Photo by Bridget Pollard, Miami University Athletics
By Grace Remington, Staff Writer
In a deciding third game, Jay Williams completed his fifth career shutout to advance No. 6 Miami University hockey to the National Collegiate Hockey Conference Frozen Faceoff. The junior goaltender stopped 35 shots in the 4-0 win against Western Michigan University Sunday night.
“The most important thing is we got the win,” Williams said. “We have an opportunity to play next week for a championship, so that’s what the focus is on. Shutouts are tough to come by. You’ve got to get a few lucky breaks. I think more than anything it’s a testament to the team defense. The guys were unbelievable, blocking shots in front of me. The shutout’s nice, but the win is more important.”
Like the previous two nights, Miami was first to draw blood after freshman defenseman Scott Dornbrock scored his second goal of the year at the 10:30 mark. The RedHawks ended the period leading 1-0, marking the first time they led after a period in the entire series.
Miami came out quick in the second period, putting up two goals in just over three minutes. Junior right winger Riley Barber scored first, and senior center Austin Czarnik followed suit. WMU made a switch at net, pulling senior goaltender Frank Slubowski in favor of junior Lukas Hafner.
Two RedHawk penalties at the end of the second period gave the Broncos a 5-on-3 opportunity at the start of the third, but Williams and the MU defense halted the advantage. WMU pulled Hafner for an extra skater with five and a half minutes remaining, but senior forward Blake Coleman reached the puck on a breakaway and sealed the Miami victory with an empty net goal.
Coleman’s goal and assist on the night added to his 100 total career points. He passed the mark Saturday, making him the 50th player in Miami history to do so.
“It’s pretty special,” Coleman said. “Tonight was a really emotional game for me and the rest of my class. But nobody reaches that mark without the help of their team mates, so shout out to everybody that I played with. It’s a team effort, and I’m just happy we got the wins.”
Western Michigan outshot Miami 35-26 overall, and neither team converted on five tries on the power play.
“As I told the guys in the locker room, I’m proud of them,” Blasi said. “Our whole coaching staff is proud of them. It’s not easy to play game three, a deciding game, and they played hard. My hat goes off to Western Michigan too, they played hard. We’re happy to be going back to the Target Center.”
The Brotherhood travels to Minnesota for the Frozen Faceoff in a rematch of last year’s championship game against No. 5 University of Denver. Puck drop is 8:38 p.m. EST Friday.