Freshmen help #4 Miami salvage 1-1 draw with Providence

Photo: Ryan McKay courtesy MURedHawks.com

Freshman netminder Ryan McKay made 37 saves and classmate Riley Barber scored his second goal of the season as Miami fought to a 1-1 draw with visiting Providence on Friday night.

As freshman goaltender Jay Williams has put it, “Miami is goaltending nation.” Or, something like that.

In a highly competitive, somewhat chippy and certainly entertaining college hockey game last night, Miami’s other touted freshman goaltender, Ryan McKay, again put his substantial talents on display as he made a career-best 37 saves helping the RedHawks salvage a 1-1 tie against Providence of Hockey East. McKay, who has now allowed just one goal in his first 125 minutes of collegiate play, made several outstanding saves and was beaten just once on a 5×3 Providence powerplay as Miami has now successfully killed 15 of the first 16 opponents powerplay opportunities in 2012.

This game, that more appeared more like a conference tilt but featured just 8 powerplay situations and 10 man advantages overall, was closely fought and the competitive nature of the game made it feel more like a mid-season clash rather than the third game of the season for both squads. Second-year coach Nate Leaman’s Friars carried the play through the opening period and at one point led the shots on goal category 14-3. However, Miami began to tilt the ice back in the RedHawks favor in the second and seemed to carry most of the play during the third. Seeing Providence and Miami play in last season’s Denver Cup, I thought Providence would be better than a 6-2 drubbing, and they showed last night they belong on the ice with the nation’s fourth ranked team.

After allowing the first goal of the game for the second time already this year, Miami found itself down 1-0 after the first period. The RedHawks were outplayed and outshot 15-7 as the Friars came out hot early on the road in Oxford. Sophomore forward Ross Mauermann netted what would be the Friars only goal on the evening as he converted a rebound on the powerplay to give Providence the early lead.

Miami would rally in the second period with the help of 10 more saves from McKay and a goal from classmate Riley Barber, his second of the season, off a feed from sophomore Austin Czarnik. Senior Curtis McKenzie, seeing his first action of the new year, added the secondary assist. It was certainly good to see #16 back out on the ice as this team can surely use his experience and grit, particularly as Providence tried to get physical with several smaller Miami forwards during the night. As Miami got back into the game, they also tightened up on the defensive end but saw Providence freshman Jon Gillies (perhaps the nation’s top goaltending recruit – he’s 6’5″ and just 18 years of age) make six saves on just seven RedHawk shots to keep the Friars even.

In third and into overtime, both teams had outstanding chances but McKay and Gillies were flawless. McKay did get some help on a tremendous stop by Curtis McKenzie as he flung himself in front of a wrap around attempt late in the third that should have given the Friars the lead while McKay was out of position.

Overall, this was a highly entertaining game with lots of end to end action. It will be interesting to see how Miami adjusts to the Providence pressure and what they do to get the big Friar goaltender moving side to side. Look for the RedHawks to let the puck do more of the work and I’d suspect a slower tempo tonight from Miami as I’d think they’d try to slow Providence in the neutral zone and make it more difficult for them to move the puck into the RedHawk end.

Tonight’s series finale is at 7:05pm. Expect to see Jay Williams in net tonight for Miami.

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Posted on October 20, 2012, in 2012-13 Weekend Recaps and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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