Dec. 6, 2006
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - For the second time in as many years a member of Miami University's ice hockey team will represent the United States at the International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship. Sophomore goaltender Jeff Zatkoff (Chesterfield, Mich.) was selected by USA Hockey as one of 22 players who will represent their country from Dec. 26 - Jan 5 in Leksand and Mora, Sweden. Last year, Nathan Davis served as an assistant captain for Team USA at the tournament in British Columbia.
"It is a great honor to represent my country and I am guessing that the rest of the guys feel the same way," said Zatkoff. "Making the team was definitely something that has been in the back of my mind all season so there is a lot of excitement and relief at the same time."
The 2007 U.S. National Junior Team is comprised of the best American players under the age of 20. Ron Rolston, the head coach of the U.S. National Under -18 Team, will serve as the team's head coach, while Phil Housley and Nate Leaman will be assistant coaches.
A native of Chesterfield, Mich., Zatkoff boasts a 9-3-0 record this season with a 2.26 goals-against average and .919 save percentage. He has won six of his last seven starts, including series sweeps of Nebraska-Omaha and Ferris State, and enters this weekend's series with Ohio State with a 23-8-1 career record.
"We are very proud of Jeff and this is obviously a great honor for him," said Miami head coach Enrico Blasi. "With as hard as he has worked over the past two years to make himself the goalie he is today, this is definitely something he deserves and it should help him develop as a player."
A third-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Kings last summer, Zatkoff burst onto the college hockey scene as a freshman with a 14-5-1 record last season, and a winning percentage (.725) that ranked fourth nationally. His 2.02 GAA and .928 save percentage ranked him in the nation's top 10 in both categories. He posted a team-best three shutouts, including a 4-0 win over Wayne State (Oct. 9) for his first collegiate victory.
The 6-foot-2, 170-pound Zatkoff is one of two goaltenders on the roster for Team USA. He is joined by Jeff Frazee from the University of Minnesota. Additionally, he is one of four players on the roster from the Central Collegiate Hockey Association.
The 2007 IIHF World Championship features athletes under the age of 20 on international teams representing the United States, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Belarus, Germany, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden and Switzerland. The United States plays two exhibition games before opening the tournament versus Germany on Dec. 26. Team USA is in a pool with Germany, Canada, Slovakia and Sweden.