Michigan hockey completes sweep of Miami, 3-0, behind two Lee Moffie goals
Updated 11:50 p.m.
A fight put about a 20-minute delay on it becoming official, but the Michigan hockey team completed its sweep of Miami with a 3-0 win at Yost Ice Arena on Saturday.
The win came at a steep price for Michigan. Co-leading scorer Chris Brown was ejected from the game for a fight with Miami captain Will Weber with one minute remaining. Brown had put the game on ice with a highlight-reel goal earlier in the period, juking left and then right on Weber before going between his legs and beating goaltender Connor Knapp.
Brown will miss next Friday's series opener with Michigan State as a result of the fight.
"Brownie’s gotta learn to be a little more disciplined," said Lee Moffie, who scored Michigan's other two goals. "But, I mean, that guy (Weber) was kind of going after guys all night. If Brownie felt that’s what he had to do to stick up for his team, send a message or whatever, then good for him.
"He’s playing like a man out there, so obviously it’s going to really hurt missing him, but we’ll fight through it."
Michigan coach Red Berenson called the fight "disappointing."
"There’s no fighting in college hockey, let’s face it," he said. "You want to have a fight, go out in the parking lot after the game."
Berenson said he thought the game got to a boiling point because of the way the referees were handling the game. The teams combined for 27 penalties (96 minutes).
The fact that Miami (15-13-2, 11-11-2-1 CCHA) plays against non-conference Alabama-Huntsville next weekend may have contributed, Berenson said.
"A smart coach knows ... how important his players are that have to stay in the game, and when a team has a non-conference weekend the next weekend, they might take liberties and maybe they did," Berenson said. "But we’re the ones who are going to pay for it."
"My hat goes off to (the referees)," said Miami coach Enrico Blasi. "When two good teams are going at it like that and you've got to handle that stuff, I'm glad it's not me."
The Michigan penalty kill was the story of the night and weekend, successfully killing six penalties for the second night in a row.
"The PK’s just been huge," said Moffie. "We’ve gotta do a better job staying out of the box, but I think you’ve noticed since Jonny’s (Merrill) come back that PK has really stepped up a lot."
Michigan spent 7:57 of the game's first 14 minutes on the penalty kill. One night after successfully killing off six power plays in a 4-1 win, Michigan staved off an extra Miami skater four times in the first period and even got a shorthanded goal from Moffie 7:17 into the period.
Luke Glendening created a turnover just outside the Miami zone, resulting in a two-on-one rush. Moffie trailed patiently as Glendening waited to draw the defender before sliding the puck across ice to Moffie, who went upstairs on Miami goaltender Knapp's glove side.
Moffie gave the Wolverines a 2-0 lead 3:13 into the second period, capping a five-pass sequence by sliding an A.J. Treais centering pass under Knapp’s leg pad.
Though an offensive defenseman, Moffie's more known to make an assist (he leads the team with 18) than do the scoring, but he had a nose for the goal Saturday, nearly netting the hat trick with a tap-in on the backdoor as the buzzer sounded.
Moffie also helped preserve Hunwck's 29-save shutout, clearing the puck from the goal line after a Hunwick save on a breakaway. The play would be reviewed twice by the officials.
Asked if he thought the puck went in (Hunwick instructed him to say no), Moffie said he wasn't sure.
"It was pretty close," he said. "I have no idea."
Alden Hirschfield was left with an unimpeded path to the goal in a shorthanded situation after Merrill broke his stick in the Miami zone. Hunwick made the initial save, but lost track of the puck as it creeped from underneath him toward the goal before Moffie cleared it at the last second.
It was Hunwick's fourth shutout of the season (plus one shared) and the ninth of his career, moving him into fourth place in team history, ahead of Billy Sauer.
Michigan (17-9-4, 11-7-4-1) is now in third place heading into the Michigan State series, just three points back of first place Ferris State.