Miami scores 7, sweeps UNO
Miami took out a half season of offensive frustrations on Nebraska-Omaha.
The RedHawks, who had not scored more than four goals in any game this season, struck for six in the second period alone in a 7-3 win over the No. 7 Mavericks at Baxter Arena on Saturday, completing a series sweep.
That extended MU’s winning streak to three games. Miami beat UNO, 3-1 on Friday following a 2-1 victory vs. Bowling Green last weekend. The RedHawks have lost just one of their last six games (4-1-1).
Sophomore forward Conor Lemirande, who had netted one career goal entering this contest, recorded the first Miami hat trick of the season.
Miami opened the scoring when senior forward Andrew Schmit passed a puck off the boards behind the net, and the carom came to Lemirande, who buried it from the side of the net with 4:02 left in the first period.
The net seemed to double in size once the middle stanza began.
Senior center Sean Kuraly centered a puck from along the boards to classmate and forward Kevin Morris, who one-timed one home from the slot 42 seconds into that frame.
Kuraly made it 3-0 just over two minutes later when he slammed home a one-touch pass from Morris at the inside edge of the faceoff circle.
The Mavericks cut the lead to two when Ryan Galt played a puck on net, and when RedHawks senior goalie Jay Williams did not handle it cleanly, Mason Morelli jammed it home with 11:54 left in the period.
Lemirande answered, taking a pass from senior forward Alex Gacek from the corner and beating UNO goalie Kirk Thompson on the stick side midway through the period.
Lemirande completed his hat trick with 6:58 to play in the frame, tipping home a Schmit shot from the blue line to give Miami a 5-1 lead.
The RedHawks would add two more tallies in the next three minutes. Junior forward Anthony Louis ripped a cross-crease pass from Kuraly past Thompson, and Kuraly set up a goal by forward Zach LaValle.
Kuraly slid a pass from behind the net to the wide-open freshman in the shot, and LaValle wired it past Thompson on the blocker side to cap off Miami’s scoring.
Nebraska-Omaha did add a pair of scores on slap shots from the blue line to cut the final deficit to four.
It was the first six-goal period for Miami since Feb. 26, 2010 vs. Ohio State.
Kuraly finished with a career-best four points (1-3-4), and his three assists tied a career high.
Lemirande became the only active RedHawk with a hat trick in his career. This season, no one on the team had scored more than one goal in any game.
In its last six games, Miami has scored 18 second-period goals vs. UNO, including 12 in its last four. The last time the RedHawks netted at least seven goals in a game was Dec. 5, 2014 vs. Nebraska-Omaha in Oxford.
Lemirande now has six career points, with four coming against the Mavericks.
LaValle finished with a goal and two assists, Morris notched a marker and an assist and Schmit ended the night with a pair of helpers.
LaValle had never recorded more than one point in a game, and it was the second career two-point tilt for Schmit.
With the three points on Saturday and six for the weekend, MU vaulted Western Michigan and moved into a tie for fifth with UNO at 16 points in the NCHC standings. The RedHawks also improved to 20th in the PairWise rankings.
Miami opens a four-game homestand with a two-game series vs. Denver on Jan. 29-30.