By Grace Remington, Staff Writer
The Miami University men’s hockey team moved up to the eighth spot in both the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls after earning two points in a back-and-forth 3-3 tie against Western Michigan University.
The RedHawks (15-9-1, 8-6-1-1 National Collegiate Hockey Conference) topped the Broncos (11-10-4, 4-7-4-3 NCHC) 2-1 in a four-round shootout.
Sophomore forward Anthony Louis opened the shootout with a goal following a WMU miss. Senior forward Cody Murphy finished the contest with a goal in the fourth round to give Miami an extra point in the NCHC standings.
“It was a high pressure situation,” Murphy said in an email. “I knew I wanted to gather some speed to make the goalie make a decision earlier than he would have liked to, and fortunately it worked out.”
After a scoreless first period, junior defenseman Matthew Caito put the ’Hawks on the board with a backhand goal midway through the second. Seven minutes later, the Broncos answered with two goals in 30 seconds, putting Miami in a 2-1 deficit with under two minutes to go in the second period.
Entering the game, the Red and White were 0-6 when trailing at the second intermission. However, Louis and junior forward Sean Kuraly led a third period resurgence by scoring within 20 seconds of each other. A WMU goal from junior forward Colton Hargrove tied the contest 3-3 with 13.9 seconds left, forcing overtime.
“I felt pretty frustrated because I thought we played an overall solid game,” Murphy said. “I was proud of our team’s response in OT and the shootout. Playing in Western Michigan is a challenging feat. Their environment is truly a tough test.”
Miami outshot Western Michigan 42-27 overall, including 19-8 in the third period alone. Junior goaltender Lukas Hafner stopped 39 shots for WMU, while junior goaltender Ryan McKay made 24 stops for MU. Miami went 1 for 6 on the power play and killed off all three Western Michigan power plays. The Broncos’ power play was ranked fourth in the nation entering this game.
Both teams meet again in the Hockey City Classic Saturday.
“We have a firm belief that how we practice is how we will play during a game,” Murphy said. “Our competing level will be high.”
Murphy added that because the Classic brings a tough outdoor ice atmosphere, the team will work on keeping their plays and execution simple during this week’s practices in order to “ensure the best results possible” Saturday.
The puck drops at 4 p.m. EST in Chicago at Soldier Field.