Less than 24 hours after its chance of repeating as Mason Cup champions disappeared, Miami rebounded to capture third place in the CCHA Tournament.
The RedHawks beat Bowling Green, 4-1 in the consolation game of the at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit on Saturday.
Miami finishes fifth in the PairWise, which is the main tool used to determine NCAA Tournament participants and seeding. That would make the RedHawks a No. 2 seed in its four-team regional.
The tournament brackets are publicized at noon on Sunday on ESPNU.
Miami continued its trend of scoring early. Freshman forward Alex Wideman jabbed a loose puck past Bowling Green goalie Andrew Hammond just under seven minutes into the game.
With 0.5 seconds left in the opening period, junior defenseman Joe Hartman blasted a one-timer from junior Reilly Smith past Hammond to make it 2-0.
Senior defenseman Chris Wideman gave Miami a 3-0 lead four minutes into the middle frame off a one-time pass by Smith.
Bowling Green’s Cameron Sinclair was credited with a goal that went off the stick of Miami freshman Blake Coleman with 10:36 left in the final stanza.
Smith tipped home a shot by junior defenseman Stephen Spinell with 6:06 left in regulation to ice the game.
Miami senior goalie Cody Reichard, making his first start since Feb. 11, stopped 21 of 22 shots to earn the win. Reichard relieved senior Connor Knapp on Friday, and turned aside 15 of 17 shots.
Smith finished with a goal and two assists, freshman forward Austin Czarnik recorded three assists and Alex Wideman was on the ice for all four Miami goals, finishing a team-best plus-3.
Freshman Jimmy Mullin left in the first period with an undisclosed injury and did not return. Mullin has battled a sore knee after he was kneed during the series at Michigan, but it is unclear if his injury on Saturday is related.
Mullin has 11 goals and 15 assists for 26 points, third-best on the team.
The RedHawks reached a number of statistical milestones in the win.
-- Smith became the seventh player in Miami history to score 30 goals in a season with his third-period tally. Smith now has a nine-game point streak and six consecutive games with multiple points.
-- Freshman Austin Czarnik equaled a career high in points (3) and assists (3).
-- Spinell tied a career high in points in a game with two. He had only reached that total in one previous game.
-- Brothers Alex and Chris Wideman scored goals in the same game for the first time.
ANALYSIS: Miami was flat outplayed on Friday, but the RedHawks returned to playing winning hockey in this game.
But Miami was supposed to beat a fatigued Falcons team that went to double overtime the night before in a game that ended 16 hours before the start of this one, and Mullin ends up being the bigger story.
He was the best forward on the team in Miami’s opener against Michigan State last weekend, and obviously it would be an immeasurable loss if he was unable to play in the NCAA Tournament.
He has played through a knee sprain, and hopefully if this injury is related he just aggravated it and will able to go come next weekend.
Mullin has had a tough year, getting banged up a couple of times after starting the season on the fourth line for some un-God-known reason, and it would be a shame if his freshman year was over.
One positive did come from his departure in the opening period: Alex Wideman was outstanding in his place. Wideman was on the ice for every Miami goal, and he scored a goal while crashing the net, an impressive feat for a player the size of a garden gnome.
If Mullin is unable to play in the NCAA Tournament, it would be interesting to see if Coach Enrico Blasi leaves Wideman on that line with Smith and Czarnik.
Wideman did score while playing with Coleman and senior Alden Hirschfeld, but the second and third lines overall were pretty quiet in Detroit. The names Hirschfeld, freshman Tyler Biggs and junior Curtis McKenzie were rarely called in either game.
One thing Blasi did on Friday that he didn’t do on Saturday was follow the first line up with the fourth line. It’s an understandable strategy when you’re ahead for defensive purposes or to match up against an opponent’s top forwards, but in this case Miami was losing and it killed any momentum the top skaters could generate.
FORWARDS: B. Even without Mullin, the other two-thirds of the JAR line accounted for six points. The forwards overall scored three of the goals, six assists and 19 shots.
Fourth-line freshman forward Cody Murphy, who had slowed after being all over the place upon his return from injury, was the only minus player on Miami, but he played with more energy than in the past few games.
DEFENSEMEN: B+. Overall they did a good job shutting down Bowling Green, although the Falcons’ were visibly tired the second half of the game.
Chris Wideman and Spinell, who both struggled a bit on Friday, came back with strong efforts in this game.
They accounted for Wideman’s goal, two assists (both by Spinell) and 14 shots – a