By John Lachmann
OXFORD, Ohio – Freshman goalie Ryan McKay stopped 37 of 38 shots, giving him 61 saves on 62 shots in two games with Miami.
But the RedHawks skated to a 1-1 tie vs. Providence at Cady Arena on Friday.
The Friars’ Ross Mauermann scored on a rebound shot by Myles Harvey two seconds into a 5-on-3 less than six minutes into the game to give Providence the early lead.
Miami answered with 15:20 left in the second period when sophomore Austin Czarnik recovered a loose puck that senior Curtis McKenzie forced a turnover in the offense zone and passed to freshman Riley Barber, who fired a shot past Friars goalie Jon Gillies.
It was Barber’s second goal in as many games, and Czarnik picked up his second assist of the season.
McKay, who was named first star of the game, has a 0.48 goals-against average and a .984 save percentage.
Providence’s power play goal was the first allowed by Miami this season in 16 chances.
The Friars had four shots on goal in overtime, but were unable to beat McKay. McKay also got help from McKenzie in the extra session, as he helped block a point-blank shot.
Providence outshot Miami, 38-28 overall, including 15-7 in the first period.
The teams will meet in the series finale at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday.
ANALYSIS: McKenzie played in his first game of the season after suffering an undisclosed injury prior to the Colgate series, and he made a statement with his defense in his debut.
McKenzie has not been known for his defense, but his tying up of the puck ultimately set up Miami’s goal, and he prevented the game-winning goal at the other end in overtime.
Miami coach Enrico Blasi is still working on his line combinations, as he broke up the JAR II line early in the game and put McKenzie on left wing with Czarnik and Barber.
Sophomore Jimmy Mullin played the first two-plus games at left wing after starting at right wing all of last season. Blasi moved Mullin to the second line with sophomores Blake Coleman and Cody Murphy.
Sophomore Alex Wideman was also out of the RedHawks’ lineup, causing Blasi to move some players around.
Overall, the offense looked fairly stagnant, but much credit belongs to a big, young Providence team that did a good job of shutting down a deep Miami team.
The RedHawks started very slowly and seemed to play better as the game progressed. Having six penalties between the teams whistled in the opening stanza did not help Miami get into the rhythm of the game.
Senior defenseman Joe Hartman was seen walking around with his foot in a boot, and it isn’t a coincidence that the Friars finished with 38 shots after Colgate averaged just 22 in two games last weekend.
Providence probably outplayed Miami by a slight margin overall, but McKay – who was named first star of the game – kept the RedHawks from suffering their first loss.
Miami has allowed two goals in three games, and if its goaltending plays half as well as it has so far the RedHawks should be in great shape come March.
FORWARDS: D. The chemistry between the lines didn’t seem right all night, and with such a young team we knew this would be a work in progress.
Blasi said before the season with regards to the JAR II line that if it didn’t work out, “we may have to change but, but I suspect we won’t have to change it real quick.”
Apparently the threshold for that move was two-plus games.
I’m kind of torn on the move – breaking up Czarnik and Mullin is not optimal but Mullin may be better moving back to right wing. Either way it was a bit of a surprise that the move was made so soon, but Blasi is not afraid to shake his lines up if he thinks his forwards can be more efficient.
Junior forward Bryon Paulazzo was moved to the third line after working very well with Coleman opening weekend, although most of that pair’s success came on the power play and Blasi did keep last week’s power play groups together for the most part.
As a group, the forwards fired 23 shots and accounted for all three points.
DEFENSEMEN: C-. This group got even younger without Hartman, and as much as Blasi prides himself on having strong defensive teams, he probably isn’t pleased at the 38 shots allowed.
The blueline corps finished with five shots on goal – three by freshman Matthew Caito. Senior Stephen Spinell and freshman Taylor Richart blocked four shots each.
GOALTENDING: A. The Providence goal was amazingly similar to the Colgate score (except the initial shooter didn’t shank his shot), but it was on a 5-on-3 and McKay was outstanding overall.
Sometimes a good goalie will steal a game for his team, and in this case he stole the tie.
McKay bailed himself when he threw the puck up the ice on the power play in the second period. Providence intercepted and forced McKay to make a stellar save to preserve the tie.
LINEUP CHANGES: It’s unclear why Wideman wasn’t in the lineup after he scored a goal and added two assists last weekend.
McKenzie played in his first game of the season, and senior Steve Mason and junior