True to its resolve to win every remaining regular season game in 2008-09, the Miami University men’s ice hockey team earned back-to-back victories against Lake Superior State University this past weekend. With the triumph, the Red and White extended its unbeaten streak to seven games and secured a first round bye in the upcoming CCHA post-season tournament.
Rookie goaltender Cody Reichard returned to his position between the posts Friday for the first time since dropping a 4-1 decision to Michigan State University on Jan. 16. The freshman from Celina, Ohio, turned away 26 of the 27 shots he faced, aiding the senior class in producing its 100th win and leaving no doubt that he was ready to be backstopping the brotherhood again.
Sophomore Tommy Wingels lit the lamp first for the Red and White at 14:57 of the opening frame, and sophomore Vincent LoVerde notched his first career goal to give the RedHawks some insurance at 17:18. That insurance paid off as sophomore
defenseman, Dillin Stonehouse, pulled the Lakers within one just 17 seconds later.
The first period consisted of 20 minutes of uninterrupted, hard-fought hockey, as Miami was uncharacteristically penalty-free and LSSU was never whistled either.
The remainder of the game was a draw. Both teams battled hard for the remaining two periods, but both were perfect on their penalty kills and neither team would give an inch, leaving Miami to ultimately skate away with the win.
“We need to find a way to get more production,” LSSU head coach Jim Roque said. “It’s tough to win when you only scored one goal for the weekend.”
Blasi’s boys evoked love and honor for Miami in the hearts of the RedHawk faithful when they clinched the series sweep with a 4-0 shutout on Valentine’s Day. The shutout was freshman net minder Connor Knapp’s second of the season, and the sweep was only Miami’s second ever against LSSU in Sault Ste. Marie.
“They didn’t give us anything,” Roque said. “We couldn’t even get one cheesy goal, or squeak one through somehow. They have a nice team.”
Sophomore Hobey Baker Award nominee Carter Camper put the Red and White on the board early in the opening stanza when he capitalized on a RedHawk power play and found the net at 2:22. The brotherhood is undefeated this season when scoring first.
Junior Gary Steffes and sophomore Andy Miele kept up the momentum in the second frame with two more tallies, the latter one coming on a five-minute Miami man-advantage. The Red and White also killed off a 5-on-3 advantage for the Lakers at the end of the period.
“We didn’t seem to give them any second chances tonight,” Miami head coach Enrico Blasi said. “The times they did have a scoring chance, we didn’t give up a second chance, which was key. Connor made some big saves, especially on the 5-on-3.”
Finally, senior Bill Loupee put the game away with an empty net goal late in the final frame.
“Miami played well and I have to give them credit,” Roque said. “They played big, and blocked a ton of shots. We had trouble getting pucks to the net, and when we did get it there, their goaltending was excellent all weekend.”
Miami will return to Steve Cady Arena this coming weekend to battle Northern Michigan University. The two teams will face off at 7:35 p.m. on Friday, and at 5:05 p.m. on Saturday to accommodate Miami’s Bicentennial Charter Day Ball.