Miami finishes sweep of Ohio State 5-1
Connor Knapp made 22 saves and Austin Czarnik recorded the first two-goal game of his career as Miami completed the weekend sweep of duhOSU winning 5-1.
Jimmy Mullin (9th goal), Blake Coleman (11th) and, who else, Reilly Smith (26th) also notched goals for Miami who outshot the Buckeyes 33-23 on the night.
It was yet another stellar defensive performance by Miami, and by all accounts, similar to last weekend against Notre Dame when at no point did you really think duhOSU could challenge Miami. In fact, the RedHawks probably allowed no more than 5-8 minutes of offensive zone time against during the final two periods of play. I’ll be curious to hear the duhOSU head coach’s excuses after this weekend that saw Miami outscore the Buckeyes 8-1.
duhOSU did their best to maintain the chippy play they started on Friday in Oxford, and Miami definitely took the bait ending up down two men twice during the game. And, the Buckeyes capitalized on their early 5×3 chance when someone named Al McLean scored in the first period to knot the game at one after Jimmy Mullin opened the scoring just 43 seconds into the game.
Miami’s top line of freshmen Austin Czarnik and Mullin plus junior Reilly Smith was far too much for duhOSU.
After freshman Blake Coleman broke a 1-1 tie with his 11th goal of the season, Smith would add a third first period goal at 16:09, roughly 30 seconds after Coleman’s eventual game-winner on the powerplay.
And, in the second period, it was all Miami as Austin Czarnik (2-1-3) tallied twice, assisted both times by Smith who had a line of 1-3-4 on the evening while Mullin went 1-2-3 as the top line was a combined 4-6-10 on the night.
For senior netminder Connor Knapp, it was business as usual.
Knapp stopped 22 of 23 duhOSU shots, the only goal coming on a 5×3 powerplay as he is now 13-6 on the season with a 1.53 goals against average with .939 save percentage. Knapp and Reilly Smith (26-12-38) have each played themselves into CCHA player of the year contention, and perhaps, into the Hobey Baker discussion as Smith is now second nationally in goals and Knapp is in the top 5 in almost every major goaltending category, except maybe victories.
With the weekend sweep and Michigan State’s split with Notre Dame, Miami will finish in fourth place in the CCHA and host the Spartans in Oxford for the second round of the CCHA playoffs which will be a best-of-three series. The winner will advance to the CCHA semifinals in Detroit with an opportunity to play for the Mason Cup. The Michigan State series will be March 9-11 at Steve Cady Arena. Miami swept the Spartans in East Lansing January 6-7 so this should be an outstanding series to watch.
Currently, Miami is tied for 8th in the PairWise rankings. We’ll see if that changes as other games go final.
duhOSU coach Mark Osiecki continued his pattern of whining after losses with yet another classic.
“In the second period we had a puck hit the post and it bounced out. It could’ve been a 3-2 game but we haven’t been able to get those bounces to go our way all season when they matter.”
Sure, Mark. Those bounces were probably all you needed against a superior opponent.
Check back tomorrow for the Redskin Warrior #SixPack as we breakdown the key facts and figures for the RedHawks.