Miami University smothered beleaguered Ferris State 7-2 in the second game of the weekend series in beautiful Steve Cady Arena. The Bulldogs, three points away from last place in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association standings, allowed five unanswered goals, falling to the RedHawks for a sixth consecutive time.
Miami took advantage of the power play, scoring 4 out of 10 times (7-for-19 in the weekend). Miami also scored a shorthanded goal (MU leads the nation in shorthanded goals) in addition to two even strength goals.
After a slow start on Friday night, Miami didn’t waste anytime clocking in to work against FSU. Sophomore defenseman Alec Martinez scored a mere 17 seconds into the game just inside the blue line to the left of Bulldogs’ goalie Mitch O’Keefe.
Head coach Enrico Blasi emphasized the importance of the early goal. “We needed to play a disciplined 60 minutes tonight. The big players had to be ready to go and set the tone for the game.”
After becoming the 37th member of the 100-point club, Matt Christie gave the RedHawks a two-goal lead 12:54 into the first period. Christie was assisted by first line forwards Brian Kaufman and Nathan Davis. Christie also had two assists on the night for a three-point performance, tying Andrew Miller for 36th on the all-time list with 104 points.
The RedHawks added two more goals in the second, taking a 4-0 lead into the second intermission. After peppering O’Keefe on for six shots on the power play, Miami was finally able to punch it in on a Nino Musitelli goal. Forward Marty Guerin rifled a shot from the blue line, deflecting off of Musitelli’s leg for a goal. O’Keefe was pulled after giving up the third goal. O’Keefe cannot be solely blamed for the defeat. O’Keefe was shorthanded for two goals, and his defense permitted Miami 18 shots in the second period alone.
Ryan Jones pushed his scoring streak to seven games with an even strength goal 15:45 in the second. Jones, with a team leading 14 goals, had two goals on the night and five total over the two game series. Afterwards, Jones deflected praise to his teammates, saying, “I was just at the good end of a great team effort.”
Even though both squads combined for five goals, the third period was highlighted by penalties with a combined 13, including a game disqualification to Miami’s Joe Cooper and FSU’s Chris Zarb (both players will be required to sit out the next game).
The RedHawks added a fifth goal 36 seconds into the third off streaking left-wing Jones; however, two minutes later, the Bulldogs ruined goal Jeff Zatkoff’s shutout bid on a Cody Chupp power play goal.
Davis, the assistant captain for Team USA at the 2006 IIHF World Jr. Championship, added the seventh goal to go with three assists. Davis was named the first star of the game.
The Bulldogs closed out the scoring with a Brendan Connolly power play goal 14:19 into the third.
• The RedHawks have an upcoming home-and-home series against Ohio State next weekend with the Friday night game in Columbus. Ferris State will host Lake Superior in their weekend series.
• Davis’ five game point streak came to an end Friday, but he quickly started a new one with a goal and three assists. Davis is one point away from becoming the 38th RedHawk to reach the 100-point mark.
• Martinez’s goal was a mere five seconds behind Miami’s all-time record to start a game.
• Kaufman had three assists to join teammates Christie and Davis with three-point performances.
• The University of Michigan, second in the conference, kept pace with the CCHA-leading RedHawks by winning on the road 6-5 over Western Michigan. The Wolverines trail the RedHawks by two points in the table.