By John Lachmann
OXFORD, Ohio – It had been nearly two years since Alex Wideman had recorded his lone multi-goal game.
But the junior scored twice, pacing Miami’s offense in a 3-0 win over Canisius at Cady Arena on Friday.
Wideman’s other two-goal game came at home on Jan. 28, 2012 against Northern Michigan in a 6-0 win.
Wideman intercepted a pass and wristed a shot through traffic that slipped through off goalie Keegan Asmundson on a power play with 3:52 left in the first period to open the scoring.
Wideman made it 2-0 when he buried a one-time slap over Asmundson’s shoulder off a crossing feed from freshman forward Anthony Louis at the top of the faceoff circles with 12:12 to play in the second period.
Miami junior forward Blake Coleman sealed it seven minutes into the third period when he whipped a wrister over Asmundson’s shoulder.
Sophomore goalie Ryan McKay stopped 20 shots to earn the shutout, the fifth of his career and his first this season. He made 11 of those saves in the first period.
The teams will wrap up their weekend series at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday. Miami remains perfect against the Golden Griffins, having won all five previous meetings, all played at Cady Arena.
ANALYSIS: Despite the score, this wasn’t one of the better games Miami has played this season, especially the first period.
The RedHawks fell behind, 9-4 on shots midway through the opening frame, partly due to two minor penalties and partly due to being outworked.
It seemed like Miami overlooked this team. Fortunately, McKay had not as he made 11 of his 20 saves in the opening stanza.
The RedHawks played better in the second and third periods and finished with a 40-20 lead in shots on goal, 32-9 in the final two periods and 36-11 after the first 10 minutes.
At times Miami tried to get too fancy with its stickhandling – even after its stagnant opening frame – which resulted in multiple turnovers and squelched opportunities in the offensive zone, as if players expected to be able to penetrate the zone and create scoring chances at will.
The RedHawks may have overlooked the Golden Griffins, for which this series is their Stanley Cup.
The crowd, while not as impressive as it was in the North Dakota series, was still numerous and loud. It seemed like the students were as prevalent as ever but some season ticket holders skipped this game.
FORWARDS: B. Miami just didn’t seem as dominant up front, especially against a 1-2 team from a weaker conference.
They missed several chances – sophomore Riley Barber missed a look he normally connects on nine times out of 10 – and didn’t seem to connect on passes at the rate of previous weeks.
That said, the RedHawks had some pretty impressive shifts and controlled play in the offensive zone for long periods, and Asmundson bailed Canisius out several times.
They accounted for 38 of the team’s 40 shots.
DEFENSEMEN: B. They held the Golden Griffins to 20 shots and nine in the final two periods.
Coach Enrico Blasi changed up the back two pairings, and overall everyone played well.
Junior Ben Paulides has looked good in recent weeks, and his size is welcomed on Team Garden Gnome.
GOALTENDING: A. McKay was very good early and didn’t see a lot of rubber the final two periods.
He didn’t allow any rebounds despite being one of the only RedHawks to show up for the first 10 minutes.
LINEUP CHANGES: At forward, freshman Anthony Louis and junior Jimmy Mullin returned, replacing sophomore John Doherty and freshman Justin Greenberg.
Louis missed last weekend for a team rules violation, and it’s unclear why Mullin was out.
Freshman Matt Joyaux dressed in place of classmate Johnny Wingels.
The goalie thing is interesting. Blasi has done the rotation thing for the most part since the David Burleigh at the turn of the millennium, but sophomore Jay Williams allowed a couple of soft goals last Friday (though he also made some great saves).
It’s unclear if Blasi is shaking up the rotation and will come back with Williams on Saturday, or if he’s giving the starting job to McKay.
If that’s the case, stopping all 20 shots he faced on Friday won’t exactly work against him.