Late goal lifts Miami over No. 7 UNO
Miami’s power play could not have picked a better time to break out of its funk.
Senior defenseman Matthew Caito ripped home the decisive goal late in the third period as the RedHawks took down No. 7 Nebraska-Omaha, 3-1 at Baxter Arena on Friday.
The win snapped a seven-game road losing streak for Miami and vaulted the RedHawks into a tie for 23rd in the PairWise rankings, which determine qualifying for the NCAA Tournament.
There was no flow in a first period that ended scoreless.
Early in the second period, Miami freshman forward Zach LaValle appeared to open the scoring with a behind-the-back backhand that slid into the net. It was ruled a goal on the ice but was reversed by the officials, claiming LaValle interfered with the goaltender.
But the RedHawks (8-11-3) kept the pressure on, and classmate and fellow forward Kiefer Sherwood bounced off a defender, seized the puck and whipped a wrister home from the slot after skating in from along the boards with 6:13 left in the middle frame.
The Mavericks (15-7-1) tied it 3:32 into the third period when a wide-open Austin Ortega ripped a one-timer into the net off a pass through the crease.
Miami junior forward Anthony Louis won a battle along the boards with a strong stick, skated to the side of the net and threaded a pass through the slot to the top of the opposite faceoff circle, where Caito blasted the go-ahead goal into the top of the net with 2:03 left.
Senior forward Kevin Morris added an empty netter with 27 seconds remaining to cap the scoring.
Caito finished with a goal and an assists, and senior goalie Jay Williams stopped 27 shots, including a grade-A chance on a one-timer from point-blank range, to earn his third straight win and the RedHawks’ second overall as well.
Louis now has four points in his last three games (1-3-4), and freshman Josh Melnick also has a three-game point streak, picking up a helper in each.
MU entered this game 1-for-20 in its last eight games on the man advantage.
The RedHawks moved to within a point of Western Michigan for sixth place in the NCHC standings and are three back of the Mavericks, meaning Miami could catch UNO with a win in Game 2 of the road set.
The teams wrap up the series in Omaha at 8:07 p.m. on Saturday.