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Miami Wins NCHC Championship Behind Coleman Hat Trick

MINNEAPOLIS – After nearly scaling the mountain last year, a Blake Coleman hat trick delivered the No. 5/6 Miami hockey team some redemption as it topped St. Cloud State, 3-2, in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference Championship Game on Saturday.

The RedHawks (25-13-1) claim their second conference title in school history and their first as a member of the NCHC.

Miami was inches from getting on the board in the opening moments as Alex Wideman grabbed a loose puck atop the left circle and beat Charlie Lindgren, but the shot hit the post. The Huskies were whistled for a penalty during the play, giving the RedHawks the evening’s first power play just 1:39 in. The man advantage had some good puck movement and generated a few quality shots, but Lindgren kept the contest scoreless in the early going.

It took 10 minutes before St. Cloud State to register a shot on goal, but Jay Williams made a sensational stop on a Judd Peterson attempt in the slot. Another Miami chance was generated off a turnover when Sean Kuraly fed Alex Gacek cutting in the slot, but Lindgren knocked his redirect wide. On the same shift, Wideman got fed on the right circle with an opening to the net, but his shot hit the post to keep it a scoreless contest.

Joey Benik put the Huskies on top when his sharp angle shot caromed in off Williams to make it a 1-0 game with eight minutes left in the opening stanza. The RedHawks were able to recover from that when Coleman tipped a puck out of mid-air on Riley Barber’s cross-ice feed and into the net for his 18th goal of the year with 3:45 left in the frame. That goal extended his point streak to six games while Barber’s assist upped his personal point streak to nine games. Cody Murphy also drew the assist on the goal that sent the teams to the locker room tied at 1-1 with Miami holding a 9-4 advantage in shots on goal.

Miami fired the first two shots of the second period, but was kept mostly to the outside for those attempts. A minor penalty at the 5:11 mark gave St. Cloud State its first power play of the night. The nation’s fifth-best power play struck with 13:57 to go in the frame as Jonny Brodzinski blasted a one-timer past Williams from the left circle to put SCSU up 2-1.

Riley Barber weaved through the SCSU defense in the neutral zone on the right wing side and was ultimately tripped up while moving into the slot. That penalty allowed MU a power play opportunity of its own and Coleman delivered by ripping a one-timer of his own from the high slot through traffic to even the score at 2-2 with 12:23 to go in the middle frame. Austin Czarnik and Louie Belpedio each assisted on the tally.

Coleman gave the RedHawks their first lead of the night 1:43 later when he redirected Chris Joyaux’s point shot to put them on top 3-2 with 10:40 left in the opening stanza. Things got a bit dicey for Miami as Coleman was called for a five minute major and game misconduct with 5:48 remaining, leading to a five-minute power play for St. Cloud State. MU grinded through that stretch and held SCSU off the board, even having a chance of its own in the form of a Czarnik breakaway that Lindgren stopped to keep it a one-goal game. When the dust cleared, the RedHawks took a 3-2 lead into the locker room after 40 minutes of play.

The Huskies got to go to work on another power play just 1:03 into the third, but the RedHawks were equal to the task again. In fact, Czarnik once again had the best opportunity of the man advantage with a breakaway attempt that missed the net.

Miami’s penalty kill was put to the test two more times in the final period and it proved equal to the challenge. The RedHawks killed off all three Huskie power plays to take the lead into the latter stages of regulation.

SCSU pulled Lindgren for an extra skater with just over a minute to go in regulation and was able to gain entry in the MU zone a couple times, but Miami cut off the shooting lanes from in close and got numerous big clears. With a defensive zone draw and just over seven seconds remaining, the RedHawks got a hard around clear to close out their second conference tournament title in school history and first since winning the Central Collegiate Hockey Association Tournament in 2011.

Miami held a slim 21-20 advantage in shots on goal, yielding just four in the first period and five while nursing a one-goal lead in the third. The Huskies scored on 1-of-5 power plays, but the RedHawks killed their last four attempts, which included a five-minute major late in the second period. Miami went 1-for-3 on the man advantage. In addition to Coleman’s hat trick, Barber dished out two assists to finish with another multi-point game.

Coleman was named the NCHC Tournament MVP and he was joined by Czarnik and Belpedio on the NCHC All-Tournament Team. Williams stopped 18 of 20 shots to earn his third-straight victory. Lindgren stopped 18 of 21 Miami attempts.

The RedHawks earn the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament and move up to fourth in the PairWise. Miami will discover its NCAA Tournament opponent and location during the NCAA Tournament selection show, which airs on ESPNU Sunday at noon.

MINNEAPOLIS – After nearly scaling the mountain last year, a Blake Coleman hat trick delivered the No. 5/6 Miami hockey team some redemption as it topped St. Cloud State, 3-2, in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference Championship Game on Saturday.

The RedHawks (25-13-1) claim their second conference title in school history and their first as a member of the NCHC.

Miami was inches from getting on the board in the opening moments as Alex Wideman grabbed a loose puck atop the left circle and beat Charlie Lindgren, but the shot hit the post. The Huskies were whistled for a penalty during the play, giving the RedHawks the evening’s first power play just 1:39 in. The man advantage had some good puck movement and generated a few quality shots, but Lindgren kept the contest scoreless in the early going.

It took 10 minutes before St. Cloud State to register a shot on goal, but Jay Williams made a sensational stop on a Judd Peterson attempt in the slot. Another Miami chance was generated off a turnover when Sean Kuraly fed Alex Gacek cutting in the slot, but Lindgren knocked his redirect wide. On the same shift, Wideman got fed on the right circle with an opening to the net, but his shot hit the post to keep it a scoreless contest.

Joey Benik put the Huskies on top when his sharp angle shot caromed in off Williams to make it a 1-0 game with eight minutes left in the opening stanza. The RedHawks were able to recover from that when Coleman tipped a puck out of mid-air on Riley Barber’s cross-ice feed and into the net for his 18th goal of the year with 3:45 left in the frame. That goal extended his point streak to six games while Barber’s assist upped his personal point streak to nine games. Cody Murphy also drew the assist on the goal that sent the teams to the locker room tied at 1-1 with Miami holding a 9-4 advantage in shots on goal.

Miami fired the first two shots of the second period, but was kept mostly to the outside for those attempts. A minor penalty at the 5:11 mark gave St. Cloud State its first power play of the night. The nation’s fifth-best power play struck with 13:57 to go in the frame as Jonny Brodzinski blasted a one-timer past Williams from the left circle to put SCSU up 2-1.

Riley Barber weaved through the SCSU defense in the neutral zone on the right wing side and was ultimately tripped up while moving into the slot. That penalty allowed MU a power play opportunity of its own and Coleman delivered by ripping a one-timer of his own from the high slot through traffic to even the score at 2-2 with 12:23 to go in the middle frame. Austin Czarnik and Louie Belpedio each assisted on the tally.

Coleman gave the RedHawks their first lead of the night 1:43 later when he redirected Chris Joyaux’s point shot to put them on top 3-2 with 10:40 left in the opening stanza. Things got a bit dicey for Miami as Coleman was called for a five minute major and game misconduct with 5:48 remaining, leading to a five-minute power play for St. Cloud State. MU grinded through that stretch and held SCSU off the board, even having a chance of its own in the form of a Czarnik breakaway that Lindgren stopped to keep it a one-goal game. When the dust cleared, the RedHawks took a 3-2 lead into the locker room after 40 minutes of play.

The Huskies got to go to work on another power play just 1:03 into the third, but the RedHawks were equal to the task again. In fact, Czarnik once again had the best opportunity of the man advantage with a breakaway attempt that missed the net.

Miami’s penalty kill was put to the test two more times in the final period and it proved equal to the challenge. The RedHawks killed off all three Huskie power plays to take the lead into the latter stages of regulation.

SCSU pulled Lindgren for an extra skater with just over a minute to go in regulation and was able to gain entry in the MU zone a couple times, but Miami cut off the shooting lanes from in close and got numerous big clears. With a defensive zone draw and just over seven seconds remaining, the RedHawks got a hard around clear to close out their second conference tournament title in school history and first since winning the Central Collegiate Hockey Association Tournament in 2011.

Miami held a slim 21-20 advantage in shots on goal, yielding just four in the first period and five while nursing a one-goal lead in the third. The Huskies scored on 1-of-5 power plays, but the RedHawks killed their last four attempts, which included a five-minute major late in the second period. Miami went 1-for-3 on the man advantage. In addition to Coleman’s hat trick, Barber dished out two assists to finish with another multi-point game.

Coleman was named the NCHC Tournament MVP and he was joined by Czarnik and Belpedio on the NCHC All-Tournament Team. Williams stopped 18 of 20 shots to earn his third-straight victory. Lindgren stopped 18 of 21 Miami attempts.

The RedHawks earn the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament and move up to fourth in the PairWise. Miami will discover its NCAA Tournament opponent and location during the NCAA Tournament selection show, which airs on ESPNU Sunday at noon.

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