No. 3 Miami scored three goals in a 2:41 span of the third period to beat No. 6 Michigan, 4-3 at Yost Arena on Saturday.
With the injury-laden RedHawks (4-1-1) trailing, 2-1 entering the final stanza, freshman forward Alex Gacek, sophomore Jimmy Mullin and senior Curtis McKenzie all scored in a three-minute span as Miami salvaged a split in the weekend series.
Like Friday, the RedHawks took the early lead. Freshman forward Riley Barber scored a highlight-reel goal off a feed from sophomore forward Austin Czarnik 3:44 into the first period.
But Michigan’s Travis Lynch one-timed a shot past Miami freshman goalie Jay Williams with 3:38 remaining in the opening period to tie the score.
Alex Guptill went top shelf on Williams midway through the second period to put the Wolverines (3-2) ahead, 2-1.
RedHawks freshman forward Alex Gacek scored his first career goal off a faceoff with 16:12 to play in regulation, tying the score at two.
Sophomore forward Jimmy Mullin put Miami ahead, 3-2 with an unassisted goal with 13:49 remaining, and senior Curtis McKenzie scored on a breakaway 18 seconds later to give the RedHawks a two-goal lead.
Michigan’s Lindsay Sparks scored with 2:05 remaining, but Miami held on for the win.
Barber finished with a goal and an assist, and Czarnik recorded a pair of helpers.
Williams stopped 37 of 40 shots to improve to 3-1 on the season.
Miami will play two games at Ferris State next weekend to wrap up a four-game road trip.
ANALYSIS: Considering the injuries and illnesses, a 4-1-1 start in the first six games that included a series at Yost is about as good as Miami could’ve hoped for.
For the second straight night Miami – despite its youth – proved it deserves mention among the elite NCAA teams like Michigan after holding its own in one of the most hostile road environments in the country.
Adding anything would be redundant. This team is young, has significant injury and illness issues on top of that and still won in Yost.
This win pretty much speaks for itself.
FORWARDS: A. They accounted for all four goals and assists and fired 30 shots on goal.
Barber and Czarnik continue to play at an exceptional level together.
Hats off to McKenzie for the game-winning goal. He’s been an enigma at times in his RedHawks career but is definitely helping the team this season.
DEFENSEMEN: C-. As great as this win was, Michigan finished with 40 shots on goal and a significant portion of the blame has to fall to the defense, especially since the blueliners are not contributing on offense.
I get that it’s tough to play at Yost, but that is still a ton of shots, especially since the Wolverines had just two power plays that produced three shots.
Senior Garrett Kennedy blocked five more shots, an attribute that I’m guessing is keeping him in the lineup ahead of the bigger sophomore Ben Paulides.
Freshmen Chris Joyaux and Michael Mooney both went plus-2.
GOALTENDING: B. Williams stopped 37 of 40 shots and one of the goals was sort of wide open after a crossing pass for a one-timer.
Williams had more to prove than anyone on the RedHawks this weekend, and while he didn’t stand on his head he certainly proved he’s worthy to start while McKay is laid up.
LINEUP CHANGES: Miami coach Enrico Blasi did not make a single change to his 18 skaters from Friday.
Freshman forward Alex Gacek has played three games in a row and appears deserving of playing time, and freshman defenseman Michael Mooney dressed for the third straight game and was steady in his own end.
Sophomore goalie Anthony Jacaruso dressed as the backup to Williams tonight, verifying what most suspected – freshman Ryan McKay was not available as a backup.
Details about McKay’s injury are still sketchy.