By Jordan Rinard, Senior Staff Writer
Miami University women’s hockey started the ACHA Division I National Championship in York, Pennsylvania with a 7-0 annihilation of the WWCHL champion University of Minnesota (0-2) Wednesday, but tied Adrian College (1-0-1) for the second time this season in an 1-1 decision Thursday.
Pool play wraps up Friday when the RedHawks (1-0-1) take on the University of Michigan (1-1), who beat Adrian 3-0 and fell to the Gophers 4-3 in overtime. The Wolverines were swept by the ’Hawks earlier in the season.
“It’s been frustrating so far [in the tournament],” head coach Scott Hicks said. “We’re still in a good position at the top of the pool, and we’re fortunate that we’re still able to control our own destiny.”
The other game of the pool Friday pits Adrian against Minnesota.
In the other pool, Liberty University (2-0) is in control of first place, while Grand Valley State University (1-1) is in sole possession of second following a loss to the Flames Thursday. Rounding out the pool is the University of Massachusetts and Penn State University, who are both 0-1-1.
The top two teams from each pool face off Saturday afternoon to see who will compete for the national title 1 p.m. Sunday, making the game against the Wolverines a win-and-in scenario for the RedHawks.
“We came in strong against Minnesota and there were a lot of close games in the tournament, so it was nice to win the way that we did,” sophomore forward Kaley Mooney said. “Adrian is a really tough team to play, really chippy and we’ll be motivated from that game. We need to focus on winning each battle, playing for 60 minutes and taking it one game at a time. We’re expecting to get a win against Michigan and we’re really excited for the chance to get a repeat and reach our goal.”
Against Minnesota, Miami exploded for five first period goals with sophomore forward Kayley Mooney scoring back-to-back. Sophomore forward Jordan Hanson, freshman forward Carly Noble and freshman defender Becca Senden all found the back of the net as well.
Junior center Haley Williams and Noble rounded out the scoring in the second as the team outshot the Gophers 50-15. Sophomore goaltender Emalee Wills picked up her fifth shutout of the season and 10th overall for the team.
In the game against Adrian, Mooney struck 31 seconds in to put the ’Hawks up 1-0, but Adrian got the equalizer with 2:00 left in the second and the score held through the rest of the matchup. The team was uncharacteristically sloppy, as Adrian had three power play opportunities while the Red and White had only one. Shots were 37-24 in favor of Miami.
“We need to play with a sense of urgency and have some energy,” Hicks said. “We have to come out and expect teams to bring their best, and we were caught off guard a little bit. We expect to play at a high level. It’s win or go home for us, and we can’t afford to have an off night.”