OXFORD, OH – On a rare Thursday night contest against Robert Morris University, the Miami University RedHawks (21-10-4) crushed the hottest team in the country 7-3. Robert Morris (13-14-1), owners of the nation’s longest winning streak at five, had not allowed an opponent more than two goals during their surge; however, the Colonials found themselves behind three to nil within the first six minutes of the non-conference matchup. The Colonials braved the storm but were never able to fully recover from their gargantuan early game breakdowns.
The RedHawks jumped out to a three goal lead thanks in large part to the newly formed first line of Ryan Jones, Nathan Davis, and Marty Guerin. An injury to starting forward Brian Kaufman against the Alaska Nanooks forced Miami’s head coach Enrico Blasi to shuffle around the offensive lines. After playing inconsistently for three games, the line seems to be starting to gel.
Jones’ first goal came just 1:10 into the game. Guerin brought the puck into the offensive zone, before finding Jones in the slot. Jones skated in front of the net and scored glove side on Colonial netminder Joe Tuset.
A little over two minutes later, on a power play, Jones and Guerin teamed up again to give the Red and White a two goal lead. Guerin rifled a shot from the left point and Jones deflected the shot for his second goal of the game.
The first line was at it again two minutes later with a goal from Davis. Defenseman Ray Eichenlaub took a shot from the point and Davis poked the rebound in for his 18th goal of the season for a 3-0 lead.
After stopping a flurry of shots, RedHawk goalie Charlie Effinger let one pass on a rebound shot by sophomore Chris Margott 14:03 into the first period. The goal moved the Colonials within two at 3-1. The score would stay that way after one period.
MU took a 4-1 lead on a shorthanded goal by Guerin 7:31 into the second period. Already with two assists, Guerin scored on an incredible individual effort. In between the circles with a defender separating him from the goalie, Guerin passed the puck by the defender and to himself, making the defender look absolutely ridiculous, scoring above Tuset’s outstretched glove arm.
Pushed to the brink, RMU scored two goals in the next five minutes, pulling within one at 4-3. The Colonials responded less than a minute after Guerin’s goal on a tic-tac-toe pass to Aaron Clarke. Clarke scored with three seconds remaining on an Eichenlaub penalty.
Kyle Frieday pulled the Colonials within one on an even strength goal from the right circle 12:30 into the second via the five hole.
Senior center Geoff Smith’s gave the RedHawks a little breathing room on a power play goal 16:36 into the second, extending the lead to 5-3. Near the crease, Smith gathered Davis’ shot from the point, and with Tuset off balance, patiently put placed a backhand shot into the empty net. The goal marked Smith’s second in back-to-back games.
Like the first period, the RedHawks exerted their will in the third period for a pair of goals on 14 shots. Naturally, the goals came from the first line. The first came courtesy of captain Jones. 4:30 into the final stanza, Jones scored his third goal of the contest, giving him his second career hat trick and 23 goals on the season. Guerin added his second goal of the night four minutes later to put the finishing touches on the night. Like Jones, Guerin finished with four points on the night.
Overall, RedHawks head coach Blasi seemed pleased with his team’s performance against the Colonials. “[Robert Morris] played hard tonight. They got back into the game. It was tight there for a little bit. I thought we played really well in the third. We controlled our turnovers and made goal scoring chances.”
MU will travel to Pittsburgh to finish the home-and-away series with RMU this Saturday at 7:35 ET. MU will make the long trek to Northern Michigan next weekend for the final regular season series. Next weekend, RMU will host Wayne State.
- While the Colonials saw their win streak come to an end, the RedHawks pushed theirs to three consecutive games.
- Miami’s penalty killing unit is the second best in the country behind Vermont, but the unit has given up a goal in back-to-back-to-back games.
- Miami outshot Robert Morris by a whopping 51-27. That marked the second straight game the RedHawks amounted more than 40 shots on goal.
- Miami’s first line accounted for a combined 10 points. After the contest, Guerin said, “We’re definitely starting to find each other out there.”
- RMU’s senior forward Clarke extended his consecutive point streak to eight games with the second period goal.