By John Lachmann
RedHawkey has not paid respect to Miami alums nearly enough this season, but many former players are having outstanding seasons at several levels in the pros.
In the NHL alone, forwards Reilly Smith and Tommy Wingels, defenseman Alec Martinez and goalie Jeff Zatkoff are having career seasons.
NHL: Wingels had eight goals in two previous seasons, but he has doubled that in the first 73 games in this campaign. Wingels was 8-14-22 entering 2013-14 but has 16 goals and 22 assists thus far this season.
Smith has thrived after being traded to Boston, going 5-2-7 in a three-game span in December and notching points in seven straight games in January.
Martinez scored seven goals in March, which is unheard of for a defenseman in today’s NHL. Even more amazing is that he did that on just 23 shots for a 30.4 shooting percentage. Martinez has 11 goals this season after netting just 12 prior to 2013-14.
Zatkoff benefitted from Tomas Vokoun’s unfortunate ailment, but he has held his own as the Penguins’ backup. He had never played in the NHL prior to 2013-14 but is 12-6 with a 2.58 goals-against average and a .915 save percentage.
AHL: Forward Andy Miele has points in six straight games, going 4-8-12 in that stretch. Miele has 68 points this season after posting 54 and 53 his previous two AHL seasons.
Forward Curtis McKenzie scored a goal and assisted on another on March 29, moving the professional rookie into 11th on the AHL scoring leader list.
Defenseman Chris Wideman finished with 18 points in his rookie season in 2012-13 with the B-Sens, but he has seven goals and 40 assists this campaign. In his last five games he has racked up six helpers.
Earning well-deserved promotions this season are defenseman Vincent LoVerde and forward Marc Hagel.
LoVerde has played 67 games for Manchester and has two goals, 15 assists and a team-best plus-37 rating. Hagel dominated in the ECHL and has scored seven goals in 39 games for Iowa since his promotion.
ECHL: Gary Steffes’ stats have remained nearly the same despite his move from the CHL to Bakersfield. Steffes is tied for fourth on his team in goals (18) and has five markers in his last six games.
Fort Wayne defenseman Joe Hartman is tied for the fourth-best plus-minus rating on the Komets at plus-10 and is one of only two players to participate in all 68 of Fort Wayne’s games. The rookie has three goals and eight assists.
Europe: Forwards Evan Cheverie and Dustin Whitecotton, teammates in Oxford for two seasons (1998-99 and 1999-2000) ran away with the regular season championship with Belfast of the United Kingdom’s Elite Ice Hockey League.
Belfast finished 43-9, with Whitecotton and Cheverie finishing tied for 11th and 17th in points, respectively.
The Giants are headed to the league semifinals after sweeping the Hull Stingrays in a best-of-3 series. Belfast will face the Fife Flyers for the opportunity to advance to the league championship series.
Forward Pat Leahy’s Linz team in Austria was swept by Salzburg in the EBEL semifinals. Leahy went 17-17-34 in 43 regular season games.
Forward/defenseman Matt Tomassoni is in the finals of the EBEL. He scored two goals vs. Fehervar in the best-of-five semifinal round.
Sudtirol won Game 1 of its finals round, 6-1 over Salzburg, and Tomassoni went plus-2 in the series opener.
Here are the stats of former Miamians playing professional hockey around the world:
F Reilly Smith, BOS 77 GP, 19-30—49
F Tommy Wingels, SJ, 73 GP, 16-22—38
D Dan Boyle, SJ, 71 GP, 11-22—33
D Andy Greene, NJ, 76 GP, 8-24—32
D Alec Martinez, LA, 57 GP, 11-11—22
F Ryan Jones, EDM, 52 GP, 2-4—6
F Andy Miele, PHX, 7 GP, 0-2—2*
D Cameron Schilling, WSH, 1 GP, 0-0—0*
G Jeff Zatkoff, PIT, 18 GP, 12-6, 2.58 GAA, .915 Sv%
F Andy Miele, POR, 62 GP, 27-41—68
F Curtis McKenzie, TEX, 68 GP, 22-37—59
D Chris Wideman, BNG, 66 GP, 7-40—47
F Carter Camper, SPR, 54 GP, 9-35—44
F Pat Cannone, CHI, 51 GP, 13-13—26
D Vincent LoVerde, MNC, 67 GP, 2-15—17
D Cameron Schilling, HER, 62 GP, 3-10—13
F Marc Hagel, IOW, 39 GP, 7-5—12
F Tyler Biggs, TOR, 53 GP, 7-2—9
F Trent Vogelhuber, SPR, 25 GP, 1-7—8
F Justin Mercier, IOW, 15 GP, 2-3—5*
D Will Weber, SPR, 57 GP, 1-4—5
F Ryan Jones, OKC, 4 GP, 2-0—2*
F Alden Hirschfeld, GRP, 11 GP, 1-1—2
D Steve Spinell, PRO, 7 GP, 0-0—0*
G Connor Knapp, RCH, 2 GP, 0-2, 4.03 GAA, .873 Sv%
F Gary Steffes, BAK, 55 GP, 17-16—33
F Alden Hirschfeld, TOL, 49 GP, 9-20—29
F Justin Mercier, IDA, 43 GP, 13-10—23
F Marc Hagel, S.C., 21 GP, 9-8—17*
D Joe Hartman, FW, 67 GP, 3-8—11
D Steve Spinell, S.C., 54 GP, 1-8—9
G Connor Knapp, AKA, 29 GP, 11-16, 2.53 GAA, .920 Sv%
G Cody Reichard, ORL, 31 GP, 15-14, 3.24 GAA, .902 Sv%
F Brandon Smith, MIS, 3 GP, 0-0—0*
Whitecotton, Belfast, EIHL (Britain), 59 GP, 18-49—67
F Evan Cheverie, Belfast, EIHL (Britain), 56 GP, 15-50—65
F Pat Leahy, Linz, EBEL (Austria) 43 GP, 17-17—34
F Randy Robitaille, Donbass, KHL (Russia), 49 GP, 8-20—28
F/D Matt Tomassoni, Bolzano, EBEL (Austria), 48 GP, 6-12—18
*-not currently with team