Louis scores 2 as Miami dumps W. Michigan
Anthony Louis scored the first goal of the game and his team’s last one – which came in highlight-reel fashion – and that plenty of offense for Miami.
The junior forward recorded a pair of goals, giving him three in two games and six in his last nine, as the RedHawks beat Western Michigan, 4-1 at Lawson Ice Arena on Friday.
It was the fourth straight road win for Miami (13-13-3), which surged to the .500 mark for the first time since Oct. 30.
The RedHawks took the early lead when freshman forward Josh Melnick stole a puck in the neutral zone and lifted it ahead to Louis, who skated in and whipped a shot by goalie Lukas Hafner just 4:26 into the game.
With 2:42 left in the opening stanza, senior forward Kevin Morris banged home a loose puck off of a shot by sophomore defenseman Scott Dornbrock on the power play to make it 2-0.
Miami extended its lead to three when sophomore defenseman Louie Belpedio, who had his intitial pass attempt blocked, fed one to freshman forward Kiefer Sherwood, who roofed it from the side of the net 3:01 into the middle frame.
Louis came in from the right wing, was held as he approached the net and still was able to lift a shot over Hafner for the RedHawks’ fourth goal 1:06 into the third period.
The marker was highlighted by ESPN anchor John Buccigross on Twitter. It was just the second multiple-goal game for a Miami player this season.
Sophomore forward Conor Lemirande recorded a hat trick for the RedHawks on Jan. 23 at Nebraska-Omaha.
Just 33 seconds away from a shutout, Western Michigan (7-19-3) scored on a shot from Aaron Hadley that trickled past Miami senior goalie Jay Williams.
Williams stopped 27 shots to record the win. He did not have a victory this season in calendar year 2015 but has eight already in 2016 and 44 for his career, two away from tying Connor Knapp for fourth place on the team’s all-time leaderboard.
Sherwood has scored in three straight games, and Melnick has picked up a point in nine of 10. Senior forward Sean Kuraly picked up an assist to give him 13 points in nine games.
Parlayed with losses by Nebraska-Omaha and Minnesota-Duluth, the RedHawks’ third straight win moved them into a tie for fourth place with both of those teams in the NCHC standings with 25 points apiece.
There was more good news for Miami, which surged to 15th in the PairWise rankings. It will probably take a final ranking of 13 or 14 to ensure a trip to the NCAA Tournament via an at-large bid, coupled with a winning percentage of .500 or better, but the RedHawks were as low as the high 30s earlier this season.
The teams wrap up the weekend series at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday. Miami returns home to host last-place Colorado College next weekend in Cady Arena’s final games this regular season.