Miami (20-15-3, 13-12-3 CCHA) earned home ice for the first round of the CCHA playoffs with a 3-0 shutout of Lake Superior State (6-26-4, 3-24-1 CCHA) gave the RedHawks the No. 6 seed. Senior goalie David Burleigh shined in his final regular-season game in Goggin Ice Arena as he made 28 saves in his Miami record 12th career shutout.
Entering the game, the RedHawks needed Michigan State to either tie or defeat Western Michigan for a chance to host the first round of the playoffs. The Spartans did their part by beating WMU 8-5, and the RedHawks sealed the deal with their fourth blanking of the season.
Miami took a 1-0 lead in the first period when freshman Chris Michael scored a power-play goal off a faceoff at 18:57. Michael cleanly won the faceoff to junior Greg Hogeboom. Hogeboom kicked the puck to Michael, who skated in untouched and put a shot top shelf for his seventh goal of the season.
Junior Ben Tharp added to the RedHawks’ lead when he scored his second goal of the series on the power play at 15:56 in the second period. The RedHawks worked the puck around the perimeter on the power play, and the goal took shape when junior Mike Kompon switched sides with Tharp at the point. Kompon swung the puck over to Tharp, who wristed his third goal of the season over the shoulder of LSSU goalie Matt Violin.
The RedHawks added a third goal at 12:17 in the third period. Freshman Taylor Hustead electrified the crowd when he received a long pass from senior Nick Jardine at LSSU’s blue line and backhanded a shot into the back of the net on the breakaway.
Burleigh, who owns every Miami goaltending record, was brilliant between the pipes for Miami stopping 28 shots including several Lakers shots from point-blank range. The shutout is his fourth of the season, which breaks his own record. LSSU goalie Matt Violin, despite suffering the loss, was solid in net for the Lakers, saving 38 total shots.
The RedHawks finish the regular season in a three-way tie for fifth place with Northern Michigan and Notre Dame with a 13-12-3 conference record. Northern Michigan will be the No. 5 seed in the tournament, while Miami wins the tiebreaker over Notre Dame on account of a 5-4 goal differential in its season series against the Irish.