Miami’s renewed power play keys postseason success

No small part of Miami’s recent success, particularly in its playoff drive that culminated in the CCHA playoff championship at Joe Louis Arena Saturday night, has been due to success on the power play.

In their semifinal game against Notre Dame, the RedHawks capitalized on two first-period, power-play goals by Carter Camper and Alden Hirschfeld to build the earlier lead that sunk the Fighting Irish as part of a first-period blitz.

Again in the championship final, Miami capitalized on two of its three chances with power-play goals by Reilly Smith and Curtis McKenzie.

That success hadn’t been the case all season, though.

Asked if his team made any changes to ramp up the power play, Smith quickly replied, “Absolutely. We were watching video and it was our games against Notre Dame when we were at Notre Dame. A little blurb popped up at the bottom of the screen and it showed that our power play was 13 percent and we were 50th in the nation. So, it’s obviously changed a lot lately and it’s helped lead to our success.

“We’re trying to spread out the defense and get them to follow us. Some of the guys are just doing a phenomenal job of carrying the puck for other people.”

Camper’s seven power-play goals and Andy Miele’s five goals with the man advantage led the team during the regular season. Each added 14 assists during the regular campaign on the power play.

“Earlier in the year, we were a little lackadaisical on the power play,” said Miele. “We took it a little too lightly. Recently, we’ve been really hunting the puck down, not playing like we’re a man up, but like it’s five on five. We’re keeping our feet moving and we’re moving the puck really well. Luck has to be on your side, too, and it has been so we’re excited about that.”

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