By Harrison Schwarz, Staff Writer
The Miami University hockey team (10-12-3) split the weekend against No. 13 University of Denver (13-8-5). MU controlled the first game in a 3-1 win, and DU muscled past the RedHawks in a 5-3 win Saturday.
The ’Hawks entered Saturday night on a four-game winning streak, including a sweep of No. 7 University of Nebraska- Omaha.
Head coach Enrico Blasi was impressed with his team’s chemistry after Friday’s win.
“We’ve been playing well for a while now,” Blasi said. “Our guys are feeling really good about what they’re doing right now. They’re playing for each other and they are trusting each other. When you do that, you go out and play hard because you are playing for the guy next to you and across from you.”
In the first game on Friday, play started slow, as each team’s offense was frustrated for the beginning of the first period.
Denver was the first team on the board when it took advantage of an MU turnover. Sophomore forward Danton Heinen deked in front of the net and slipped a shot by senior goalie Jay Williams with 7:06 left in the first period.
One and a half minutes later, junior forward Anthony Louis responded with a wraparound goal on a move that started from behind the net. Sophomore defenseman Josh Dornbrock received an assist on the play.
The game didn’t see another goal until 2:24 left in the second period. Freshman forward Jack Roslovic gave MU a 2-1 lead when he scored on a rebound.
After Williams turned away eight shots on goal, Denver pulled its goalie with little time left in the third. Senior forward Kevin Morris found the puck on a breakaway and scored on the empty net to to seal the victory.
Though Williams had a great individual effort Friday, he chalked up the success to his defense.
“It was a tremendous team effort,” Williams said. “The guys did an awesome job once we got the lead, clamping down defensively, making simple plays and blocking shots.”
The script was reversed in the Saturday game, as DU controlled play from the opening faceoff. Denver led 9-2 in shots with five minutes remaining
in the first period.
Miami overcame its lack of momentum with 1:45 left in the first period when Roslovic faked a shot and slid a pass to freshman forward Kiefer Sherwood, who buried the puck in the net. DU’s shot advantage fell to 10-8 at the end of the first period.
The Pioneers’ three consecutive goals gave them a 3-1 lead 13:53 into the second period. Miami tied it up with a goal from senior forward Alex Gacek late in the second period and a goal from senior center Sean Kuraly 1:26 into the third.
Trailing 5-3 with 3:01 left on the clock, Miami pulled Williams from the net for an extra skater. The RedHawks didn’t sustain much pressure on offense, and Denver missed a few shots on Miami’s net.
Williams finished the weekend with 46 saves.
The Red and White continue their home stand next weekend in a two-game series against University of Minnesota-Duluth.