Here are the highlights from Saturday night’s 4-1 victory over Michigan State that sent the RedHawks to Joe for the CCHA semifinals against Western Michigan.
Connor Knapp made 21 saves and Miami peppered Michigan State with 42 shots on goal as the RedHawks completed the weekend sweep with a 4-1 victory over the Spartans to earn the right to play in next weekend’s CCHA championship weekend at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Mich.
The RedHawks received goals from junior forward Reilly Smith, who also added two assists, and seniors Chris Wideman, Matt Tomassoni and Alden Hirschfeld as they left no doubt who was the better team this year as they won all four games against MSU by a combined score of 16-2.
Similar to last night, a big second period broke open a 1-1 tie as Miami netted seven goals in the second period over the weekend including three in tonight’s game. Senior defenseman Chris Wideman scored his third goal of the season, and second in two nights, as he notched the eventual game-winner at 9:49 of the second period. It was the first of three Miami goals in 3:22 to remove any chance Michigan State had of forcing a third and decisive game tomorrow night.
Senior Connor Knapp continued his stellar play, and along with Reilly Smith, has carried Miami down the stretch. Knapp has allowed just three goals in his last six games, all coming on the power play as he improved his overall record to 15-6 and lowered his goals against average to 1.43 while his save percentage sits at .943 for the year. Tonight, Knapp made 21 saves on 22 shots. The only goal he surrendered was on an MSU power play, which snapped a streak of 174 minutes of shutout hockey against the Spartans, dating back to Jan. 6, 2012 (Miami’s first game vs. MSU). Knapp has not allowed an even-strength goal since Feb. 4, 2012 against Michigan, a span of seven games. Over those seven games, he has allowed just four goals overall and three in his last six games.
The big senior from York, N.Y. has allowed one or fewer goals in 14 of his 22 games this season and 12 of his last 14. He has a 0.89 goals against average and .964 save percentage in his last 15 games (14 starts) since the start of 2012. Knapp leads the NCAA with a 1.43 GAA and is second in save percentage with .943, both of which would be Miami single-season records. He now has a career-high 15 wins on the year, which ties for ninth in a single season at Miami. (source: MURedHawks.com)
With the win, Miami heads back to Detroit for the CCHA semifinals on Friday afternoon at Joe Louis Arena. The defending Mason Cup champions’ opponent will be determined after the outcome of tomorrow’s series finale between #1 Ferris State and #8 Bowling Green. If Ferris State wins, Miami will face the top seeded Bulldogs in one semifinal. If the Falcons pull off the upset, Miami will face third seeded Western Michigan. Regardless, since Miami cannot face #2 Michigan in the semifinals, it’s a good bet the RedHawks will play the early game Friday so the league can place Michigan in the prime spot for both attendance at the Joe and for TV viewers across the nation. One would speculate that Miami’s game will start around 3pm EST on Friday.
Miami won its eighth-straight game, dating back to Feb. 10 vs. Alabama-Huntsville. It is the team’s longest winning streak since an eight-game win streak from Jan. 23-Feb. 19, 2010. During Miami’s win streak the RedHawks have outscored opponents, 32-5. (source: MURedHawks.com) The victory also moved Miami back into a tie for 5th in the PairWise rankings which largely determine the NCAA tournament field. With another good weekend in Detroit, Miami could come away with a #1 seed in the tournament, but their first order of business is reclaiming the Mason Cup for a second consecutive year.
Around the CCHA
Ferris State broke a 3-3 tie en route to a 7-4 victory over Bowling Green to force a decisive third game tomorrow night in Big Rapids, Mich.
Michigan completed the weekend sweep of Notre Dame by a score of 3-1, likely ending the Irish’s season. The Wolverines will face either Bowling Green or Western Michigan in one CCHA semifinal at the Joe.
Western Michigan completed the weekend sweep of Lake Superior defeating the Lakers 5-2. The Broncos will face either Michigan or Miami on Friday.
What a night for College Hockey. It was like Christmas all over again and we haven’t even scratched the surface outside the CCHA!
Bowling Green takes 1-0 lead at Ferris State
Last night’s victory by BGSU marks the first time the last place CCHA team has won a game in the second round of the tournament. Last year, the Falcons also took down Northern Michigan in 3 games in round 1 (winning in 2OT in game 3), but they failed to take a win in round 2, going down 5-1 and 4-1 at Michigan. This year, things get VERY interesting as former Miami assistant Chris Bergeron has his Falcons playing inspired hockey. They’ve won 4 of their last 6, including once against Michigan, and now 3 in a row against NMU (2) and Ferris State.
Cam Wojtala had 2 goals in regulation, and freshman Ryan Carpenter scored the game winner in overtime. But perhaps the player of the game was Goalie Andrew Hammond, who stopped an incredible 54 shots on the night. Check out the complete BGSUFalcons.com recap including interviews after the game. Here’s the highlights as well!
For free streaming audio of the game tonight, here is the link for the BGSU Feed. Pregame coverage starts at 6:35 and puck drop for game 2 is set for 7:05pm.
Western Michigan beats Lake State 4-2
Ian Slater scored twice for Western Michigan, and Mike Leone scored the 2nd period game winner. Leone only has 8 goals for his in his 3 seasons, but 4 of those have come in the CCHA Playoffs. Frank Slubowski was only called on to make 20 saves on the night as the Broncos took a 1-0 series lead in come back fashion. After going down just 3:13 in to the game, the Broncos scored 3 times before Lake State would answer again in a relatively calm CCHA game that only had 3 power play opportunities.
You can catch the full recap from WMU.com here, and stay tuned to the CCHA Productions YouTube channel to catch the highlights later today.
Michigan survives in 2OT against Notre Dame
Michigan’s Chris Brown scored the game winner 3:11 into the second overtime period to give Michigan a 1-0 lead in their first round playoff series against Notre Dame. Shawn Hunwick stopped 37 saves, and Michigan is now just 1 win away from their 24th consecutive trip to Detroit for the CCHA Final Four tournament.
It’s no Jimmy Mullin, but Michigan scored just 1:08 into the game to take a 1-0 lead, and the game stayed that way until the 11:23 mark of the third when Notre Dame’s Anders Lee scored to tie it up. ND’s goalie Steven Summerhays stopped 40 shots on the night (14 in the first OT), many of them of highlight-reel worthy, but couldn’t stop the last one. Catch the full recap here, and then jump over to the highlights!
Tonight’s game 2 is set for a 7:35pm puck drop, and you can listen for free at the ND All-Access site by clicking here. You can also view the game on Comcast Sports on the teevee machines.
Here is the Saturday SixPack of tweets. Be sure to follow us on twitter by hitting http://www.twitter.com/redskinwarriors or follow @redskinwarriors to make sure you don’t miss out on these juicy tidbits!
- Jimmy Mullin’s goal 12 seconds into the game is tied for the fastest goal in #MiamiU history, tying Tim Huettl, who scored 12 seconds into a game 1/3/1986 vs Mich-Dearborn.
- Jimmy Mullin had 2 G and 2 A for a career high 4 points and was a +3. Had 3 points against OSU 2/25. He’s proving he’s good at hockey too. 10 pts during 4gm pt streak. #stud
- Curtis McKenzie scores his first goal since December 10th. Reilly Smith now has 7-gm scoring streak. #MiamiU has scored first in 5 straight, 25 of 37 overall. #firingrange
- Connor Knapp is on fire. 5 shutouts in calendar 2012. 3 in last 5 gms. 13 for career is the new Miami record. #MiamiU’s CCHA-leading 7th shutout of season. #bulletproo
- When trailing after 40 minutes of regulation, Lake State is now 0-14-3. #WesternMichigan takes a 1-0 lead in their #CCHAPlayoffs series.
- Notre Dame is 16-3-0 when scoring three or more goals. Last night, they scored 1 and are now 1-14-1 when scoring less than three. #putthepuckinthegoal #CCHAPlayoffs
The highlights from last night’s game can be found on the CCHA Productions YouTube page, or by clicking here.
Puck Drop is set for 7:05 in Oxford. Don’t forget to tune in to the All-Access feed tonight, as the game will not be televised otherwise.