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McKay’s Return Lifts Miami to Weekend Sweep

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Fueled by the return of freshman goaltender Ryan McKay and the first two goals of senior transfer Marc Hagel’s Miami career, the fourth ranked Miami RedHawks (9-2-3, 6-2-2-2 CCHA) completed the weekend sweep of the Alaska Nanooks 4-0 at Carlson Center in Fairbanks, Alaska on Saturday night.

McKay, who had missed Miami’s last eight games due to injury, recorded his second career shutout in just his fourth career start. In 3+ games (he was injured early in his start against Michigan on October 26 and played just five minutes), he has allowed only one goal and sports some outrageous numbers. In four games, McKay is 2-0-1 with a 0.32 goals against average with an astounding .989 save percentage. Last year’s co-USHL goaltender of the year has most definitely come in “as advertised.” And, that’s to take nothing away from classmate Jay Williams who has been very good in his own right. Williams has carried Miami over the past month and is 7-2-2 on the season with a 2.16 goals against average with a very strong .918 save percentage.

After a scoreless first period that featured an Alex Wideman disallowed goal, the sophomore from St. Louis would get on the scoreboard as he converted a pass from Austin Czarnik for a 5×3 powerplay tally to give Miami the only goal it would need.

From there, the teams traded powerplays and quality chances, but McKay and the RedHawks stood strong taking 1-0 lead into the second intermission.

Miami broke the game open in the third period with two goals in a three minute span as Hagel took advantage of a Blake Coleman rebound to beat Nanook netminder John Keeney for his first as a RedHawk at 8:20. Then, at 11:24, Czarnik found sophomore Jimmy Mullin on a breakaway and the Cincinnati native made it look easy in beating Keeney for just his second goal of the season.

For Coleman and Mullin, it was nice to see them rewarded on the scoresheet, and in Coleman’s case, he was very involved in the game finishing with a team-high four shots on goal and a +2 rating. Though he did not put the puck in the net, he was all over the place creating offense notching his third assist of the season. Hopefully, Mullin and Coleman will continue to pile up the points providing additional scoring threats to complement Riley Barber and Czarnik. Speaking of ‘the Czar,’ the sophomore center collected two more points with assists on Hagel’s first goal and the Mullin breakaway. He has now taken over the team and league lead in points with 19, one ahead of Barber in both categories and 10 more than senior Curtis McKenzie for Miami’s top honors.

To close the scoring, Hagel collected his second of the night with a shorthanded empty-netter with 47 seconds left as Alaska attempted to capitalize on a late powerplay by pulling Keeney. Freshman defenseman Matthew Caito and McKenzie were credited with assists. Caito leads all Miami defensemen in scoring with 1-5-6 on the year.

Next weekend, the RedHawks return home to face the Lakers of Lake Superior State on Friday and Saturday at Steve Cady Arena. Over the weekend, the Lakers (7-9, 4-6 CCHA) were swept by Notre Dame in South Bend and will again face a lengthy bus trip south as they head to Oxford.

Notes

– Mullin’s goal was his first since October 27 in a 4-3 win at Michigan.

– Coleman’s assist was his first point since November 9 when he registered an assist against Northern Michigan in a 5-2 Miami victory. He has not scored a goal since October 20 in a win against Providence.

– McKay’s two shutouts are good enough for fourth nationally though he has started just four games.

– Czarnik continues to pour on the points. His five-point weekend gives him points in Miami’s last three games and his 19 points ties him for eighth nationally in the overall scoring race.

– Miami is now unbeaten in its last seven games (5-0-2) with the RedHawks’ last loss coming on November 2 when they were shutout 3-0 at Ferris State.

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Miami rolls Space Bears 5-2

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Behind three points from sophomore forward Austin Czarnik and two goals from sophomore forward Cody Murphy, the #4 Miami RedHawks defeated the Alaska Nanooks 5-2 in a CCHA conference match in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Miami’s first line of Czarnik (7-10-17), freshman Riley Barber (6-11-17) and senior Curtis McKenzie (4-4-8) once again led the way for the RedHawks as the trio combined for three goals and seven points on the evening. Meanwhile, Murphy (4-5-9) was busy notching his first multiple goal game of the season and the second of his career as he dominated special teams by scoring Miami’s lone powerplay goal and netted his second of the night during a Miami penalty kill as he now has four goals on the season. The RedHawks were just 1-of-7 with the man advantage but killed all eight Nanook powerplays.

Freshman goaltender Jay Williams was once again in the Miami net as he stopped 31 of 33 Nanook shots to improve his record to 7-2-2. Williams has now started each of Miami’s last eight games going 5-1-2 in those contests helping the RedHawks maintain a slim hold on first place in the CCHA. The RedHawks (8-2-3, 5-2-2-0 CCHA) lead second place Notre Dame (10-4, 6-1 CCHA) by one point in the league standings though the Irish have played two fewer league contests than Miami. Ferris State and Ohio State are each one point behind Miami each having played the same number of league games as the RedHawks.

Miami goes for six league points and the weekend sweep tonight as they take on the Nanooks at 11:05pm EST from the Carlson Center in Fairbanks. Greg Waddell has the call on Miami All-Access and on 1450 and 1490-AM around the Miami listening area.

Notes

– Miami senior captain Steven Spinell and junior forward Bryon Paulazzo were scratched from last night’s lineup. No immediate word on injuries.

– Relegated to the fourth line, sophomore forward Jimmy Mullin has just one goal and four points on the year after notching 11-15-26 in 37 games last year.

– After a 3-1-4 opening weekend, sophomore forward Blake Coleman has just one goal and one assist in Miami’s last 11 games.

– Miami will need scoring from Mullin and Coleman to help take the pressure off the first line as the season progresses and Miami begins playing more formidable competition with the personnel that’s able to slow the first line.