was the best game we’ve played in a while. We played good defensively. [Offensively], we just didn’t get a bounce. Our effort was good and our execution was good. I have no qualms about the game.”
Riley Barber and Matthew Caito scored for Miami, while McKay stopped 44 shots.
For the Lakers, Dan Radke had the lone goal and goaltender Kevin Kapalka stopped 29 shots.
Blasi gave credit to the five players – Curtis McKenzie, Austin Czarnik, Steven Spinell, Caito and Marc Hagel – he had on the ice in the final minute when, with Kapalka on the bench for the extra attacker, the Lakers attempted a last-ditch effort to tie the game.
“They’re guys that we usually put out there [in that situation],” said Blasi. “They’re out there to block shots, get in shooting lanes and keep pucks along the wall. When pucks got through, Ryan could see them. In a six-on-five, there’s no secret. It’s just meat and potatoes. It’s blocking shots and making sure you keep them to the outside.”
Blasi also spoke highly of McKay.
“When he’s on, he’s just so calm,” Blasi said. “He keeps everybody calm. The save he made at the end [in the final minute] was all about positioning. You don’t make a save like that through traffic without being in the right position. He’s not a flopper and he doesn’t over-extend himself. He just tries to be in the right position.”
Roque noted that the hope is the rewards will come if the effort level continues to be what it was tonight.
“If we play like that, we’ll get rewarded down the road,” said Roque. “I’m not worried about that. You hope the players understand that you don’t always get results that day. You have to put time in. I was really happy with the effort. If we play like that, we’ll get rewarded for it down the road.”