By John Lachmann
OXFORD, Ohio – Goals have come in twos for Cody Murphy since the start of his Miami career.
The sophomore forward scored a pair of power play goals less than eight minutes apart to lift the RedHawks to a 2-1 win over Bowling Green on Friday.
That gives Murphy six goals on the season, and his second two-goal game. He also found the net twice in a 5-2 win at Alaska on Nov. 30. His only two goals of last season both came in Miami’s 4-1 victory over Notre Dame on Feb. 18, 2012.
Which means of Murphy’s eight career goals, six have come in multi-goal games.
The win was No. 300 for Enrico Blasi, tops among coaches in Miami history, and it came coincidentally against Falcons coach Chris Bergeron, a former RedHawks assistant and ex-Miami player.
Bowling Green opened the scoring when Mark Cooper deflected a shot from teammate Ryan Peltoma past Miami freshman goalie Jay Williams with 3:24 remaining in the first period.
But after Murphy fired a shot that was denied by goalie Andrew Hammond, freshman forward Riley Barber corralled the loose puck at the side of the net and fed Murphy a pass through the top of the crease, which he slammed home on the RedHawks’ first power play.
Murphy was also robbed earlier in the shift on a point-blank backhander off a great feed from Barber.
Just 10 seconds into Miami’s second man-advantage, senior forward Curtis McKenzie slid a pass through the crease from behind the goal line, and Murphy one-timed it to give the RedHawks the lead.
McKenzie was denied seconds earlier on a pad save from Hammond, but the puck trickled back to him, and he was able to find Murphy for the game-winning goal.
Freshman defenseman Matthew Caito assisted on both Miami goals, giving him two goals and three assists in his past four games.
Williams stopped 21 of 22 shots, giving him just his second win in his last five outings despite the fact he has allowed just five goals and has a goals-against average under one in that span.
Miami improved to 14-0-1 in its last 15 games vs. Bowling Green and is also unbeaten in its last 15 games at Goggin/Cady vs. the Falcons (14-0-1).
The RedHawks were 2-for-23 in their last six games on the power play, but Miami was 2-for-3 on Friday. The MU power play improved to 34-of-35 in its last nine games.
The win vaults the RedHawks into second place in the CCHA as they passed Notre Dame, which lost to Ferris State on Friday to extend the Fighting Irish’s losing streak to five games.
Miami and Bowling Green will play their series finale is at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday.
ANALYSIS: Fans were treated to a pre-game ceremony honoring Barber and fellow freshman Sean Kuraly for their roles in Team USA’s goal medal performance in the World Junior Championships.
They were awarded framed photos of themselves celebrating after the championship game by athletic director David Saylor and a fantastic video was aired. It was a great tribute to the pair and an excellent way to kick-off the weekend series.
Congratulations are due to Blasi for recording his 300th win, and it has to be especially sweet to reach that milestone against his former assistant.
No one that sets foot in Cady Arena knows more about the game than Blasi, and Miami has been extremely fortunate to have him at the helm for the past 14 years.
Think about this: Before Blasi took over in 1999, the RedHawks had played in two NCAA Tournament games – both losses.
In the Blasi era, Miami has qualified for seven straight NCAA Tournaments and has played in 15 games in the national championships, winning seven and advancing to a pair of Frozen Fours.
But about the game: The first period was a total snoozer, especially if you’re a Miami fan, but the second period – at least the first 13 minutes – was some of the best hockey the RedHawks have played this season.
The defense had to step up in the third period after a major on McKenzie and a phantom late-game minor on sophomore Blake Coleman, and it did an exceptional job.
The penalty killers – especially senior forward Marc Hagel, sophomore forward Austin Czarnik, senior defenseman Joe Hartman and Hagel again – were tremendous during the major and end-of-game minor. Hagel also drew a tripping penalty on Hammond with 2:15 left.
Thanks to Bergeron, this is a much-improved Bowling Green team, and Miami really had to earn its win, especially after coming out flat in the first period.
Bad blood could boil to the surface if the outcome isn’t in doubt the final few minutes on Saturday.
FORWARDS: C. Two goals seems like a major accomplishment considering Miami’s recent lack of scoring, but too many players are still struggling to find the net.
The Morris-Murphy-Hagel line was the only one that showed up for the majority of the first period, but all four lines played better as the game progressed.
Murphy could’ve scored five goals in this game – Hammond absolutely robbed