College Hockey:
Czarnik scores two as Miami sweeps Canisius

OXFORD, Ohio – The Miami RedHawks built an early lead and then held on against a feisty Canisius team for a 5-2 victory Saturday night, completing a weekend sweep. Juniors Austin Czarnik and Blake Coleman both posted three-point nights, with Czarnik scoring twice. The teams combined to score five power play goals.

Czarnik said that Friday’s grinding game taught the RedHawks to come out with more focus.

“Right from the start, we knew we hard to come out hard, ’cause last night we didn’t do it and they took it to us a little bit,” he said. “So we came out hard. Luckily, I was able to get in a groove today and get two goals.”

Czarnik found the back of the net in the first on a power play at 4:45. He received the puck at center ice and carried it through the defense himself, beating senior goaltender Tony Capobianco with a nifty backhander.

The Golden Griffins tied the game at 12:15 with a power-play goal of their own. Senior defenseman Ben Danford dragged a shot through the slot, beating Miami’s sophomore netminder Jay Williams on the glove-side.

The deadlock only lasted 10 seconds though, as the RedHawks regained the lead on the ensuing faceoff. Miami immediately crashed the net, and sophomore Alex Gacek was in position to put in a rebound.

Miami extended the lead to 3-1 just before the close of the period when freshman Anthony Louis took a pass in the slot and put the puck under a sprawling Capobianco at 18:46. Heading into the intermission, Miami held an 18-5 advantage in shots on net.

Miami’s fourth goal came at 1:44 in the second period. Junior Jimmy Mullin was behind the Griffins defenders when he took a pass from Czarnik at the blue line, then skated in alone and handily beat Capobianco for the power-play score.

Canisius closed to within 4-2 just 47 seconds into the third period with its second power-play goal. Senior Kyle Gibbons sniped the puck passed Williams from the point, giving the Griffins life and momentum.

Miami coach Enrico Blasi liked how his players responded to the Griffins’ tenacity.

“Every time it seemed like they were getting close, we were doing a good job of relieving pressure and putting some pressure on them,” he said.

Czarnik bookended the scoring with his second power-play goal of the night at 11:54, as he weaved through traffic in front of the net before backhanding the puck into the twine.

Canisius coach Dave Smith said that his team was again just a break away in this one.

“We had to sort of regroup in between the first and the second period and find our will against a very good team, but I thought we did that,” he said. “I thought we competed better, played it more simple. We did get some momentum. We had some really, really good looks on the power play. We just couldn’t find the back of the net.”

By night’s end, Miami outshot the Griffins, 45-25. Williams made 23 saves to earn the win, while Capobianco turned aside 40 in the losing effort. Both teams had seven power plays.

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