Miami Comes Out With 'Purpose'
by Michael Mark Florek/CHN Reporter
DETROIT After Miami won its CCHA semifinal game against Notre Dame, 6-2, the celebration wasn’t anything special, just handshakes, a fight song and stick salutes. But for the RedHawks’ fans it wasn’t the beginning of the festivities — it was the end.
Miami scored four goals in the opening 14 minutes of the game to take a 4-0 lead into the first intermission. The rest of the game was never in doubt as Notre Dame never brought it within three goals again. By the end of the game, RedHawk fans had been celebrating a victory for over two periods.
The four-goal run was started — and finished — by senior forward Carter Camper. Despite the early onslaught Miami was on its heels in the opening minutes. Just four minutes in, Irish sophomore forward Riley Sheahan rang a shot off the post.
A minute later Camper whacked at a bouncing puck, it somehow found its through Notre Dame goalie Mike Johnson’s legs. Exactly one minute and one second later the RedHawks scored again, with an assist from Camper.
“Our guys came out with a purpose,” Miami coach Enrico Blasi said. “(We were) fortunate on Carter’s first goal and we seemed to go from there and gain some momentum.”
And as the clock went past the midway point in the first period, Camper took it upon himself remove all doubt from the game. With Notre Dame on the power play, Miami dumped the puck down the ice. Notre Dame sophomore defenseman Sam Calabrese picked up the puck and wheeled around his own net. Right behind him was Camper, who lifted Calabrese’s stick, took the puck and sent a turnaround shot through Johnson’s legs again.
“I think a lot it had to do with Miami,” Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson said. “They put a lot of pressure on us. They’re skill and speed forced us to turn a lot of pucks over and you can’t do that against a team like that because they transition so well offensively…It was a lot about them.”
While the teams traded goals in the final two periods, there wasn’t much reaction from the sliver of red-and-white clad fans that stretched throughout the whole corner section. Those goals didn’t matter. Miami was going to the CCHA finals for the third time in six years. It will play the winner of Michigan and Western Michigan. If the RedHawks play the Wolverines, it will be a rematch of the CCHA semifinals from a year ago, where Michigan throttled Miami 5-1.
The four goals that did matter, weren’t all that surprising. It was the third time this season that the RedHawks scored four goals in a single period. But this time, these goals weren’t in 9-1 and 8-1 blowouts against teams in the middle of the pack in the CCHA standings. These were against the No. 2 seed. These put them one game away from winning the CCHA Tournament for the first time in program history.
“We’ve never won the Mason Cup,” Blasi said. “We’re in the championship game tomorrow.”
Sometimes it’s as simple as that.