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Miami routs Michigan State 6-0

Connor Knapp made 27 saves and Jimmy Mullin notched four points as Miami defeated Michigan State 6-0 in the first game of their best-of-three series at Steve Cady Arena.

For Knapp, it was his fifth shutout of the season to set a new single-season career high, his second shutout of the Spartans this year and his 13th shutout overall which is a new Miami school record. Meanwhile, freshman forward Jimmy Mullin netted two goals and added two assists to set a career high in points in a single game. Mullin now has an impressive 25 points on the season (11-14-25) trailing only junior forward Reilly Smith (26-13-39) and freshman forward Austin Czarnik (9-22-31) for team leadership.

Mullin opened the scoring just :12 into the game as he banged home a loose puck behind MSU goaltender Will Yanakeff who allowed five goals on 26 shots including four in the second period when Miami broke the game open with two quick goals just :34 apart. Senior defenseman Chris Wideman joined the rush and scored just his second goal of the season and freshman forward Tyler Biggs netted his 9th on the year making the game 3-0 and enabling the RedHawks to relax and cruise to the 6-0 victory.

Miami entered tonight’s game 0-9 all-time against the Spartans in the CCHA playoffs but the two teams had never met in Oxford. Overall this season, Miami is 3-0 against MSU and has allowed just one goal against including Knapp’s two shutouts.

MSU head coach Tom Anastos had this to say after this evening’s game.

“This is a very good team, and I believe I said it earlier in the week – [Miami] is under-rated, offensively. Not that they scored six goals, but the really nice plays they made and the offensive pressure they are able to generate. I thought the first period was pretty good for us, but obviously the second period was a challenge. We just need to regroup and be ready to go on Saturday.” (source: MSUSpartans.com)

In addition to Mullin’s two tallies and Biggs’ and Wideman’s goals, Miami received offensive support from junior Curtis McKenzie (5th) and freshman Blake Coleman who scored his 12th on the season and has now scored a goal in three of his past four games. And, Miami has now won a season-high seven consecutive games and has vaulted up to a tie for fifth in the PairWise (as of 9:33pm MDT) as several games went Miami’s way in addition to the victory. For reference, they are also fourth in KRACH.

Game two is scheduled for 7:05pm EST at Steve Cady Arena and with the students still away on Spring Break, tickets should be available. If you can’t make the game, it will be available via Miami All-Access at MURedHawks.com with Greg Waddell and Drew Davis carrying the call.

Additional Coverage

USCHO.com

MURedHawks.com

MSUSpartans.com

TheMunnMinute.com

Lansing State Journal

Dayton Daily News

 Around the CCHA

Bowling Green defeated Ferris State 3-2 in overtime (BG leads series 1-0) – Huge win for the Falcons and head coach Chris Bergeron

Michigan defeated Notre Dame 2-1 in overtime (Michigan leads series 1-0) – Chris Brown notched the game-winner

Western Michigan defeated Lake Superior 4-2 (WMU leads series 1-0) – Broncos cruised to a victory behind freshman goaltender Frank Slubowski

Bowling Green eliminates Northern Michigan, advances to second round

Congratulations to Chris Bergeron and the Bowling Green State University Falcons who earlier tonight defeated the Northern Michigan Wildcats 4-1 to win their CCHA first round series two games to one. The Falcons got five goals and seven points from freshman Dan DeSalvo and dominated the series from the midway point Saturday right through tonight’s game. The Falcons will next take on Ferris State in Big Rapids, Mich. in another best-of-three weekend series March 9-11.

With the Bowling Green upset, the CCHA playoffs reset to look like this.

#1 Ferris State v. #8 Bowling Green

#2 Michigan v. #7 Notre Dame

#3 Western Michigan v. #6 Lake Superior

#4 Miami v. #5 Michigan State

That Michigan/Notre Dame matchup could be fantastic, and regardless, means that only one of those two will make it to Joe Louis Arena in two weeks. If the top seeds prevail, it would mean that Miami would face Ferris State in one semi-final and Michigan and Western Michigan would duke it out at the Joe for the second time in two years. Of course, the Broncos upset Michigan last year before falling to Miami in the CCHA Championship game when the RedHawks claimed their first ever Mason Cup.

We’ll have a playoff preview later this week, but frankly, Friday can’t get here soon enough.

CCHA Playoffs: Round One

It’s been a fairly boring weekend of playoff hockey in the first round of the CCHA playoffs with only the Bowling Green State University Falcons providing a bit of drama.

Beginning last season, when the CCHA contracted to 11 teams after the loss of UNO to the WCHA, the top five teams in the regular season standings receive a bye in the first round meaning there are three first round best-of-three playoff series at campus sites.

On Friday, all higher seeds held serve at home as Northern Michigan defeated Bowling Green, Lake Superior topped Alaska and Notre Dame beat duhOSU.

And, on Saturday, Notre Dame finished off duhOSU while Lake sent Alaska back to Fairbanks with two-game sweeps.

However, in a rematch of last year’s 6 vs. 11 series that saw Bowling Green upset Northern Michigan 2 games to 1, the Falcons appear to be staging that same first round drama as they beat the Wildcats 5-3 last night to force a third and deciding game despite trailing 3-1 in the second period. Former Miami captain and assistant coach, Chris Bergeron’s, team has been a thorn in the side of NMU and are hoping to reach the second round of the CCHA playoffs for the second consecutive year after a last place regular season finish.

If Bowling Green pulls off the upset and advances, here’s how the second round match-ups would play out. The teams are re-seeded after each round.

#4 Miami v. #5 Michigan State

#3 Western Michigan v. #6 Lake Superior

#2 Michigan v. #7 Notre Dame

#1 Ferris State v. #8 Bowling Green

If Northern Michigan pulls it together and staves off the Falcons, you’ll see these match-ups.

#4 Miami v. #5 Michigan State

#3 Western Michigan v. #6 Northern Michigan

#2 Michigan v. #7 Lake Superior

#1 Ferris State v. #8 Notre Dame

I don’t know about you, but I’d like to see Chris Bergeron do it again and advance to the second round where they’d have a real shot at knocking off #1 seed Ferris State. I’d also LOVE to see Notre Dame and Michigan in the second round meaning one of those two teams would not make it to the Joe. Plus, I think it would be a great series with the Irish possessing the talent to take two of three from the Wolverines at Yost. A Lake/Michigan series would greatly favor the Wolverines and I’d expect a sweep.

We’ll update the match-ups after tonight’s game. The Falcons and Wildcats face off in a winner-take-all decisive game at 7:35pm EST at the Berry Events Center in Marquette, Mich.