Jan. 31, 2010

By Drew Davis

OXFORD, Ohio - No. 1 Miami used two power-play goals to beat Western Michigan 2-1 and complete the weekend sweep Saturday night at Steve Cady Arena at the Goggin Ice Center.

Junior Pat Cannone scored early in the second period and his classmate, Andy Miele, tallied the game-winner late in the third period. Sophomore goaltender Connor Knapp stopped 15-of-16 shots to earn the win.

The scoreless first period was a back-and-forth affair with neither team able to gain the early advantage. Miami set the pace with a series of punishing hits, knocking Western Michigan skaters to the ice on multiple occasions, but the Broncos were not intimidated, playing strong defense and limiting the potent Miami offense to 13 shots that were all turned away easily by Western Michigan goaltender Riley Gill.

The RedHawks broke open the scoreless game just 11 seconds into their third power play of the game at 4:22 of the second period. The Red and White quickly set up the special teams attack, spreading out the Western Michigan defense. A series of passes around the ice found Cannone open on the left side of the goal. He used a quick wrister to beat Gill five-hole and take the 1-0 lead. Juniors Carter Camper and Tommy Wingels earned assists for setting up the play.

Throughout the rest of the second period, Miami let loose a barrage of shots on goal, totaling 20 in the frame, but Gill stayed strong in goal, keeping Western Michigan within striking distance. Meanwhile, the RedHawks shut down the Broncos' offense, holding them to only three shots on goal during the stanza.

Western Michigan evened the score at 1-1 at 4:26 of the third period during a 4-on-4 play when junior Mike Levendusky, whose older brother, Pat, was a member of the RedHawks from 2002-2005, tallied his first-career goal. Greg Squires corralled the puck in the left corner and sent a pass to Levendusky at the point. He settled it and sent in a wrist shot past his defender that beat Knapp glove-side.

Miami was able to break the tie at 15:39 of the final period when Miele lit the lamp on a slap shot from 40 feet out. Working on the power play, Miami sent in a shot on goal that caromed off Gill. As the RedHawks crashed the net, the four Western Michigan defenders moved in to try to clear the puck. As players from both teams piled up in front of the goal, the puck bounced back to Miele, who was in the right place at the right time, trailing behind the play. Sophomore Trent Vogelhuber and senior Jarod Palmer earned assists on the play.

"I thought we played pretty good all weekend long. We played our game, but (WMU goalie Riley) Gill played great both nights," said Miami head coach Enrico Blasi. "Whether it's (Andy) Miele's line or (Carter) Camper's line or (Pat) Cannone's line, or whoever we have on our other line, everybody contributed and that's the way it's been all year. And for us to be successful down the stretch, we're going to have to have everybody contribute."

The RedHawks fired a season-high 49 shots on goal and converted on 2-of-5 power play opportunities. The Broncos finished with 16 shots and were 0-for-2 on the power play.

Miami is back in action February 5-6 against Lake Superior State at Steve Cady Arena. The puck drops at 7:35 Friday night and 7:05 Saturday.