March 16, 2013
Oxford, Ohio - Miami scored a pair of first-period goals to overcome an early deficit and added a tally in the second and third periods to post a 4-1 victory over Michigan State in game two of the CCHA quarterfinal series. Michigan State's goal was scored by freshman Matt DeBlouw, and classmate Jake Hildebrand made 33 saves. The RedHawk win forced a third and deciding game in the series, which will be played on Sunday evening at 7 p.m.
"What we saw from Miami tonight is what we anticipated - they're skill level, their intensity and compete level," said head coach Tom Anastos. "It wasn't something we we weren't prepared for. I Liked our compete level tonight,but we didn't make any momentum for ourselves at key times in the game. They did, and as a result, they won the game."
Looking to set the tone early, Miami blueliner Steven Spinell went after Spartan senior Kevin Walrod right after the puck dropped, drawing a contact to the head penalty 10 seconds into the game. It took MSU just twice that long to put the puck in the net, as Greg Wolfe fed DeBlouw with a cross-slot pass down low, and DeBlouw potted his third goal of the playoffs and ninth of the season 28 seconds into the game.
Miami tied the game at 10:38. Matthew Caito sent a shot netward, and winger Jimmy Mullin managed to get a stick on it to tip it past Hildebrand. Capitalizing on a Spartan turnover behind their own net, the RedHawks took their first lead at 13:01 on a shorthanded marker. After Kevin Morris was sent off on an interference call, the RedHawks dumped the puck out of the zone, and it went down behind the goal cage in the Spartan end. The home team forced the turnover behind the goal cage, and an opportunistic Austin Czarnik beat Hildebrand on the doorstep with a shorthanded marker, his 12th goal of the season.
Late in the period, Justin Hoomaian was whistled for a major penalty for hitting from behind, putting the home team on the power play for the final 3:16 of the opening period. The Spartans did a nice job of killing off the major penalty, both in the balance of the first period and the opening minutes of the second. The teams settled into a high-tempo, physical game that went end-to-end for long stretches. At 12:11, the RedHawks padded their lead - Matthew Caito sent a lead pass to Jimmy Murphy, who carried it into the zone and shot from the left point. His shot hit the front of Hildebrand's pad, and trickled under the blocker hand of the goalie.
Michigan State came out for the third with good energy and generated some chances down low, but couldn't get much to McKay for quality scoring chances. At 9:57, the RedHawks extended their lead to 4-1 on another nifty play by Czarnik, who picked up the puck at the top of the right circle, drove to his left, and went backhand on his shot from below the left circle, beating a screened Hildebrand.
MSU goes to a third game in a CCHA Playoff series for the second time in as many weekends, playing the deciding game three on Sunday at 7 p.m. at Cady Arena in Oxford. Two teams (Michigan and Notre Dame) swept Western Michigan and Bowling Green, respectively, to advance to next weekend's championship at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. Ohio State rallied to win game two over Ferris State to force a game three in that series on Sunday might.