OXFORD, Ohio – Jay Williams’ career at Miami already had to be considered a successful one through his first three seasons.
He played a major role in the RedHawks’ regular season championship in the final year of the CCHA his freshman campaign, and he led Miami to an NCHC Tournament title in 2014-15.
But Williams allowed seven goals vs. Providence in this season’s opener before being pulled in the third period, miring him with an 8.70 goals-against average, and he saw action in just two more games the next three months.
As a result, Williams used Christmas break to reevaluate his priorities.
“It was certainly frustrating,” Williams said. “I think that Christmas break came at a really good time for me personally this year just to kind of get away from it and to get home and spend some time with my family. I had the approach that was going to come (back) and regardless of what happened with playing – I figured my hockey career will be over after this year anyway, and I’ll move on – so if I have three months left of doing this with a group of guys that I love, I’m just going to enjoy every day and try to get better and try to make the most of it because you don’t get these days back.”
Due to an on-ice blow up and subsequent suspension of senior goalie Ryan McKay – who played nearly every minute of the first half this season – Williams was relegated into full-time starter mode and has been in net for all but 39 minutes since.
And Miami and Williams have thrived with him between the pipes.
Despite being swept by Minnesota-Duluth last weekend, Miami is 9-5 in its last 14 games as it recovered from a 5-10-1 start, and in the team’s final home series of this regular season, Williams became the first goalie in RedHawks history to shut a team out in a two-game weekend series.
“Jay’s our guy – he’s been playing awesome,” senior forward and captain Sean Kuraly said. “We expect a lot from Jay. He’s good in practice, he’s a highly-touted kid, and just a really good teammate is a reason why the team is doing well.”
Williams is from McLean, Va., right across the border from Washington D.C. The mid-Atlantic region is not known for producing significant hockey talent, but Williams went to a Washington Capitals game on his eighth birthday and has been a rink rat since.
“I was hooked,” Williams said. “The next day, I found an old pair of rollerblades and a make-shift stick and a crushed Coke can and kind of never looked back from there.”
Williams said as badly as he wanted to play hockey, his mother, Rosie, made him take skating lessons for a year before playing competitively.
“She was like, you’re not playing hockey until you learn how to skate,” Williams said. “At the time I was miserable, but obviously looking back on it I feel like it’s something that’s helped me.”
Soon after he started playing, Williams said he was given a book on goaltending and he was fascinated with the equipment. But he had to sell his parents on the concept.
Finally they caved.
With goalie pads being pricey and kids growing out of their equipment on an annual basis, his parents wanted to trade in his first set for bigger pads, but Williams wouldn’t let them.
He told them that they would end up in the hockey Hall of Fame.
“I was dreaming big when I was nine years old – I had high aspirations,” Williams said. “I think they’re still somewhere (around the house). I don’t think they’ll going to quite make it to the Hall of Fame, but there will definitely be some sentimental value there. They’ll definitely be something that I keep around for the rest of my life.”
In 2009, Williams was 15 and had never attended a collegiate game.
His first one? Miami’s NCAA national championship game at the nearby Verizon Center, during which the RedHawks surrendered two goals in the final minute and another in overtime to lose, 4-3 in ultra-dramatic fashion.
And yet Williams still ultimately chose Oxford.
“For whatever reason, I was really pulling for them there, and the following summer I was in a goalie camp with Cody Reichard and Connor Knapp, and I got to skate with them and be with them,” Williams said. “And then the USA Hockey camp with Trags (assistant coach Nick Petraglia). It was the first visit I came on and I kind of fell in love right away, and I felt a strong connection and a bond. Everywhere else I went I was kind of comparing it to here. They offered and I knew right away this is where I wanted to go – I’m just fortunate that it worked out.”
His juniors experience was turbulent. Selected third overall in the USHL Futures draft at age 15, Williams went 7-10-2 with a mercurial 3.49 goals-against average and an .891 save percentage with Waterloo his first season.
In 2011-12 he was 11-5-4, 2.62 and .904 but was traded to last-place Sioux Falls at the deadline. He finished 2-8-2, 3.78 and .882 in 12 games there.
“Looking back on it, it’s certainly not how you would’ve wanted it to go, it wasn’t ideal,” Williams said. “First year, kind of up and down, adjusting, and then my second year started out great and kind of fizzled. Sioux Falls, who at the time were in last place, (was) a team that wasn’t in a great spot and a lot of guys had kind of packed it in. You learn from it all and I believe everything happens for a reason, and I guess I wouldn’t change anything.”
Senior forward Alex Gacek knew Williams from when the two played in New England prep schools, and along with senior defenseman Matthew Caito, the trio immediately bonded upon arriving in Oxford.
“Both of those guys have made my transition here real easy,” Gacek said. “I talked about how nervous I was coming in, and they really softened everything up and helped me mature as well.”
Gacek and Williams also shared a not-so-memorable juniors experience. Gacek was thriving before blowing his knee out, and then he was rushed back, stunting his recovery.
“We were in kind of similar situations coming into school,” Gacek said. “(We) needed help building our confidence and just our mental state. He’s worked really hard at it, and I think now it’s showing up in his play and how he carries himself on and off the ice.”
Williams averaged just 26 games and logged fewer than 3,000 minutes in two full seasons in the USHL.
Then he headed to Oxford along with McKay, who had won Goalie of the Year with Green Bay his final season in that league as he led his team to a regular season title and a Clark Cup, the USHL’s championship trophy.
The pair rotated the first couple of weeks, but when McKay was injured in a game at Michigan, Williams shifted to a full-time role.
He beat the Wolverines the next night and won five of eight before McKay returned.
Williams and McKay alternated much of the season, and Williams tallied a 12-5-3 record, a 1.94 GAA and .924 save percentage in his rookie campaign.
“(The coaches) always said they want to have two guys that they can depend on, and two guys that can play – they had years where they rotated Connor and Cody up until the Frozen Four,” Williams said. “Certainly (McKay) had won just about everything you can win. He was incredible through juniors – he’s still incredible, he’s the best goalie I’ve ever been on a team with and had the opportunity to work with, day in and day out – but I just kind tried to come in, work hard, keep my head down and when I got the opportunity to play, do the best I can to give my team the chance to win.”
The RedHawks also won the final CCHA regular season title in 2012-13.
“There’s something special about that because it’s such a large body of work that goes into it to win that,” Williams said. “With the group of guys that we had, we kind of had the underdog mentality going in because we had such a large freshman class, and nobody really gave us a chance. To be able to win that championship, win a ring in my first year at school, and feel like I was able to contribute a good amount to it, it was certainly exciting and that group of guys you’ll remember forever, you share that bond.”
Sophomore year was forgettable for Miami overall, including the goalies. Williams recorded a 5-7 record, and his GAA and save percentage reverted to 3.30 and .882, respectively.
“Sophomore year, it was tough,” Williams said. “You learn a lot during those tough years about preparation, and really just the competition from Year 1 to Year 2. No disrespect at all to the teams we played the first year, but the NCHC with six teams in the national tournament, there’s no weekend you can take for granted. There’s so much parity and the margin for error is so, so small. A bad goal, a bad mistake, you used to be able to outscore that, and now you can’t.”
But he was rejuvenated in 2014-15, notching a 19-8 record and allowing just 2.04 goals per game, and his save percentage ended up at .917.
Williams was also in net for the stretch run, including the semifinal and final wins in the NCHC Frozen Faceoff, as Miami won its first tournament title in the newly-formed conference.
And his five shutouts that season tied him with Knapp and Reichard for the school’s single-season record.
“Last year, again, was a special year because we were able to win a championship with those guys,” Williams said. “Especially with the senior class that my whole class was close with for three years because they were such a large part of the team. It was cool to send them out like that and to be a part of it.”
This year, Williams is 10-7-1 with a 2.41 GAA, .909 save percentage and a pair of shutouts. But heading into the break, he had a 5.35 goals-against average and a save percentage of just .812 to accompany an 0-2 record.
Since? He’s 10-5-1, 1.97 and .924.
“You can see now that he’s calm, cool and collected, and now that he’s got his confidence behind him, there’s no doubt that he’s one of the best goalies in the country, and he’s playing like it right now,” Gacek said. “It’s been great to watch. That’s what the big thing about The Brotherhood is, is that you get to see not only yourself grow but everyone else on the team, and Jay’s a perfect example of that.”
Williams will leave Miami with his name etched in several places on the team’s career leaders list. His 46 wins and nine shutouts both tie him for fourth all-time, he is fourth in GAA (2.32) and sixth in save percentage (.910).
“The biggest thing I look at as a goalie is trying to help your team win games and to win championships, and I think to say that you were part of two championship teams in four years is something that not a lot of guys can say,” Williams said. “It’s a testament to the rest of the guys and the coaching staff and the work that we’ve put in throughout the week and the summer and the off-season. If you told me this is where I’d be, I’d be thrilled with that, freshman year.”
But there’s more to Williams than just his statistics. His enthusiasm on the ice rubs off on his teammates, and even when he’s on the bench he’s one of the first to congratulate fellow players.
“I think we embody a little bit of that when he’s in the net,” Kuraly said. “He brings such energy and enthusiasm every day, but especially you can see it on game days. Definitely something the team feeds off of.”
His postgame celebrations are legendary, as he seems to have a secret greeting for each player that meets him in front of the crease after wins.
“Almost everyone on the team has a handshake with him or a little saying that they say, so he’s a spark plug for us, even though he’s a goalie – usually it’s a little different, it’s a (skater) – but Jay’s a great team guy that we need, and our success is really pivoted around him, going forward,” Gacek said.
Off the ice, Williams appears a bit too normal for a goalie, but Gacek can attest that he does possess some of those strange netminder attributes.
“Jay can be quirky at times, he can be serious at times – whatever the situation calls for, he can adapt to it,” Gacek said. “That’s why I think he’s one of the big favorites in the locker room.
“He’s a character. Jay’s the type of kid that you could go to about anything. If it’s serious or if you need someone to pick you up, he’s the one to do it. He’s a real personable guy and he’s definitely one of my best friends. I love him to death and he’s just a great all-around guy.”
He will also depart Oxford with a degree in finance this spring. Williams was named to the NCHC All-Academic Team last month with a 3.38 GPA.
He will look into playing professionally after this season but is currently focused on enjoying his waning days at Miami.
Whether he goes pro in hockey or the business field after this season, he has set a high bar for the incoming freshmen goalies in 2016-17, both on and off the ice, and Williams has loved every minute he’s spent in Oxford.
“It’s been everything you could ask for in a college experience,” Williams said. “Everywhere you go, recruiting visits, they try to sell the program, sell the experience, sell everything, but to just hear from all of the older guys and all of the alumni who’ve played here how special the four years are. Even some of our worst, darkest moments in four years are things we’re able to laugh about now with the staff and the guys. We always joke about how we got thumped – 9-2 at North Dakota my sophomore year – that they ran out of fireworks in the third period, so even something like that is something you can laugh about. Just the whole experience: The friends I’ve made, the relationships I have, the opportunity to play against the best teams in the country and to have some success as well as develop in the classroom, it’s been incredible.”
OXFORD, Ohio – A movie could be made about this season, and it could be better than most sports flicks in recent history.
Hey, they’re making one about John Scott, aren’t they?
Miami shut out Colorado College, 4-0 at Cady Arena on Saturday to complete a series sweep of the Tigers on Senior Night and the final regular season home game of a number of players’ careers.
Need a solid plot?
A team that didn’t have enough offensive weapons (at least at the beginning of the year) takes on one of the toughest schedules in Division I and fails early – almost catastrophically so – posting a 5-9-2 first half, with the final two games being a pair of losses against one of the worst teams in college hockey in the Tigers.
The team is in utter turmoil, both on and off the ice, heading into Christmas break.
Then it seemingly gets worse as senior goalie Ryan McKay, who has had a stellar career in Oxford, is suspended indefinitely for an outburst as he leaves the ice.
That leaves the netminding reins to Jay Williams, who couldn’t get a starting gig in the USHL and has had to share the cage with McKay for almost all of four years.
Including 2015-16, when Williams was left in to allow seven goals in the season opener and then benched for almost the remainder of the calendar year, not picking up his first win until Jan. 3.
Following the GoalieGate loss, the team was 6-11-3.
The team has gone 9-3 since and somehow gotten itself into NCAA Tournament contention, capping its home slate with a pair of wins over Colorado College, the same team that Miami couldn’t beat in December.
The finale is played in front of one of the best Cady Arena crowds in recent history.
How about Anthony Louis scoring with two seconds left to send Miami to a 2-1 win over Bowling Green?
Or a come-from-behind win against top-10 St. Cloud State in an action-packed 3-2 win at Cady Arena?
Or another key road win at BGSU after trailing 1-0 after the first period?
Or a beloved usher and huge Miami hockey fan suffering from Stage 4 cancer, coming back for that final home game in what was one of the most emotionally-powerful moments in recent memory in the northeast corner of Cady Arena?
We’ve got the characters too, most notably seniors playing their final games with the RedHawks, and all at the top of their game.
There’s Williams, who was never considered good enough to start for any of his juniors teams, posting a sub-2.00 goals-against average since taking over in net exclusively.
He set two school records in that home finale, one for being the first goalie to post a double shutout in a weekend, another for longest consecutive shutout streak at nearly 150 minutes.
And believe us, his story is actually even better than that.
Insert shameless self-promotion: BoB has a feature coming out about Williams in a couple of days.
How about Taylor Richart, the bust-your-hind-quarters defenseman you just can’t help but love? At 5-feet-9 he had earn a spot on an NAHL roster and then a USHL roster before coming to Miami, where he had to overtake several other more highly-touted blueliners to crack the lineup every night and gets beat up like a pinata on a game-by-game basis.
He can seeming do everything on the ice and has elevated his game more than just about anyone in his four years, but he simply hasn’t been a scorer in college.
Richart had one goal in 127 games prior to this weekend. All his did in his final two regular season home games is find the net in both and earn a first star in one contest and second in the other.
Rudy has nothing on Richart.
Or Sean Kuraly? The big power forward who is the son of Miami’s all-time leading sniper notched 19 goals last season but couldn’t find the net with a GPS the first half of 2015-16. After bearing the weight on the world on his shoulders, he had some of his captaincy duties whittled away so he could concentrate on making awesome happen on the ice again.
It’s safe to say he has, tallying 15 points in 12 games and anchoring the Columbus line comprised of the wily veteran and a pair of super-talented freshmen in Kiefer Sherwood and Jack Roslovic.
We can’t forget Alex Gacek who tore his patellar tendon off the bone prior to his Miami career, and how it took years for him to regain his confidence. It’s not even debatable that he is playing the best hockey of his career.
Same goes for Kevin Morris, the super-smart son of an AHL coach who has a 3.6 GPA and has posted six goals in 11 games after finding the net just eight times in his previous 96 contests.
Same goes for Chris Joyaux, who has been so steady on the blueline since joining the team in the fall of 2012.
Same goes for transfer Andrew Schmit, who has gotten to play with his cousin, Conor Lemirande, forming the Crash Cousins line. He is one of the team’s most punishing hitters in recent history but has just eight penalty minutes in 2015-16.
And there’s Michael Mooney, who works so hard when he does get in the lineup and has saved this team’s bacon when it had battled injury woes with his ability to move into any position.
Matthew Caito wasn’t able to play on senior night, coincidentally missing just the second and third games of his Miami career, making the double shutout even more impressive.
It’s unlikely his season is over, and one of the steadiest two-way defenseman to dress for this team since Andy Greene must return for the RedHawks to have any realistic chance at an NCAA run.
BoB won’t forget McKay, whose .917 career save percentage is the fourth-best in school history, and his 1.39 goals-against average as a freshman is easily the best of any goalie to don the pads in Oxford.
Don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes here and not trying to take a side for that reason or stir anything up, but it’s shame how his Miami career has likely ended, without the benefit of taking a victory lap for his final regular season home game.
Good luck topping that, Hollywood.
Kuraly said at intermission on Saturday that this class hopefully has a couple more memories to make before its players go their separate ways to pursue their dreams, both on and off the ice.
The way this big screen-worthy regular season has gone, fans have to feel like the script has several more scenes to be written.
Even if that’s not the case, it’s been an Oscar-worthy story that’s played out the past couple of months.
– For five periods this weekend, Miami played decent hockey, good enough to outscore CC. The RedHawks finally got it right in the sixth and final frame, scoring three unanswered goals on 22 shots, as the puck seemed to spend half of that stanza in the Colorado College goal crease. A plus-7 goal differential is great, but a more skilled team would’ve buried some of its ample chances this weekend.
– A night after racking up nearly 14 minutes of power play time vs. 93 seconds for Miami, it’s mind blowing that Colorado College took 14 minutes in first-period penalties for dust-ups with officials, including contact with a linesman.
– It was listed at 3,155, but the crowd at Cady Arena on Saturday seemed larger and was certainly rocking, despite, well…OK…enough with the music bashing – it’s gotten a little better. If Miami does get back to Cady for a series against Minnesota-Duluth, we will need loud fans at the game. Forget spring break…doesn’t having the campus and the Oxford bars to yourselves with a best-of-3 hockey series sound more appealing?
– Miami graduate Nick Brunker did play-by-play for this game and was fantastic, to the surprise of no one who has ever heard his broadcasts. Few have worked harder to advance their broadcast media careers, as Brunker actually got kicked out of the press box of a Cincinnati Mighty Ducks game as a high school student for trying to perfect his craft and record his own calls when there wasn’t ample room, and he later excelled as the PxP guy for the Cincinnati Cyclones.
FORWARDS: A. Zach Lavalle won a battle along the boards that ultimately led to Richart’s goal, opening the scoring. Roslovic’s beautiful centering pass led to Morris’ laser one-time finish. Not sure if Kuraly intentionally tipped a pass to Sherwood for Goal No. 3 or if it was inadvertent – we’ll call it deliberate, we’re feeling generous – but what a play. Freshman Josh Melnick (this deep into a write-up this is really Melnick’s first reference?) won a boards battle to get the puck to neutral ice then stole a pass and fed it to Louis for the ENG. Lots of offensive positive here.
DEFENSEMEN: A-. Good work without it two-way leader in Caito. If we had to nitpick, this group did turn it over a couple of times early but seemed to tighten up late, even as Colorado College started taking more chances in the third period (thus the 10 shots in the final 20 minutes for CC). Richart not only scored, he gloved a puck down and shuffled it ahead quickly to Roslovic, leading to the Sherwood goal. Apparently there’s nothing Richart can’t do right now.
GOALTENDING: A. Not as many difficult saves for Williams as on Friday, but this is a weekend the senior will likely tell his grandchildren about. Fifth-five shots, 55 saves in 120 minutes, including 24 of 24 in this one. His rebound control was excellent again, and the TV color guy mentioned that as well. It’s only the third time a Miami goalie has posted back-to-back shutouts and the first time one has blanked a team twice in a weekend. Williams’ shutout streak is now 148:52, the longest in team history. Cody Reichard held the previous mark at 141:41. David Burleigh also posted back-to-back zeroes and went 136:05 between goals against.
LINEUP CHANGES: It was the same 19 as Friday for the RedHawks. Caito, Schmit and Loe missed their second straight games, while Colin Sullivan, Mooney and Ryan Siroky dressed for the second consecutive night.
OXFORD, Ohio – Playing in his final Miami regular season home game, Jay Williams made sure his name would be imprinted in the team record book.
The senior goalie stopped all 24 shots he faced to complete a double shutout weekend and series sweep as the RedHawks beat Colorado College, 4-0 on Saturday.
Williams became the first Miami goalie ever to blank an opponent in both ends of a weekend series, and he also set the team mark for longest consecutive scoreless streak at 148:52, edging out Cody Reichard by over seven minutes.
Williams also moved into a tie with Connor Knapp for fourth on the school wins leaderboard with 46, and he is now even with Ryan McKay for fourth place with nine shutouts.
The game was scoreless until the second period, when a wrister by senior defenseman Taylor Richart beat Tigers goalie Tyler Marble with 6:56 left in that frame.
It remained 1-0 until senior forward Kevin Morris whipped a shot into the bottom corner of the net from the slot on the power play with 8:56 left in regulation.
Just 1:27 later, freshman forward Kiefer Sherwood backhanded a shot that slid under Marble’s pads to extend the RedHawks’ lead to three.
A fraction of a second before the final horn, junior forward Anthony Louis punched in an empty goal to cap the scoring.
Freshmen forwards Josh Melnick and Jack Roslovic led Miami in points with a pair each, both on assists. Melnick wrapped up the weekend with a goal and three helpers, giving him 13 points in his last 13 games.
Sherwood scored his sixth goal in eight games and extended his points streak to a team-best six games, and Morris recorded his third marker in his last four.
MU avenged its earlier two losses at Colorado College (6-25-1), as the teams finished the regular season 2-2 against each other.
The RedHawks have won five of their last six and are 9-3 in their last 12, moving above .500 for the first time since Oct. 24 when they were 3-2-1 before a loss to St. Lawrence.
Miami (15-14-3) remains tied for fourth in the conference standings with Minnesota-Duluth, which swept St. Cloud State on the road this weekend. The RedHawks and UMD play each other next weekend in Duluth to wrap up the regular season, and they will almost certainly meet again the following week in the first round of the NCHC Tournament.
Next week’s series will determine which team is home for the best-of-3 NCHC opener, with Miami needing a winning record on the weekend to send it to Cady Arena.
With the win, the RedHawks moved up to 18th in the PairWise rankings.
Miami’s games at Minnesota-Duluth will be Friday and Saturday, with both starting at 8:07 p.m.
OXFORD, Ohio – Somehow Miami managed to score twice on special teams despite having just 1:33 of power play time vs. 13:49 for Colorado College.
Those goals propelled the RedHawks to a 3-0 win over the Tigers on Friday, their second shutout of the season and the first of 2015-16 for senior Jay Williams.
A defining moment for Miami (14-14-3) came midway through the third period, when junior forward Anthony Louis was assessed an interference major and game misconduct.
Teemu Kivihalme was also given a minor on the ensuing skirmish, setting up a 4-on-4. But senior defenseman Chris Joyaux went to the box for slashing 49 seconds later, setting up a 4-on-3 for 1:11 followed by a 5-on-3 for 49 seconds.
Nine of Colorado College’s shots came during this sequence, and Williams stopped them all. MU was 7-for-7 on the PK and is second in Division I at 92.9 percent.
It was the second interference major of the game for Miami, as sophomore defenseman Scott Dornbrock was also sent off for that infraction in the second period.
RedHawks senior defenseman Scott Richart buried a shorthanded goal during that extended penalty kill.
By the way, Miami had taken one major penalty all season entering this game.
Not a fan of criticizing officiating, but it was brutal in this game.
For the power plays to be 7-2 favoring a less-skilled team including a pair of majors is lunacy for a Miami team that does not have a reputation for dirty play.
The RedHawks came into this weekend averaging 8.0 penalty minutes a game, in the bottom 10 in all of Division I.
They should’ve just called the Dornbrock penalty what it really was: A Hitting Too Hard Major.
Maybe it was interference. Maybe. As in: A minor penalty. But as someone who thinks interference should be called more in hockey, it’s something I watch for, and there were several better examples of that infraction both ways that could’ve been called prior to Dornbrock’s major.
Didn’t see Louis’ hit – it was along the boards. But when a player stays down for a minute and none of his teammates come to his rescue and the trainer watches him lay motionless it’s pretty safe to say he’s pandering for a call. Which he got.
Physicality isn’t a big part of Louis’ game, and the player he hit was twice his size.
For the record the interference major was introduced prior to 2014-15 as an option for officials if someone gets laid out away from the play, so from a rules standpoint it’s a valid call.
These specific examples didn’t rise to that definition though. We’re talking borderline minors, and the first one didn’t really even look like that.
In the third period it looked like the refs were going to swallow their whistles, as they led several would-be penalties against both teams go.
Then Conor Leminande, interference, 8:46? Yeah, OK.
Right after that expired the Louis debacle which could’ve been a game changer, and in a way it was, just not in favor of the team with the man advantage(s).
And that’s the bottom line: Miami turned a negative – miserable officiating – and made it a positive. Taylor Richart shorthanded goal, Jay Williams about 90 saves in the third period.
Miami did what a good team should do: Win even when things out of its control go against it.
– All of the above said, the RedHawks really didn’t play that well. Colorado College (6-24-1) only has one decent scorer – Hunter Fejes – and Miami did a good job of containing him. The Columbus line was very good but none of the others could get much going. The Tigers are allowing 35 shots per game and Miami finished with 26. Granted it doesn’t help when you’re shorthanded for a quarter of the game.
– Senior Matthew Caito was out of the lineup for the second time in his college career. He suffered an upper body injury last Saturday but looked fine when he was walking around before the game. Caito has played in 159 games and is nine away from cracking the top 10 on Miami’s career leaderboard. The RedHawks absolutely need him in the lineup for the NCHC Tournament.
– Coach Enrico Blasi almost took a tumble during the Louis skirmish, as he was leaning forward when the action came over the bench, knocking him back. Fortunately he caught himself before taking a potentially nasty spill.
– The UNO loss was nice on Friday but Minnesota-Duluth really needs to lose to St. Cloud State on Saturday. If UMD wins Miami would have to sweep in Duluth to earn home ice.
– Saturday’s game will be on DirecTV Ch. 608 in retina-burning standard def.
FORWARDS: C-. First line was solid, after that, comme ci comme ca. As mentioned, Colorado College is allowing 35 shots a game, and this corps just didn’t generate the type of chances it should have against the league doormat. Louis looked a step behind before being sent to the showers early. Kiefer Sherwood seemed to have picked up that speed Louis didn’t have, as the puck seemed to follow him all night. He’s proving absolutely deadly from the left side of the slot, where he buried his power play goal.
DEFENSEMEN: B-. This group seemed a little out of sorts without Caito in the lineup, as the pairings obviously had to be adjusted. Richart was outstanding, thriving in his PK role. Chris Joyaux had an outstanding first period but turned one over in the third for a breakaway and took a penalty trying to defend the player that stripped him. Louie Belpedio didn’t have a great game and may be suffering from the effects of playing in Europe over Christmas break. Colin Sullivan had one bad turnover but was solid otherwise.
GOALTENDING: A+. The easiest grade to give all season. Williams was simply unbelievable, especially under intense fire in the third period. The goalie’s best friends – the posts – helped him out a couple of times, and the net mysteriously came off its moorings multiple times to squelch scoring threats. Still not sure how he stopped a one-time shot from point-blank range in the final stanza, and Colorado College kept the puck alive and missed the empty net. Great game plus a little luck equals shutout.
LINEUP CHANGES: So Blasi shook things up a little up front. Michael Mooney played for the first time in 11 games, and Ryan Siroky also saw action after being scratched for three straight. Andrew Schmit sat for just the fifth time this season, and Devin Loe was also out after playing in four in a row. Sullivan was in for Caito on defense. Goalie Ryan McKay was not dressed for 11th straight contest.
OXFORD, Ohio – After a fairly light night the first 40 minutes, Jay Williams faced a shooting gallery in the third period.
Williams turned aside 18 shots in the final stanza and 31 total in Miami’s 3-0 shutout of Colorado College at Cady Arena on Friday.
It was Williams’ first shutout of the season and the eighth of the senior’s career, as he is in fifth place all-time on the school’s leaderboard.
The RedHawks had to kill seven power plays, including a pair of majors that included an extended 4-on-3 and 5-on-3.
Miami (14-14-3) scored one goal in each period and did so in three different ways – on the power play, at even strength and shorthanded.
Senior forward Sean Kuraly sent a one-time pass to freshman forward Kiefer Sherwood, who ripped a shot past Tigers goalie Jacob Nehama 8:40 into the first period.
After being assessed a major penalty, Miami senior defenseman Taylor Richart’s slap shot beat Nehama with 10:33 left in the middle period for the RedHawks’ first shorthanded goal of the season.
Freshman forward Josh Melnick sealed it by going top shelf from the slot with 1:32 remaining in regulation.
Williams faced a couple of high-percentage shots in the first two periods and several A-plus chances to close out the win.
Colorado College (6-24-1) was on the power play for 6:46 of the third period, with nearly two minutes coming while Miami had just three players on the ice. The Tigers had 13:49 of total power play time vs. 1:33 for the RedHawks.
Despite the lopsided man-advantage time, Miami finished 1-for-2 on the power play and 7 of 7 on the penalty kill plus a shorthanded goal.
Melnick led the RedHawks with two points on a goal and an assist, giving him 11 points in 12 games. Sherwood scored for the fifth time in Miami’s last seven contests.
For Richart, it was his second career goal in 128 games, with his other coming vs. Cornell on Dec. 29, 2014.
The RedHawks were in a three-way tie for fourth place in the NCHC entering Friday, and with Nebraska-Omaha losing, Miami is now tied with only Minnesota-Duluth for the final home spot in the conference tournament.
The RedHawks are now locked into a four, five or six seed.
Despite the win, Miami is in a four-way tie for 20th in the PairWise rankings.
Colorado College and Miami wrap up their weekend series at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday.
OXFORD, Ohio – Alex Gacek finished his first season of junior hockey with 33 goals in 40 games and won a league championship.
He had also been selected to represent the U.S. in the prestigious Five Nations Tournament prior to the start of that 2009-10 campaign.
But in the summer of 2010, at age 17, Gacek suffered a full patellar tear, ripping the ligament that connects the kneecap to the tibia completely off the bone.
Two years later, Gacek limped into Oxford a shell of that standout player.
But nearly 3 1/2 years later, he has become an all-around force, scoring and setting up goals, killing penalties, blowing past would-be defenders and laying out anyone that gets in his way.
“That really did a number on my confidence more than my skill,” Gacek said. “Coming here, these guys gave me a shot. I’ve worked with some great people, and they’ve really helped my confidence pull a 180.”
Gacek hails from Dracut, a Massachusetts town north of Lowell near the New Hampshire border.
As a child, he told his parents while watching a Bruins game that he wanted to learn how to skate and play hockey.
With pond hockey a regional institution in the area, Gacek’s father, Mark, built an outdoor rink for the family to enjoy in the winter.
“I will never forget some of the memories of being out there – late nights, early mornings – how much my parents and my sister have given to me.”
When he reached juniors age, Gacek was fortunate enough to join New Hampshire, a powerhouse that has won seven titles in the Eastern Junior Hockey League. The team was also within driving distance, so unlike many hockey players of that age, he did not have to move.
“It was a team very much like this team: Very tight-knit, we wanted each other to do well no matter what the circumstances were, and we won a championship,” Gacek said.
But that summer while working out, Gacek severely injured his knee. He tried to come back the following season but was ineffective.
He was rushed back into action, which actually delayed the overall recovery process.
Gacek still played in 41 USHL games in 2010-11 but he did not score a single goal and finished with just eight assists and a minus-18 rating.
Even after racking up 32 points in 57 games with USHL Youngstown in 2011-12, he was not the same player he was previously heading into his freshman season in Oxford.
A New Englander choosing Miami is somewhat of a rarity, since a large number of the Division I programs are in the northeast.
Gacek said most people growing up in his area wanted to play for Boston College or Boston University, but neither made an impression on him.
“I guess I was an oddball – I didn’t really know where I wanted to go,” Gacek said. “A scout and I started talking more and more, and I did some homework, but what really sold me was the concept of The Brotherhood. I’m a really big family guy and obviously this program prides itself on family, so it was an easy fit.”
One player Gacek already knew when he moved onto campus was senior goalie Jay Williams, whom he had befriended in juniors.
“I remember when we first got here, he had had a rough junior experience as well, and that was something we could bond over,” said Williams, who never was able to start consistently in the USHL. “But as soon as he got his confidence and kind of got his footing, he was able to get comfortable with the guys in the room and develop that trust and that bond. He’s not always necessarily on the stat sheet but the contributions he makes, night in and night out – penalty killing, defensive zone, even just generating offense, getting in on the forecheck and stuff – it’s invaluable to this team, and he’s been a big part of the success that we’ve had for four years.
“He’s one of my best friends in the whole world. I knew him when he first committed – before I had committed – and we were roommates together freshman year. He’s real quiet at first, comes across a little shy, but once he gets comfortable and opens up, he’s awesome.”
Just four games into his RedHawks career, Gacek scored his first goal at Michigan, tying the score at two early in the third period and sparking a three-goal outburst in the final frame as Miami won, 4-3.
Overall, Gacek was not a major points producer as a freshman or sophomore, going 3-4-7 both seasons in 73 games.
But junior year, Gacek turned into a complete player. He scored five goals, including two in a critical late league game vs. Denver, and tallied nine assists.
His defense also was noticeably improved, as he became a dependable penalty killer and solid shutdown forward.
“He’s learned the system, he’s one of the best guys in the system, and that’s what the PK is about – knowing the system and being able to execute,” senior forward and captain Sean Kuraly said. “He’s one of the best, if not the best.”
That surge in all aspects of play has continued in 2015-16. Gacek already has five goals and 10 assists for a career-best 15 points, and he leads the team by six in plus-minus with a rating of plus-11.
And he seems to have saved his best hockey for his final stretch run. Gacek has six points in his last 10 games.
“The knock on me prior to coming in was my defense,” Gacek said. “I really took that to heart, and I really bore down and focused on it, and I’m happy with my defensive game. I really enjoyed PK-ing now – our PK this year is outstanding, and thanks to coach (Brent) Brekke and coach (Enrico) Blasi, we owe them all the credit for sure.”
Gacek is one of the key penalty killing forwards on a unit that is second in all of Division I only to Yale at 92.4 percent.
“He’s the ultimate competitor, a warrior, he sacrifices his body – you see him blocking shots,” Williams said. “Plus, the speed he has, he’s able to put pressure on them and still track back and get back without getting out of position, sometimes force them into errant passes. Luckily, we’ve been pretty good on the PK this year and his is the first name on the list when we have a big penalty to kill, it’s Gace.”
In his four seasons, Gacek has been in the lineup for 143 of 149 games, missing just one since his freshman year and dressing in 92 straight contests.
“You guys can see it from the stands, he’s a top guy on this team,” Kuraly said. “Without him, we lose a lot up front, and in the locker room he’s a leader.”
He has 16 goals and 27 assists for 43 points and has been assessed just 42 penalty minutes. Gacek also has a career plus-11 rating.
“Coming here I obviously wasn’t a perfect player, so the guys here at Miami – the coaches in particular – have really helped me perfect my 200-foot game,” Gacek said. “Obviously I still have a lot of work to do, but from the time I came onto campus to now has been a great improvement.”
Throughout his career, NHL-caliber speed has been a trait Gacek has prided himself on. All four seasons in Oxford he has been one of the fastest skaters on the team.
“Those guys that are playing first line, he creates space for them and sometimes he can be a spark for us,” Kuraly said. “When guys aren’t feeling it he’s the guy that gets us going a lot of times.”
Despite being 5-feet-8, another attribute of Gacek’s is his hitting ability. Giving 20 or more pounds to most players in college hockey, he has taken on countless bigger players and often sends them flying.
“He’s a really strong kid – it’s really not a surprise to us,” Kuraly said. “He can lift just as much weight as anybody in the weight room. It’s a combination of speed and power, and he’s got both.”
Gacek weighs 180 pounds, which is impressive given his height.
“He’s a freak, he’s an animal,” Williams said. “You see him without his shirt on in the weight room, he’s just thick and he’s strong and he’s tough. Nicest kid in the world, best kid in the world but when it’s time to go, he’s got a mean streak to him and he’s not afraid of anyone or anything.”
Said Gacek: “I guess I’ve kind of got a mean streak in me – I’ve had it since I was little. My father said the bigger they are the harder they fall, so I kind of put all of my effort into it and try to separate the man from the puck is really my main goal whether they fall or not. I guess moreso they’re falling than not.”
Gacek would like to continue playing hockey after this season but ultimately wants to get his Masters degree in the business field after graduating this spring. He has a 3.43 grade-point average as a sports leadership and management.
He is interested in coaching when his playing days are over, and he said he has already picked a couple of coaches’ brains on the subject.
“He’s a tremendous kid, tremendous work ethic,” Williams said. “Obviously you can see the relentless mindset. Whether he continues to play or whatever he may do he’s going to be a successful person.”
But in the meantime, he is excited about the final weeks of his collegiate career, which will hopefully culminate in an NCAA Tournament berth for the third time in his four seasons.
“I really can’t thank everyone that’s part of this program enough,” Gacek said. “The Brotherhood is really something special. Definitely some of my favorite memories have been here, both on and off the ice. I owe this program to becoming who I am today. Just the growth and the life lessons that I’ve learned here have really helped me mature. I can’t believe my time here is coming to an end – it’s pretty bittersweet, but I really love this program.”
Is it too early to schedule watch?
Especially since we’re in the online world, the answer is a definite ‘no’.
Besides, there are only five games left in the regular season and all of them will be important for Miami, which beat Western Michigan, 4-1 at Lawson Ice Arena in Kalamazoo on Friday.
Thanks to that win, the RedHawks are currently in a three-way tie for fourth with Nebraska-Omaha and Minnesota-Duluth — both of whom lost on Friday — and that No. 4 spot is paramount if Miami wants to qualify for its 10th NCAA Tournament in 11 years.
As opposed to missing it for the second time in three seasons.
Here’s why this race is so important…
North Dakota and St. Cloud have run away with the top two spots. The RedHawks can’t even mathematically catch either team.
And Denver is a win away from securing a top-three spot, so the 1-3 seeds are off the table for Miami, unless it wins out and the Pioneers lose out. Which is not realistic.
That leaves the fourth spot as the last remaining one for home-ice advantage in the first round of the NCHC Tournament.
To round out the field, Western Michigan – especially after the RedHawks’ win on Friday – and Colorado College are virtually locked into the bottom two spots.
Meaning Miami will battle UMD and UNO for the four, five and six seeds.
Six plays the third-place finisher between UND, St. Cloud and Denver on the road. No thanks.
Five travels to the winner of this three-team cluster. In other words, it plays the hottest team of these three on the road. Again, nah.
In the scenario in which the RedHawks finish fifth or sixth, they will likely not have the wins necessary to keep an at-large possibility alive, which is why the next 15 days are so important.
The good news is that Miami is playing its best hockey of the season. More good news is that the other two teams the RedHawks are battling for that coveted home-ice spot face tougher remaining slates.
UMD is at North Dakota again on Saturday after losing to UND in overtime on Friday, then it travels to second-place St. Cloud State for a pair of games next week before capping its regular season by hosting Miami.
UNO hosts St. Cloud on Saturday after falling to SCSU, 4-1 on Friday. The Mavericks wrap up their regular season with two against North Dakota at home and a pair at Denver.
Miami is at seventh-place WMU for one more on Saturday, hosts last-place Colorado College next week and finishes with a series at Minnesota-Duluth. Those opponents are a combined 24-54-9.
And if the RedHawks can’t put up a good showing in this stretch run, they don’t deserve NCAA consideration anyway.
Winning three of its final five would be just OK for Miami and would probably hurt its PairWise. Taking four would be preferable, and running the table would be ideal.
A losing record in this span would be devastating and would likely result in a road trip for a best-of-3 and then having to at minimum advance to Minneapolis for a shot at an NCAA berth.
– Anthony Louis scored his eighth and ninth goals of the season on Friday. We’ve mentioned his second-half surges before but haven’t thoroughly evaluated.
This is Louis’ third season with Miami, and he has 10 goals in 52 games in October, November and December and 20 in 55 contests in January and beyond.
In terms of points, Louis has recorded 32 of his points before New Year’s and 50 after, or an average of 0.62 vs. 0.95.
And he has been clutch in the postseason, recording 13 points in 11 games in the NCHC and NCAA Tournaments, including six goals.
– This was the 29th game of Miami’s season and the first time the RedHawks have scored multiple goals in the first period. They had just 12 markers in the first 28 opening frames this season.
– Jay Williams stopped 27 of 28 shots to earn the win in this game and has been a rock since taking over following GoalieGate. Williams is 7-2 with a 2.11 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage in the nine-plus games since, and that’s with two five-goal games, with both featuring multiple tallies he had zero chance on.
– Jack Roslovic and Josh Melnick combined for just one assist on Friday but were still integral to the team’s scoring. Roslovic would’ve gotten third assists for two of the goals, and Melnick’s helper was the direct result of him stealing a puck at center ice and lifting it ahead to Louis, who did his thing to make it 1-0. Roslovic also just missed a goal at the end of the second period, so he’s still making offensive contributions, even if they aren’t showing up on the scoresheet.
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.
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – Friday’s game was an interesting mix of both halves of Miami’s season: The first portion when the RedHawks couldn’t score and the most recent segment when they could.
Miami scored four times in the final 28 minutes to beat Bowling Green, 4-1 at BGSU Ice Arena after failing to hit the net on 16 first-period shots and a handful more in the middle stanza before breaking through.
The RedHawks scored an average of 2.07 goals in calendar year 2015 of this season and are netting 2.92 in 2016. Not coincidentally, Miami was 5-9-2 on New Year’s Day and is 7-4-1 since.
And the RedHawks have found scoring from other sources than Jack Roslovic and Josh Melnick. They’ve had to, as both have two markers in their last 11 games.
Sean Kuraly is back to his 19-goal form of 2014-15. Anthony Louis is doing his Anthony Louis second-half studly thing. Kiefer Sherwood was coming into his own before joining Roslovic’s top line and he’s thriving now.
BoB has said since August that with its core of veteran defensemen and goalies, this team would be fine if it can score enough. Now it is.
Miami has allowed five goals three times in its last 11 outings, all losses. MU is 7-0-1 when allowing three or fewer in that stretch.
Friday’s crowd was a hostile one as well, and seeing the RedHawks play so well in that environment bodes well for them the next couple of weeks, as they will visit Western Michigan and Minnesota-Duluth, sandwiching a home series vs. Colorado College to wrap up the regular season.
Five wins in those final six would be optimal, four would get Miami over .500 but probably not where it needs to be in PairWise. Three or fewer would be a disaster against the fourth, seventh and eighth place teams in the NCHC.
The way the RedHawks are playing right now, there’s an excellent chance they win the majority of their remaining regular season games and earn home ice for the first round of the NCHC Tournament.
– This was a tough game to watch as a Miami fan, because one (OK, I) got the feeling the hot goalie – BGSU’s Nell – might steal one. He made some good saves and the RedHawks missed some great chances. The Louis goal seemed to open the floodgates, and after the Kuraly goal, MU did an outstanding job of fending off the Falcons’ ensuing surge at the end of the second period.
– Speaking of Louis, I have no idea how he scored the equalizer. He had no apparent angle to shoot at and somehow was able to roof one. What a great way to make up for fanning on a high-quality opportunity earlier.
– Really impressed with Kiefer Sherwood since January. Having a future NHL star in Roslovic on your line doesn’t exactly hurt, but it feels like he’s going to put up huge offensive numbers in his four years in Oxford. He was involved in a pushing match in the first period with a chippy BGSU team, and that seemed to elevate his game, the sign of a strong player.
– These were definitely not NCHC officials. There were 11 total power plays – seven for Miami, tying a season high – including a pair of two-man advantages. Don’t have the stats for it, but I can’t remember Miami or an opponent having a 5×3 all season. It’s rare to see a team with four or more power plays in a game with NCHC referees. Definitely inconsistent.
– Great BGSU crowd. The rink was sold out, and the Falcons fans were enthusiastic and into the game, which unfortunately is not always the case in Oxford. Best of luck to Bowling Green the rest of the season in its quest for the NCAAs.
FORWARDS: A-. Really liked the Melnick-Gacek-Louis (AJA – Anthony, Josh, Alex) line. The Crash Cousins line was also strong, barring a bad turnover by Conor Lemirande at his defensive blue line which fortunately didn’t result in a goal. Loving that top line, of course, which accounted for two goals. If we had to nitpick, and that’s what we do, Roslovic is still too committed to carrying the puck through multiple defenders, and as a result he turned it over too often.
DEFENSEMEN: A. Bowling Green was super aggressive, leading to some solid scoring chances, but this corps did a great job of shutting most down. Louie Belpedio broke up a 3-on-1, and Chris Joyaux and Grant Hutton shut down quality opportunities as well. Taylor Richart did his unsexy shut-down thing as well, as did Matthew Caito, who pumped in the clinching empty netter.
GOALTENDING: A. Jay Williams had to deny a clean breakaway 52 seconds into the game, and he shagged it cleanly to set the pace for the rest of the game. He had to make his best stops in the first period, and Bowling Green scored on a point-blank tip that he had little chance on. Williams has appeared in 11 straight games with no end in sight, and hopefully he won’t tire down the stretch run, as it appears he is this team’s only option for the immediate future.
LINEUP CHANGES: Joyaux was back in the lineup, replacing Colin Sullivan on the blue line, and Andrew Schmit was back on the fourth line, replacing Ryan Siroky, who sat for just the second time in 2015-16. Devin Loe centered the Crash Cousins’ line, which played well with the exception of the aforementioned Lemirande turnover. Still no word on goalie Ryan McKay, who is suspended indefinitely. Evan McCarthy remains Miami’s backup in net.
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – Miami’s seven-game road losing streak seems like an eternity ago.
The RedHawks fell behind early before scoring the final four goals en route to a 4-1 win vs. Bowling Green at BGSU Ice Arena on Friday, extending their winning streak to three games away from Oxford.
MU’s last road loss came over two months ago at Colorado College.
Senior center Sean Kuraly netted the game-winning goal, the 12th of his career, as he moved into a tie for third place all-time on the Miami leaderboard, tying him with Andy Miele and Reilly Smith.
Kuraly finished with a goal and an assist, giving him four multi-point games in his last six contests and 12 points in his last eight (4-8-12).
In the first minute, Miami senior goalie Jay Williams was forced to stop a breakaway after a stretch pass.
With 8:18 left in the first period, BGSU (16-10-6) took the lead when Brent Tate tipped home a blue-line wrister from Sean Walker in the closing seconds of a power play.
But the second period was kind to the RedHawks once again.
Miami (12-13-3) tied it when junior forward Anthony Louis roofed a shot from the side of the net on a two-man advantage with 7:23 left in the frame.
Less than three minutes later, Kuraly tipped in a change-up wrister from the blue line by sophomore defenseman Scott Dornbrock to put the RedHawks ahead for good, 2-1.
That was the sixth goal in a row Miami had scored in the second period. Fortunately for the RedHawks, they bucked that trend in the final stanza.
Freshman forward Kiefer Sherwood banged home a loose puck with 6:09 left in regulation to give Miami a two-goal lead.
Senior defenseman Matthew Caito iced it with an empty netter in the closing minutes.
Kuraly has scored four times in his last six games, and Sherwood netted his fourth in seven. Louis has pumped in four in eight games.
Caito scored his 16th career goal, moving him into seventh on the school’s career leaderboard, tying him with 1996 graduate Pat Hanley.
Freshman defenseman Grant Hutton recorded his first multi-point game, tallying a pair of assists. He has four helpers in his last three games after picking up just one through 25 contests.
Freshman forward Josh Melnick has recorded a point in eight of nine games, finishing with one assist.
Senior goalie Jay Williams stopped 21 shots to earn the win, the 43rd of his career. He is three away from Connor Knapp for fourth place all-time at Miami.
The RedHawks jumped to a tie for 19th in the PairWise rankings with the win. They would likely need to be in the top 13 to be a safe bet for an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament.
Nebraska-Omaha won on Friday, moving into a tie with Miami for fifth place in the NCHC standings, and the Mavericks have a game in hand over the RedHawks.
Miami is off until next Friday, when they travel to Kalamazoo, Mich., for a series at Western Michigan.
at BGSU 1-0-0–1
First period–1. BGSU, Tate 4 (Walker, Bednard), ppg, 11:42.
Second period–2. Mia., Louis 7 (Melnick, Belpedio), ppg, 12:37; 3. Mia., Kuraly 6 (Dornbrock, Hutton) 15:15.
Third period–4. Mia., Sherwood 7 (Kuraly, Roslovic) 13:51; 5. Mia., Caito 4 (Hutton), eng, 18:13.
Power plays–Miami 1 for 7; Bowling Green 1 for 4. Shots on goal–Miami 16-14-19–49; Bowling Green 8-7-7–22. Goalies–Miami, Williams (21 of 22 shots saved); Bowling Green, Nell (45 of 49). Referees–Tommy Albindia, Brett Klosowski. Linesmen–Andrew Hempel, Frank Hempel. Attendance–4,025. Time–2:16.