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Feb. 2, 2007

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FACEOFF
The Ohio State men’s hockey team wraps up a streak of five-consecutive road games with a two-game series at Ferris State this weekend. The Buckeyes (10-11-5, 8-8-4 CCHA) and Bulldogs (7-18-3, 4-14-2 CCHA) will meet at 7:05 p.m. Friday and Saturday in Ewigleben Ice Arena in Big Rapids, Mich.

THE BROADCAST
The Ferris State series will be broadcast by WOSU Radio (820 AM/wosu.org) with Neil Sika (play-by-play) and former Buckeye John Mowat (analysis) on the call.

Live stats can be accessed from the men’s hockey schedule page at ohiostatebuckeyes.com.

LAST TIME OUT
The Buckeyes split a two-game series at then-No. 19 Lake Superior State last weekend, losing the first night, 4-2, before rebounding for a 5-3 victory in game two.

Ferris State was swept at Michigan last weekend, losing 9-4 and 6-2 at Yost Ice Arena.

A BUCKEYE SNAPSHOT
Ohio State enters the Ferris State series 10-11-5 on the year. The squad is in sixth place in the CCHA with an 8-8-4 ledger (20 points).

Senior defenseman Sean Collins leads the Buckeyes with 23 points, followed by junior forward Tommy Goebel with 21 and junior defenseman Jason DeSantis with 20. Goebel and senior forward Mathieu Beaudoin share the team goal-scoring lead with nine tallies each, while DeSantis has a team-best 18 assists on the year. Freshman goaltender Joseph Palmer has started 22 games this season and has a 2.84 goals-against-average with a 10-9-4 record.

A LOOK BACK AT THE LSSU SERIES
Ohio State split its series at No. 19 Lake Superior State last weekend, losing the opener 4-2 but rebounding for a 5-3 victory in game two.

Friday, junior forward Tom Fritsche scored both Buckeye goals, and classmate Tommy Goebel had two assists to extend his point streak to seven games.

Ohio State took a 1-0 lead while on the power play 6:34 into the second period, when Fritsche tipped in a shot. Lake Superior State scored the next three goals to take a 3-1 lead. The Buckeyes cut the score to 3-2 at 12:46 of the third period when Fritsche netted his second goal of the game. The Lakers scored an empty net goal in the last minute of regulation for a 4-2 final.

Saturday, the Buckeyes led 3-0 at the end of the second period on goals by Sean Collins, Domenic Maiani and Goebel. The Lakers scored twice in the third to cut the Ohio State advantage to one (3-2). Senior Mathieu Beaudoin scored an empty-net, shorthanded goal with 1:07 remaining to regain OSU’s two-goal edge. Lake Superior closed out the scoring with an extra-attacker goal with 14 seconds left.

IN THE LEAGUE
With eight CCHA games remaining, the Buckeyes are in sixth place with 20 points. Ohio State is two points behind fifth-place Nebraska-Omaha (20 games played) and five back of fourth-place Michigan State (19 gp). Lake Superior State and Western Michigan are tied for seventh with 19 points each and 20 games played.

BUCKEYES VS. BULLDOGS
Ohio State leads the all-time series with Ferris State, 55-37-11. In games played in Big Rapids, the Bulldogs hold a slight edge, 25-22-3. The series in the last 10 games is 5-4-1 in favor of the Buckeyes.

Last season, the Buckeyes were 1-2-1 vs. Ferris State. In the regular-season series in Columbus, the teams tied, 3-3, Feb. 17 before Ohio State posted a 3-2 comeback win in game two Feb. 18.

The teams then met in the first round of the CCHA tournament, with the Bulldogs sweeping the Buckeyes in Big Rapids, 3-0 and 2-1. It was the second-consecutive season the teams met in the playoffs. The Buckeyes won the 2005 series, 2-1, in Columbus, including a 6-5 overtime victory in the decisive game three.

BACK AGAIN
Ohio State has traveled to Big Rapids in the regular season six of the last seven years, with the lone exception in 2005-06. However, the squad still hit the road to face Ferris State last season, as the squad traveled to face the Bulldogs in the playoffs to extend the stretch of trips to Big Rapids to seven campaigns.

SUCCESS VS. THE BULLDOGS
Junior Tom Fritsche leads the Buckeyes with 12 points, including a team-best 10 assists, against Ferris State. Senior Andrew Schembri is second with 11 points, while classmate Mathieu Beaudoin has a team-high eight goals vs. FSU.

SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS
Ferris State enters the weekend 7-18-3 overall and in 11th place in the CCHA with a 4-14-2 ledger.

The Bulldogs are averaging 2.6 goals a game, while allowing 3.6 goals an outing. The squad has converted 15.9 percent (27/170) of its power-play chances and has stopped 79.8 percent (146/183) of its opponents’ opportunities.

Senior right wing Zac Pearson leads the Bulldogs with 22 points and 14 assists. He shares the team goal-scoring lead with sophomore center Brendan Connolly and senior left wing Eric Vesely with eight each. Sophomore defenseman Chris Zarb is second on the squad with 13 assists.

Sophomore goalie Mitch O’Keefe has played in 24 games for the Bulldogs, with a 3.20 goals-against average and .879 save percentage, along with a 4-17-3 record. Junior Derek MacIntyre has played in seven games, with a 3-1 ledger, and has a 5.00 gaa and .830 svpct.

Bob Daniels, a 1982 graduate of Michigan State, is in his 15th season at the helm of the Bulldogs. He has a school and career record of 232-282-51.

MARKELL VS. THE BULLDOGS
Ohio State head coach John Markell is 23-15-2 all-time vs. Ferris State, marking the most victories he has compiled against a single opponent. His first win at the helm of the Buckeyes was over Ferris State, 7-1, Feb. 18, 1995 in the OSU Ice Rink.

GOEBEL ON A ROLL
Junior forward Tommy Goebel extended his point streak to eight games with three assists in the series with Lake Superior State. He had two helpers in the game Friday and a single assist Saturday. During the last eight games, Goebel has 11 points on two goals and nine assists. Friday was his fifth multiple point game of the year and third during the point streak.

Goebel has been held off the score sheet just six times in 22 games played this season.

DOUBLE UP
Tom Fritsche scored twice at Lake Superior State last Friday, marking his first multiple goal game since Oct. 20, 2005 when he scored twice against Bowling Green. Since his return from sitting out the first half of the season with an intestinal illness, Fritsche has recorded three goals and three assists for six points in eight games.

A WINNING COMBINATION
Since returning to the Buckeye lineup for the Ohio Hockey Classic, junior forward Tom Fritsche has recorded three goals and three assists in his eight games with a plus-3 rating. He has combined with fellow juniors Domenic Maiani and Tommy Goebel for a line that has totaled 26 points in the last eight games. Over the stretch, Goebel has a team-best 11 points and eight assists, while Maiani has a 4-5-9 line.

VOTE FOR NO. 5
Senior defenseman Sean Collins has been selected as a finalist for the Pontiac Frozen Four Skills Challenge as part of the 2007 NCAA Men’s Frozen Four held in St. Louis, Mo. Collins joins Ohio State women’s hockey defenseman Amber Bowman and goaltender Erika Vanderveer as one of 88 finalists chosen by the selection committee.

Buckeye fans can go to www.ncaasports.com or through the link on the right side of the front page of ohiostatebuckeyes.com to vote for Collins, Bowman and Vanderveer. Voting will take place until Feb. 12. Fan votes will be used to help the selection committee decide the 32 student-athletes that will participate in the skills challenge.

Participants in the challenge are in their senior year of eligibility. The event includes a puck-control relay, fastest skater, hardest shot, accuracy shooting, rapid fire shooting and penalty shot competition in a East vs. West format. Both the CCHA and WCHA conferences are part of the western teams.

The skills challenge will take place April 6 at Scottrade Center in St. Louis. The presentation of the Hobey Baker Memorial Award and the Hockey Humanitarian Award also will be part of the evening’s “Friday Night at the Frozen Four.” Tickets go on sale Feb. 3 through Ticketmaster or by calling (314) 241-1888.

Last season, Buckeye goalie Dave Caruso, along with women’s forward Jana Harrigan, participated in the inaugural Skills Challenge.

PRODUCTIVE PENALTY KILL ON THE ROAD
Ohio State stopped 8-of-10 power-play chances vs. Lake Superior State last weekend. In 11 games away from Columbus this season, the Buckeye penalty kill is operating at 91.2 percent, holding opponents scoreless on 65-of-71 power play opportunities.

GET SHORTY
The Buckeyes lead the nation with 11 shorthanded goals this season. Senior Mathieu Beaudoin leads Ohio State with three shorthanded goals this year. In addition to Beaudoin, Bryce Anderson, Kenny Bernard (2), John Dingle, Tommy Goebel, Domenic Maiani (2) and Matt McIlvane all have scored goals while on the penalty kill. Eleven Buckeyes have registered a shorthanded point this season.

The Buckeye record for shorthanded goals in a season is 16, set in 1982.

SHORTHANDED SKILLS
Mathieu Beaudoin is tied for second in the nation with three shorthanded goals this season, while Kenny Bernard and Domenic Maiani are tied for 13th with two shorthanded goals each.

Four of Bernard’s 14 points this season (2g, 2a) have come while on the penalty kill to share the lead in the CCHA in shorthanded points with Beaudoin (4g) and Miami’s Nathan Davis (3-1-4).

IN THE RECORD BOOKS
Mathieu Beaudoin is tied for sixth in the OSU record books for career shorthanded goals with seven and Kenny Bernard is tied for ninth with five. Beaudoin’s three shorthanded goals this season are tied for 10th in program history, set 12 times prior (including Beaudoin in 2004-05 and Bernard in 2005-06).

WELCOME BACK
Ohio State welcomed one of its top players from the last two seasons, Tom Fritsche, back into the lineup at the Ohio Hockey Classic. Playing in his first games since March 4, 2006, the junior forward shook off the rust and had an assist in each of Ohio State’s games. After missing the first 18 games of the season due to an intestinal illness, Fritsche set up a goal of his first shift back, assisting on the opening goal just 1:40 into the game vs. Minnesota Duluth. He followed with an assist in the Buckeyes’ 5-3 win vs. Miami in the championship game.

DYNAMIC DUO
Senior captain Sean Collins is second among CCHA defensemen in scoring with 23 points overall this season. Jason DeSantis is tied for third with 20 points.

Nationally, Collins is seventh in defenseman scoring with 0.88 points per game, while DeSantis is tied for 14th at 0.71.

UP THE CHARTS
Sean Collins has 83 career points to rank ninth in program history among defensemen. He is four points behind eighth-place Brian Jenks (1978-81). The all-time leader is Dan Mandich, who had 138 points from 1979-82. Collins has played in a team-best 146 games (tied) for the Scarlet and Gray. His 83 points are the most for a Buckeye defensemen since Doug Andress had 89 from 2001-04.

A HELPING HAND
Jason DeSantis’ team-leading 18 assists are the eighth most in the CCHA and is tied for the lead among all league defensemen. He has the fourth-most (tied) assists of any defenseman in the nation.

Through 26 games this season, DeSantis has more than doubled his career assist total. He entered 2006-07 with just nine helpers through his first two seasons.

THE WINNING EDGE
In Ohio State’s 10 victories this season, the team is outscoring its opponents 45-18, an average of 4.5 goals to 1.8. The Buckeye power play is 13-of-53 (24.5 percent) while the penalty kill is 59-of-67 (88.1 percent).

CATCHING UP
Three Buckeye seniors from last season have continued their hockey careers. Forward Rod Pelley (Lowell Devils/New Jersey) and defenseman Nate Guenin (Philadelphia Phantoms/Philadelphia) both have spent the majority of the season in the AHL but have recently been called up to the NHL. Guenin recently was called up by the Flyers and made his NHL debut Jan. 18. Pelley was called up by the Devils Wednesday and could make his NHL debut Thursday night vs. Guenin and the Flyers. Goalie Dave Caruso (Gwinett Gladiators) is in the ECHL.

Two former Buckeyes are on NHL rosters this season. R.J. Umberger skates for the Philadelphia Flyers, while Ryan Kesler plays for the Vancouver Canucks but currently is out because of hip surgery. Eric Meloche was called up to the Flyers Nov. 3-11, but was reassigned to the AHL Phantoms Nov. 12. Dave Steckel has played three games for the Washington Capitals but currently is with Hershey of the AHL. Scott May is on the AHL’s Iowa Stars roster.

In addition, Daymen Bencharski (Charlotte), Doug Andress (Johnstown) and JB Bittner (Idaho) are playing in the ECHL. Paul Caponigri (Chicago), Chris Richards (Youngstown) and Jason Selleke (Flint) are playing in the UHL. Mike McCormick and Hugo Boisvert are in Germany and Andre Signoretti and Jeff Maund are on teams in Italy.

READY FOR THE REMATCH
Ohio State is 5-2-3 in the second games of CCHA series this season, including a 4-1-1 ledger in road games. The Buckeyes are outscoring opponents 32-23 in those games and have scored on 17.9 percent of their power-play chances.

The Buckeyes have recorded at least one point in each CCHA series this season.

75 AND COUNTING
With three points in the Ohio Hockey Classic, senior forward Mathieu Beaudoin surpassed the 75-point milestone. He now has 47 goals and 32 assists for 79 points. Defenseman Sean Collins reached the 75-point mark of his career Dec. 1, and has career totals of 27 goals and 56 assists for 83 points. Classmate Andrew Schembri, who passed the 75-point mark Nov. 9 at Bowling Green has totals of 33 goals and 51 assists for 83 points.

Junior Domenic Maiani is four away from the 75-point mark, with a 25-46-71 line.

WORKING OVERTIME
The Buckeyes played in their sixth overtime game of the season Jan. 19 vs. Miami, skating to a 4-4 tie with the RedHawks. OSU is 0-1-5 in extra sessions this season. Only five of Ohio State’s 39 games last season went into overtime, with all five ending in ties. The most overtime games the Buckeyes have played in a season are 10 in back-to-back seasons (2000-01, 2001-02).

MAIANI EARNS CCHA AND INCH AWARDS
Junior forward Domenic Maiani earned both Inside College Hockey (INCH) Player of the Week and CCHA Offensive Player of the Week honors after his four-point performance in the sweep of conference opponent Alaska Jan. 5 and 7 at Value City Arena. The INCH honor was the first national recognition for a Buckeye this season while his CCHA award was the first for an OSU forward this season.

Maiani had three points on a goal and two assists in the 6-2 win Friday for his second three-point game of the season. He opened the scoring Sunday in the eventual 3-2 victory with his second power play goal of the series.

OHIO STATE WINS OHIO HOCKEY CLASSIC
Ohio State won the 2006 Ohio Hockey Classic, defeating then-No. 4 Miami, 5-3, in the championship game Dec. 30 at Nationwide Arena. It was the first OHC title for Ohio State in the three-year history of the tournament. All five OSU goals against the RedHawks were scored by seniors as seven of eight members of the class had at least one point in the game, led by forwards Kenny Bernard and Mathieu Beaudoin who each tallied a goal and an assist.

The Buckeyes topped Minnesota Duluth of the WCHA, 4-1, in their first round game Dec. 29. Goaltender Joseph Palmer stopped 19 of 20 shots faced and 11 different OSU players had a point in the victory.

FOUR BUCKEYES NAMED TO OHC ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM; COLLINS MVP
Senior captain Sean Collins was named MVP of the 2006 Ohio Hockey Classic and joined teammates Tom Fritsche, Tommy Goebel and Joseph Palmer on the All-Tournament team. Marty Guerin of Miami and Matt Niskannen of Minnesota Duluth rounded out the team.

COLLINS EARNS THIRD CCHA HONOR
Senior defenseman Sean Collins received his third CCHA Player of the Week honor this season Jan. 2 when he earned the defenseman award after being named Ohio Hockey Classic MVP with two goals in the tournament. He had the first goal of the game Dec. 29 vs. Minnesota Duluth just 1:40 into the contest. The captain followed with a lamplighter in the second period against Miami Dec. 30 to give the Buckeyes a 3-2 lead in the eventual 5-3 championship game victory.

Collins finished the tournament with a plus-3 rating as well as five blocked shots. He also was a key part of the Ohio State penalty kill that was a perfect 9-for-9 against two of the top power play units in the nation. It was the seventh CCHA Player of the Week honor of his career.

PALMER ALSO RECOGNIZED BY CCHA
Also earning CCHA Player of the Week laurels was goaltender Joseph Palmer, who was named rookie of the week for Jan. 2. It was his second weekly league award for games played in the month of December. Palmer backstopped the Buckeyes to the Ohio Hockey Classic title and was named to the All-Tournament team for his efforts. He stopped 42 of 46 shots (.913) including all 13 power play shots faced in the two games. Palmer held Minnesota Duluth to just one goal with 19 saves in the 4-1 win for his fourth time this season of limiting an opponent to one goal or less. He followed with a 23-save performance against then-No. 4 Miami.

MAN-DOWN?
In Ohio State’s 4-1 win at Michigan State Dec. 2, its opening two goals were scored shorthanded – on the same penalty kill. Junior forward Domenic Maiani scored the first SHG of his career at 19:48 of the first period. The Buckeyes started the second period killing off the same penalty, with senior forward Bryce Anderson tallying his first lamplighter of the season, and second SHG goal of his career, just 42 seconds into the stanza.

NOVEMBER TO REMEMBER FOR ELKINS
After picking up his first two points as a Buckeye with a goal and assist vs. Western Michigan (Nov. 9), sophomore forward Corey Elkins followed with a hat trick at Bowling Green (Nov. 17) and a two-point performance vs. Colgate (Nov. 24) in the Rensselaer/Bank of America Holiday Tournament. Elkins finished with the second-highest point total for a Buckeye in the month of November with 5-2–7. All seven points are the first of his career.

Against Bowling Green, Elkins scored one goal in the first period and two of the last three OSU goals in the third. His three goals were scored against three different Falcon goaltenders (Jimmy Spratt, Eddie Neville and Phil Greer).

OFFENSIVE OUTBURST
The nine goals scored by the Buckeyes Nov. 17 at Bowling Green were the most in a game since the team defeated Miami Oct. 21, 2004 by the same 9-3 score. The six-goal margin was the largest since OSU topped Western Michigan 7-0, Jan. 29, 2005.

The 13 OSU goals scored in the Bowling Green series were the most in a series since scoring 14 in a two-game home series vs. Illinois-Chicago, Dec. 13-14, 1991. It was the Buckeyes’ largest goal total in consecutive games since 2000, when the team defeated Findlay 1-0 Nov. 28 and followed with a 6-1 win at Ferris State Dec. 1.

THREE’S COMPANY
Senior forward Kenny Bernard scored two shorthanded goals vs. Western Michigan Nov. 9, tying the OSU individual record for shorthanded goals in a game. It was just the third time a Buckeye has tallied two SHG in a game, along with Dave Steckel (Nov. 29, 2003 at Bowling Green) and Paul Pooley (Feb. 14, 1981 at Bowling Green).

PAUL POOLEY NUMBER RETIREMENT
In the first intermission of the Nov. 4 game against Notre Dame, the Ohio State men’s hockey team retired its first number in program history in Paul Pooley’s No. 22 jersey. Pooley, a former Buckeye All-American who played for the Scarlet and Gray 1981-84, is the team’s all-time leading scorer with 270 points as well as the record-holder for career goals and assists and single-season points and assists. He was named the Bauer National Player of the Year in 1981 and is the only Buckeye ever to be named CCHA Player of the Year.

A standout in the classroom as well, Pooley, a marketing major, was a three-time CCHA All- Academic Team honoree. He was inducted to the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame in 1994.

HATS OFF
Senior forward and alternate captain Mathieu Beaudoin had a hat trick against Lake Superior State (Oct. 14), the first of his career. His three goals, each of which tied the game, included a shorthanded score, power-play tally and extra-attacker goal with just 0.2 seconds left in regulation to send the game to overtime.

It was the Buckeyes’ first hat trick since Tom Fritsche had three goals against Sacred Heart Jan. 29, 2005. Beaudoin had seven two-goal games in his Buckeye career before the hat trick vs. LSSU.

START IT UP
Freshman goalie Joseph Palmer started season-opening game for Ohio State against Lake Superior State Oct. 13, posting 22 saves for his first career shutout and win in OSU’s 1-0 victory.

He was the first Buckeye freshman to start a season opener since Mike Betz was between the pipes against Northern Michigan in the first game of the 2000-01 campaign. Ohio State posted a 5-3 win in that game in Marquette Oct. 13, 2000.

CATCHING UP
The Ohio State men’s hockey alumni association has a new website – osuhockeyalumni.com. Hockey alums can check in and keep up with all the association happenings.

LEADING THE TROOPS
Sean Collins was named Ohio State team captain for the 2006-07 season, while Mathieu Beaudoin and Matt McIlvane were selected alternate captains following a team vote. Collins served as an alternate captain for the Buckeyes last season.

WHO’S BACK
The Buckeyes returned 18-of-23 letterwinners and 21 players overall this season from the 2005-06 squad. Included in the returnees are the Top 6 scorers, including the Top 4 scoring forwards and Top 2 scoring defensemen.

THE BREAKDOWN
The Buckeye squad is laden with upperclassmen, with eight seniors and 11 juniors, along with just two sophomores and three freshmen, comprising the roster this season.

UP NEXT
Ohio State will return home to host Northern Michigan Feb. 9-10. Both games will be at 8:0 5 p.m. in Value City Arena. The series opener will be televised live on CSTV.