Miami and Northern Michigan skated to a 2-2 draw Saturday night, but the RedHawks took an extra point in the CCHA standings by virtue of a 2-0 shootout win.
Sophomore Alex Wideman scored the decisive goal in the shootout, as well as the game-tying score as time wound down in the third period.
Wideman’s third-period goal came on a rush to the net that seemed to surprise even him.
“I didn’t really aim it; I just kinda threw it at the net just to see what happened,” said Wideman. “Good things happen when you throw pucks at the net. Luckily, it got in short side. In that kind of situation, you’re not going to get a pretty goal, not gonna get a back-door goal or anything like that. It’s gonna be hard. The ice is terrible. It’s gonna be a gritty goal or even a lucky goal like that.”
In contrast to Friday’s game, it was the Wildcats (4-4-2, 1-3-2-0 CCHA) who came out and took command in the opening period Saturday. Northern sophomore Ryan Kesti beat RedHawks’ freshman goalie Jay Williams top shelf with a tough-angle shot from back on the boards at 6:05 for the early lead.
Northern Michigan coach Walt Kyle felt his players came out strong and focused.
“The guys showed up,” Kyle said. “They competed, they did a good job. I thought we backed off in the third when we had the lead a little bit, but I thought we competed hard.”
The two sides traded five-on-three power-play scores later in the first. Miami (6-2-2, 3-2-1-1) got theirs from freshman Sean Kuraly at 12:27 in the period and the Wildcats responded with one from junior Stephan Vigier at 17:20 to retake a 2-1 lead.
The Wildcats outshot Miami 15-5 in the opening period.
A defensive struggled ensued after that, leading to a scoreless, but tense second period. Both teams saw chances to put a tally on the scoreboard, but a parade of penalties prevented either from sustaining momentum in the period.
NMU junior goalie Jared Coreau said he saw the game as a battle between himself and Williams, especially during the scoreless second period, when any mistake could have turned the tide.
“You can’t worry about anything but the puck and the next shot,” Coreau said. “You have to have short memory as a goalie.”
The battle carried on deep into the third period. After being outshot in the initial frame, the RedHawks dominated the shots on goal 26-10 in the second and third. Northern’s defense stood strong despite those attacks and denied the RedHawks each time they attacked.
With time running out though, Wideman broke through and knotted the game back up with his desperation shot at 17:47 in the third.
Miami coach Enrico Blasi said that Wideman’s score demonstrated his team’s resilience.
“Our guys did a real good job in the last 10 minutes of just finding a way,” Blasi said. “We might not have played the best game, but we actually got a little better tonight.”
When neither team managed to steal a goal in the extra period, Miami got scores from Wideman and classmate Austin Czarnik to take the shootout point.