OXFORD, Ohio â€” Lake Superior State swept No. 9 Miami out of the CCHA playoffs Saturday night. Propelled by another dominating performance by goaltender Jeff Jakaitis (43 saves), the visiting Lakers stunned the RedHawks 2-1.
LSSU's first-year coach, Jim Roque was ecstatic with his team's effort, especially considering the condition of his troops. "We had guys hurt. Our leading scoring (Troy Schwab) didn't play all weekend. [Defenseman] Ryan Baird was puking all game on the bench. We didn't even have a full lineup. We only dressed 17 skaters."
Senior Jeff Rainville continued his torrid tear, scoring two goals for a total of three this weekend. The Ontario native is surging since the start of the CCHA playoffs. He totaled five assists last weekend against Ferris State.
LSSU jumped out to an early lead 11:51 into the first period thanks to a Miami defensive lapse in its zone. Rainville forced a turnover right in front of the net and scored easily, glove side.
After Miami evened the score with five minutes left in the contest, Rainville once again found the back of the net less than two minutes later, firing a shot over RedHawks' netminder Jeff Zatkoff's left shoulder from the slot.
This was another instance where LSSU capitalized on a Miami mistake. The RedHawks were unable to clear the puck from their zone. Forward Trent Campbell was able to secure the puck and find Rainville for the assist.
"Jeff Rainville scored two huge goals." Roque said, elated with his senior's recent play. "[The seniors] had tough seasons. [Rainville] thought he could have scored more. Dominic [Osman] and Trent Campbell, they thought they would have bigger years. It is just the perfect time to have a great playoffs. I'm so glad for them."
Daydreaming through most of the game, the arena came to life after the announcement that MU's men's basketball team claimed the MAC tournament title against Akron on a thrilling last-second shot, 53-52. This seemed to add a little spark to the RedHawks. Moments later, 14:45 into the third period, the Red and White were finally able to break through. Ryan Jones deflected an Alec Martinez shot for his first goal of the series.
It appeared that the RedHawks were destined for overtime at the very least, before a costly mistake in their own zone led to Rainville's winning score.