Williams gets chance to play after Michigan’s goal explosion

Jay Williams saw his first action in a month Saturday. It wasn’t what he was expecting.

The Miami University freshman replaced classmate Ryan McKay in goal after Michigan stormed to a 4-0 lead en route to a 6-2 triumph in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association semifinals at Joe Louis Arena.

“It’s not ideal, but my job is to always be ready,” said Williams, who gave up two goals and had nine saves in 28 minutes and 27 seconds between the pipes. “I make sure I’m doing the right things in practice so that if something like that does happen, I can step in and not miss a beat.”

McKay made it through a scoreless opening stanza, then Andrew Copp got the Wolverines on the board with a shorthanded goal in the first four minutes of the second period. Just under six minutes later, Michigan began a three-goal binge that covered 2:11.

McKay totaled 12 saves. He “respectfully declined” an interview request after the contest, according to MU spokesman Michael Weisman.

“You try not to think about the situation when you’re coming in at 4-0,” said Williams, who last played Feb. 22 at Lake Superior State. “Once you make that first save, it’s like riding a bicycle. It’s something you never forget.

“They’re good. It’s Michigan. They’ve got a lot of high-end guys, a lot of offensive talent. We’ve got to use it as a learning lesson and get ready for next weekend (in the NCAA tournament) because whoever we end up playing is going to be just as good or better than those guys. We’ve got to find a way. We can’t make any excuses.”

The RedHawks hadn’t allowed more than four goals in a game this season before Saturday.

Getting the goals: Sean Kuraly scored Miami’s first goal and Curtis McKenzie marked the second. Austin Czarnik picked up a pair of assists, and Matthew Caito also had one.

“Right off the beginning, a couple bounces didn’t go our way,” Kuraly said. “We’ll learn to react to that a little better.”

Added McKenzie, “We got a little frustrated, didn’t play the way we’ve been playing, and they took it to us. I think we’ve responded well (all year). As long as we learn from this game, I think we’ll be ready to go for tournament time.”

Looking ahead: The NCAA tournament field will be announced Sunday night. Will MU be a No. 1 seed? A No. 2? RedHawks coach Enrico Blasi doesn’t care.

“Wherever we fit, we fit, and then we go from there,” he said. “We’ve gone to the Frozen Four being a 4 seed, and we’ve been beaten in the first round being a 1 seed. We’re just thankful we’re going to be in the national tournament.

“Yesterday might have been the craziest day I’ve ever seen in college hockey in terms of the PairWise (ratings). Things were going wacko. We feel blessed that we’re in the tournament, and we’re going to try to make the most of it.”

The four NCAA regional sites are Toledo, Grand Rapids, Mich., Manchester, N.H., and Providence, R.I. The Frozen Four will be held in Pittsburgh.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Sports

HS Results 1/22: Robinette posts triple-double for New Miami

Jordan Robinette’s triple-double performance helped New Miami take down SCPA 84-36 in boys basketball on Monday. Robinette tallied 11 points, 10 steals and 10 assists. Deanza Duncan led the scoring for New Miami with 21 points and Nate Hobbs tacked on 14. Girls Basketball Springboro 50, Lakota East 41: Lauren Thomas totaled nine points off the...
Surging 13th-ranked Buckeyes top Nebraska for fourth win in eight days
Surging 13th-ranked Buckeyes top Nebraska for fourth win in eight days

Keita Bates-Diop scored 14 of his 20 points in the second half and No. 13 Ohio State beat Nebraska 64-59 on Monday night, the fourth victory for the surging Buckeyes in the last eight days. The back-and-forth game had seven lead changes in the second half. A pair of foul shots by Nebraska’s James Palmer Jr. cut Ohio State&rsquo...
HS Scores 1/22: ‘Boro beats East, Tecumseh edges Miamisburg

Boys Basketball Monday’s Results New Miami 84, SCPA 36: Duncan (NM) 21; McEachin (SCPA) 14. Girls Basketball Monday’s Results Beavercreek 43, Bellbrook 28: Dilsavor (Bea) 12; Hofacker (Bel) 6. Bethel 51, Piqua 46: Hawthorn (B) 14; Stewart (P) 17. Botkins 54, Indian Lake 23: Bergman (B) 18. Brookville 39, Twin Valley South 29: Bronner (B)...
TCU rebounds in style with signature upset of No. 7 West Virginia
TCU rebounds in style with signature upset of No. 7 West Virginia

FORT WORTH — TCU men’s basketball suffered five of the most humbling losses one could imagine during the team’s first seven games of Big 12 play. Monday night had a different tune for Jamie Dixon and the Horned Frogs as they stunned No. 7 West Virginia 82-73  for their first win against the Mountaineers...
Pac-12 leads Power 5 conferences with 29 players on Super Bowl rosters
Pac-12 leads Power 5 conferences with 29 players on Super Bowl rosters

The Pac-12 has more of its players on Super Bowl 52 rosters for the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots than any other Power 5 conference. The Pac-12’s 29 players playing in Super Bowl 52 edge out the SEC’s 28. The Big Ten is second with 27. Here’s a breakdown of all the players from Pac-12 teams heading to Minneapolis...
More Stories