OXFORD, Ohio — After sweeping Bowling Green out of the playoffs with their 4-2 victory Saturday night, the Miami RedHawks are headed to “The Joe” in Detroit, for the CCHA Championship. This will be Miami’s second trip to Joe Louis Arena in three years.
Junior goaltender Jeff Zatkoff earned second-star honors, as he stopped 41 of the 43 shots BGSU threw his way, giving him 25 victories this season. Saturday’s game marked the most saves by Zatkoff this season.
Playing in their last game in Oxford, seniors Ryan Jones and Nathan Davis each scored for the RedHawks, including the game-winner from Davis. Jones (90) and Davis (63) sit second and 11th, respectively, on Miami’s all-time goal scoring list. The two are now the second-highest scoring classmates in school history, trailing only Rick Kuraly (101) and Steve Morris (64).
Senior defenseman Mitch Ganzak chipped in an assist on Davis’ second period goal, giving him 26 helpers this year, which leads the conference in assists by a defenseman. Ganzak needs just one more point this season to become the 41st member of Miami’s 100-point club.
The RedHawks started the night’s scoring just six minutes into the game, as junior forward Justin Mercier tipped a pass from linemate Tommy Wingels behind Bowling Green netminder Nick Eno. The goal was Mercier’s first goal in his last four games.
Freshman forward Carter Camper, playing in just his second game back after missing the previous eight with an injury, scored for Miami to extend its lead to 2-0. Camper is now tied with Northern Michigan’s Mark Olver for the second most points (36) by a CCHA rookie this season.
The Falcons answered back 1:13 later, as junior goaltender Jeff Zatkoff stopped the initial BGSU shot by captain Derek Whitmore, but sophomore Tommy Dee was able to pick up the loose puck and deposit it into the back of Miami’s net.
During Miami’s fourth power play of the evening, senior alternate captain Nathan Davis extended the RedHawks’ lead to 3-1. The score pushed Davis’ goal streak to three games.
Senior captain Ryan Jones skated into the offensive zone with 1:06 remaining in the second period, and rifled a shot past Falcon netminder Nick Eno. The goal was Jones’ 30th of the season, making him the first skater in the nation to reach the lofty plateau. Jones is just the sixth player in Miami’s history to score 30 in one season.
Bowling Green attempted a late rally in the third period, as Brandon Svendsen scored for the Falcons, closing the gap to two goals. The score would prove to be too little, too late, as the RedHawks defense stood strong the remaining three minutes of the game, to preserve the 4-2 victory.