After a scoreless first period in which Miami looked clearly like the second-best team on the ice, the RedHawks came out ready to play in the second and controlled the game from then on. In my preview, I noted that Minnesota State would likely try to shut down Austin Czarnik and Riley Barber, which, for the most part they were able to do, meaning the RedHawks needed some secondary scoring. They got just that from the usual sources.
A little over halfway through the second period, a Barber penalty expired and he came out of the box to turn a 2-on-1 into a 3-on-1, and some fancy passing between he and Czarnik led to a goal by senior Curtis McKenzie. They carried the 1-0 lead into the third, where they added to it just over two minutes in. Senior Marc Hagel, a Princeton transfer, scored the second goal on a beautiful feed from Blake Coleman. Cody Murphy would add a third halfway through the period, and Max Cook sealed the game with an empty-netter.
McKenzie's goal would prove to be all that Miami needed, as Ryan McKay bounced back from a horrendous outing in the CCHA semifinals to post his fourth shutout of the season. After getting a little puck luck early on in the first period when the Mavericks hit two posts, he was solid and well-positioned the rest of the way, looking like the goalie that led the nation in GAA.
It wasn't all good news for Miami, who lost sophomore Jimmy Mullin in the first period after a knee-to-knee collision with MSU's Evan Mosey. Mosey was given a major penalty and a game misconduct, but the RedHawks were unable to do anything on the five minute power play. Mullin's status for tomorrow has not been confirmed, but I wouldn't expect him to play.
Miami will now play St. Cloud State for a spot in the Frozen Four tomorrow at 4 eastern. The Huskies dominated Notre Dame, 5-1, in the first semifinal of the day. They were clearly the hungrier team, and Notre Dame looked as though they expected to win the game just by showing up.
The win was St. Cloud's second-ever tournament win, as they will be looking for their first Frozen Four trip in program history. Their coach, Bob Motzko, was an assistant at Miami in the early 90s, coaching current RedHawk coach Enrico Blasi while he was a player there.