Here at Hustle Belt, we are the ambassador of all things MACtion, and that isn't limited to just when the players suit up for one of our Mid-American Conference member institutions. Much like that tattoo you got on spring break (I'm sure it was cool at the time), MACtion stays with you forever. Two teams are left vying for hockey’s prized trophy and both teams sport ties to the Miami hockey program, bringing a little MACtion to Lord Stanley's Cup.
The Stanley Cup Finals begin on May 30 and pit the San Jose Sharks against the Pittsburgh Penguins, with former RedHawk captain Tommy Wingels suiting up for the Sharks and former netminder Jeff Zatkoff on the Penguins’ roster.
Wingels suited up in 68 games for San Jose this season, netting 18 points on seven goals and 11 assists. In 16 playoff games, he has scored twice, including the game-winning goal in game 2 of the Western Conference Finals to help turn the team’s series around against St. Louis, while maintaining a +4 rating. Zatkoff played 14 games (11 starts) in goal for the Penguins with a 2.79 goals against average and a .917 save percentage. While he has ceded the crease since Matt Murray returned from injury, Zatkoff filled in admirably in net for Pittsburgh’s first two playoff games, earning a victory in his first ever playoff start after stopping 35 of 37 shots against the New York Rangers in the Penguins’ playoff opener.
With Miami, Wingels posted 99 points on 43 goals and 56 assists in 127 games over his three years with the Red and White. In Wingels’ freshman season (2007-08), Miami won a program-record 33 games and advanced to a regional final before making the Frozen Four in each of the following two seasons, including a trip to the national championship game in 2009. Zatkoff was also a part of the record-setting 2007-08 squad, the last of his three-year career with the team, going 27-8-1 with a 1.73 goals against average and a .933 save percentage. His career 1.97 goals against average is the second best in school history while his .927 career save percentage remains a school record.
Either Wingels or Zatkoff will become the fourth Miami player to hoist the Stanley Cup, all of which have come since 2004. One of them will join Dan Boyle (2004), Kevyn Adams (2006) and Alec Martinez (2012 and 2014) in seeing their names live on in Stanley Cup lore.