A second period goal from Anthony Louis and a shutout from goaltender Ryan McKay was enough to lead Miami (7-3-1) to a 2-0 victory over Wisconsin (3-3-1) Friday night.
A sellout crowd of 3,452 packed Steve Cady Arena in Oxford, Ohio, for the series opener between the 12th-ranked Badgers and eighth-ranked RedHawks. Wisconsin played right with a very quick Miami team, but couldn't seem to solve McKay between the pipes.
Head coach Mike Eaves said Wisconsin played well enough to win, but felt the Badgers were off just a tick or two on some close opportunities.
"The only thing I'd change is fix the sights on our guns," Eaves said. "We had some good looks, we just didn't finish.
"We gave ourselves a chance. In sports there are no guarantees, but when you play like we did, we gave ourselves a chance to be successful."
McKay had a lot to do with stifling UW's opportunities, stopping 30 shots for Miami to register his third shutout of the season. The sophomore is the hottest goaltender in the country right now, with all three shutouts coming in his past four games.
A costly error by Wisconsin in the second period led to the game-winner for Miami. Coming on a faceoff to goaltender Landon Peterson's left, the Badgers lost the draw and failed to account for Louis, who picked the puck up in the slot and was able to wrist a shot into the back of the UW cage.
Trailing 1-0 late in the third period, the Badgers caught a break when Sean Kuraly was whistled for a delay-of-game penalty with 26 seconds on the clock. With its net empty, Wisconsin attempted to even the score but Miami captain Austin Czarnik had other plans, flipping the puck the length of the ice for the empty-net goal to seal the win for the RedHawks.
Eaves noted after the game he was pleased with the effort Friday night, specifically singling out senior Mark Zengerle and his line with Joseph LaBate and Tyler Barnes.
Injured goaltender Joel Rumple (ankle) made the trip to Oxford and was hoping to play Saturday night in the series finale. Peterson's strong play Friday, however, may have thrown a wrinkle into that plan according to Eaves.
"He's certainly made our decision a lot more difficult."
Wisconsin and Miami face off for game two Saturday night at 6:05 p.m. CT. There is no TV for Saturday's game.
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