>Game No. 11
>After completing a weekend sweep in Ann Arbor last weekend, the Miami RedHawks returned home to the friendly confines of Cady Arena on Friday night to host a surging Ferris State Bulldogs’ team, fresh off a sweep of their own at hapless Bowling Green last weekend. By all accounts, this was a trap game Miami was heading into. One can make the point that “on paper,” there’s only one way this game could have gone- Miami’s way. But then again, there’s a reason why games aren’t played “on paper” as Ferris showed Friday evening, by earning a shootout win in Oxford, 3-2.
Let’s face it. Ferris has Miami’s number. With the tie tonight, the RedHawks are 0-3-2 in the last five meetings against Big Rapids canines. The visitors started the scoring in the second frame, after a flat Miami first period that saw the good guys with a flurry of chances to get on the board as time expired, but to no avail. Senior winger Blair Riley reaped the benefit of a Miami turnover. Defenseman Will Weber tried to skate the puck into the Ferris zone and dump, but it was intercepted by Zach Redmond who fed a perfect pass to Riley, waiting at the blueline. He broke in, with only Miami’s Joe Hartman trailing and found the twine by wristing the puck over the trapper of Cody Reichard, who stopped 19 of 21 shots on the night. It was Riley’s 7th goal of the season.
But back came the RedHawks, resilient as always this season and on the penalty kill. With time running out in the second, Andy Miele made a great play to move the puck up the ice. As he crossed the FSU blueline, he threw the puck to the point and it was Hartman who stepped into it and scored a shorthanded goal, on the one-timer with 1.3 seconds left. It tied the contest at 1 apiece, but provided the momentum the ‘Hawks needed heading into the third.
Although Miami had the momentum and controlled the tempo in the final period, it remained scoreless for several minutes. FSU did a good job of hanging tough all night, outworking, and frustrating the RedHawks. They forechecked hard and took away the passing lanes. But they didn’t have the tempo in their favor in the final period and Miami’s hard work came to fruition late. Sophomore Chris Wideman made a great play to hold the puck in the zone and worked in to the right half wall. He made a great pass to junior captain Tommy Wingels, who fired a slapshot from the high slot to give his team the lead, 2-1 at 15:22. Ferris goaltender Taylor Nelson was screened by Curtis McKenzie on the play and didn’t have a great view of the shot.
UPDATE 11:35pm: The goal was later credited to McKenzie, with Wingels and Wideman getting the assists.
But then came the 6 on 5…
With time ticking away in the game, Ferris coach Bob Daniels pulled Nelson in favor of an extra attacker and once again, Miami’s inability to clear the zone came back to bite them in their collective rear-ends, when Riley struck again to tie the game at two with only 23.2 seconds remaining in regulation. Bulldog captain Cody Chupp was able to corral a “knucklepuck” and feed Riley, who was waiting crease right and buried it, five-hole. The tally was his second of the game, the biggest of the night, and his 8th of the season. Remarkably, 7 of his 8 goals have been scored on Friday nights.
The stalemate continued into the five-minute overtime period and the skills competition would be needed to decide a winner on this night.
In the shootout, junior Carter Camper had the first crack at Nelson, who was solid throughout the night. Camper broke in, he went to his backhand, but it found Nelson’s right pad and was kicked away. For the Bulldogs, Zach Redmond was up first and he gave his team a 1-0 advantage on a wrist shot that eluded Reichard. That’s all Ferris would need as Miami’s next two shooters Miele and Wingels, were unsuccessful.
Regulation win- 3 points
Overtime win- 3 points
Regulation loss- 0 points
Overtime loss- 0 points
Shootout win- 2 points
Shootout loss- 1 point
So the ‘Hawks walk away with one point in the CCHA standings and the game goes down as a tie as far as the NCAA is concerned. Miami still holds down the second spot in the league though, 3 points behind Michigan State due to the Spartans 3-2 win against Michigan on Friday.
The weekend series concludes on Saturday in Oxford. Gametime is 7:05pm and can be seen on the Ohio News Network.