Originally posted on Fox Sports Ohio  |  Last updated 3/30/13
TOLEDO, Ohio Seniors Curtis McKenzie, Marc Hagel and sophomore Cody Murphy scored even-strength goals while freshman goalie Ryan McKay stopped 20 shots as Miami beat Minnesota State, 4-0, Saturday evening in the NCAA Midwest regional semifinals at the Huntington Center. In a matchup of one of the nations top defenses against one of college hockeys most explosive offenses, defense won out. Miami blocked 28 shots in front of McKay to help him to his fourth shutout of the season. Minnesota St. (24-14-3) had not been shut out since March 3, 2012, before Saturday. The second-seeded RedHawks (25-11-5) advance to face fourth-seeded St. Cloud St. (24-15-1) in Sundays regional final for a spot in the Frozen Four in Pittsburgh in two weeks. St. Cloud St. beat top-seeded Notre Dame 5-1 in Saturdays first semifinal. Sundays face-off is scheduled for 4 p.m. Miami and St. Cloud St. will be members of the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference next season. McKenzie put Miami on the board at 11:04 of the second period when he beat Minnesota St. freshman goalie Stephon Williams off passes from Austin Czarnik and Riley Barber. Barber had just come out of the penalty box when the RedHawks were able to capitalize on their rush up the ice. Hagel made it 2-0 for Miami 2:30 into the third period when he decisively put away a cross-net pass from Blake Coleman to beat Williams. It became 3-0 when Murphy flipped the puck over a sprawled out Williams at 9:24 of the period. Williams had stopped a couple of shots but Murphy took advantage of him being out of position. Max Cook added an empty-net goal with 58 seconds remaining for the final tally. Czarnik and Coleman each had two assists for the RedHawks. Minnesota St. entered the tournament with the fourth best power play efficiency in the nation at 23.4 percent and the 44 power play goals by the Mavericks led the nation. Miami killed off 88.1 percent of the short-handed situations it faced this season, sixth-best in the nation, while the 163 power plays killed off were the most in the nation. Miami killed off all four power plays it faced. The RedHawks failed to score on its lone power play opportunity, a five-minute chance in the first period. Minnesota St. got its first power play opportunity when Miami senior defensemen Steven Spinell was called for slashing 6:31 into the game. The Mavericks had one shot go off the post the referees reviewed the play and confirmed it did not go into the net but the RedHawks survived. They ended the period in the middle of another man-disadvantage, this time with freshman defenseman Matthew Caito was sent off for two minutes for interference. Miami is now 23-0-0 this season when leading after two periods. Miami had lost in the regional semifinals the last two years after making consecutive Frozen Four appearances in 2009 and 2010.
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