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Oct. 27, 2004

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Faceoff
The Ohio State men’s hockey (4-2, 4-0 CCHA), on a four-game winning streak, travels to Kalamazoo, Mich., to take on Central Collegiate Hockey Association foe Western Michigan (1-3, 1-3 CCHA) in a two-game series. The teams will meet at 7:35 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Lawson Arena.

The Broadcast
The games at Western Michigan will be broadcast live by WOSU Radio (820 AM/wosu.org) with Neil Sika (play-by-play) and former Buckeye John Mowat (color) on the call. In addition, live stats from the game can be found online by following the links on the men’s hockey schedule page at ohiostatebuckeyes.com.

Last Time Out
Ohio State swept Miami in a home-and-home series last weekend, posting a 9-3 win in Columbus Thursday and a 2-1 victory in Oxford Friday.

Western Michigan was swept at Nebraska-Omaha, suffering a 7-3 loss Friday and a 4-3 overtime defeat Saturday.

The Rankings
Following their sweep of Miami, the Buckeyes moved back into the insidecollegehockey.com power rankings at No. 15. OSU moved from receiving votes to the No. 13 spot in the USCHO.com/CSTV and the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls.

In the CCHA
With the sweep over Miami, Ohio State improved to 4-0 in CCHA play this season. The last time the squad opened league play with three wins was 1983-84, when that team went 10-0 to start its conference schedule.

W+W+W+W
Ohio State enters the series with Western Michigan on a four-game winning streak overall and in CCHA play. The four-game winning streak is its longest in the regular season since winning four in a row (over Michigan, Colgate, Cornell and Bowling Green) Nov. 15-29, 2003. The last time the Buckeyes won four CCHA games in a row was Feb. 1-Feb. 13, 2003 (Notre Dame, two at Western Michigan and Miami).

The squad won six games in a row at the end of last season, beating Miami in the regular season finale before winning five consecutive in the CCHA tournament (two over Bowling Green in the first round, then Notre Dame, Miami and Michigan in the Super Six). That streak was ended with a 1-0 overtime loss to Wisconsin in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Honored
Junior forward Rod Pelley was named the Central Collegiate Hockey Association Offensive Player of the Week and sophomore Matt Waddell was named the league’s defenseman of the week, the CCHA announced Monday.

Pelley, a Kitimat, British Columbia, native, had a team-best five points in the sweep of Miami, with three goals and two assists. Thursday, Pelley had a goal and two assists in OSU’s 9-3 win, tying his career highs for both assists and points in a game. Friday, Pelley scored OSU’s only two goals in a 2-1 win. His first goal got OSU on the board and he scored the gamewinner just 24 seconds after the RedHawks had tied the game.

Waddell, from Armstrong, British Columbia, had a career-best two goals and three points in Ohio State’s win over Miami Thursday to earn first star of the game honors. He was part of the Buckeye penalty kill that stopped the RedHawks on all 20 power-play chances in the two games combined.

The honors are the first for both Buckeyes. This marks the second consecutive week a Buckeye has picked up league defenseman of the week accolades, as sophomore Sean Collins (Troy, Mich.) was honored last week.

Best of the Best
Rod Pelley also earned INCH National Player of the Week honors from insidecollegehockey.com after the sweep of Miami.

He is the second Buckeye to be so honored, as goalie Mike Betz was named INCH’s player of the week Oct. 21, 2003 after OSU’s two-game road sweep of Michigan State.

OSU vs. WMU
Ohio State trails the all-time series with Western Michigan, 52-57-8, and trails in games played in Kalamazoo, 22-29-4. In the last 10 meetings OSU is 7-3 against the Broncos. OSU had a six-game winning streak vs. WMU stopped in the first meeting last season, as the Broncos won 4-1. OSU rebounded for a 5-1 win the next night.

In Lawson
The Buckeyes trail the all-times series with the Broncos in Kalamazoo, however, the squad is 8-2-1 in its last 11 games at Lawson Arena. The team went 4-0-0 in the 2001-02 season, with two regular-season wins and a playoff sweep. Six of the last eight games between OSU and WMU have been played on the Broncos’ home ice.

A Cluster
Western Michigan is the third consecutive team Ohio State will face from its CCHA scheduling cluster. The Buckeyes swept Ferris State on the road and then swept Miami in a home-and-home series to open cluster play 4-0. OSU was 4-8 against cluster foes Miami, Michigan and Michigan State last season.

Cluster Standings GP W L T Pts. 1. Ohio State 4 2 0 0 8 2. WMU 0 0 0 0 0 Miami 2 0 2 0 0 Ferris State 2 0 2 0 0

A Look at the Broncos
Western Michigan enters the series with Ohio State 1-3 overall and in CCHA play. The squad opened the year splitting a home series with Alaska Fairbanks, winning the opener, 5-4, before falling in the finale, 5-3. Last weekend, the team was swept on the road at Nebraska-Omaha, with 7-3 and 4-3 (overtime) losses.

As a team, the Broncos are averaging 3.5 goals a game, while giving up 5.0. The squad has converted 21.4 percent (6-28) of its power-play chances and has stopped 78.1 percent (25-32) of its opponents’ power-play opportunities.

Junior Brent Walton leads WMU with five goals and eight points, while Paul Szczechura is first with five assists. Freshman Daniel Bellissimo started the first three games in net, with a 5.29 goals-against average and .828 save percentage. Junior Eric Marvin started the last game and has a 4.15 gaa and .855 save percentage.

Jim Culhane, a 1987 graduate of Western Michigan, is in his sixth year at the helm of his alma mater. He has a career and school record of 87-95-21.

Markell vs. WMU
Ohio State head coach John Markell is 13-12-2 all-time against Western Michigan.

We’ll See You Again
The Buckeyes and Broncos are members of the same CCHA scheduling cluster and will meet four times this season. The squads will meet at 7:05 p.m. Jan. 28-29 in Value City Arena in Columbus.

The 2003-04 Series
Ohio State and Western Michigan split two games in Kalamazoo Feb. 20-21, with the Broncos winning the first night, 4-1, and OSU rebounding for a 5-1 win in the finale.

In the opener, Western Michigan scored four third-period goals to defeat the Buckeyes, 4-1. The teams were scoreless after one and the Buckeyes took the lead just 1:28 into the second on a Sean Collins goal. WMU then scored four times in a span of 5:27 (on goals by Jeremy Cheyne, Brent Walton, Lucas Drake and Jeff Campbell) to tie the game, take the lead and seal the victory. Each team was scoreless on the power play in the game; OSU was 0-for-4 and WMU was 0-for-6.

The loss to the Broncos marked the first time in 53 games the Buckeyes lost when leading after two periods; the squad was 49-0-4 in the situation in the last two-plus years. The team’s last loss when leading after two was March 11, 2001 at Nebraska-Omaha.

In the finale, five Buckeyes scored to lead OSU to the win. Bryce Anderson scored in the first, followed by a Paul Caponigri goal to send OSU into the lockerroom with a 2-0 lead after one. Defenseman Doug Andress tallied the only goal of the second period to extend the Buckeyes’ lead to 3-0. Matt Beaudoin scored OSU’s fourth goal in the third before WMU’s Vince Bellissimo got the Broncos on the board. Scott May ended the scoring with an empty-net goal for the Buckeyes late in the third period. OSU was 1-for-5 the power play and the Broncos scored once on nine chances.

A Look Back – OSU Sweeps Miami
Ohio State posted a two-game sweep of Miami last week, with a 9-3 win Thursday and a 2-1 victory Friday. OSU now has won three consecutive games over the RedHawks. The series sweep was OSU’s first over Miami since winning back-to-back games in Value City Arena Dec. 6-7, 2002.

GAME 1
The Buckeyes scored five second-period goals, including two shorthanded tallies, en route to a 9-3 victory over Miami Oct. 21 in Value City Arena in Columbus.

Ohio State took a 1-0 lead 1:30 in the game on a Domenic Maiani goal, before Pat Levendusky tied the game at 8:27. OSU again regained the lead with a Matt Waddell tally, but the RedHawks responded with a goal of their own. Maiani then scored OSU’s third goal on the power play at 18:15, putting the Buckeyes up for good.

In the second, OSU scored two shorthanded goals (by Matt McIlvane and Dan Knapp) while killing off a 5-minute major to take a 5-2 lead. Waddell, Rod Pelley (on the power play) and Nate Guenin added goals in the second period to put OSU ahead, 8-2, at the end of two.

Buckeye Matt Beaudoin and RedHawk Andy Nelson traded third-period goals for the 9-3 final.

The RedHawks outshot the Buckeyes in the game, 36-28. OSU was 3-for-9 on the power play and stopped Miami on all 11 chances.

GAME 2
Oct. 22, Ohio State and Miami were scoreless through the first period. Pelley (assisted by Knapp and Maiani) got OSU on the board with a power-play goal at the 2:49 mark of the second period. The RedHawks tied the game with a Nathan Davis goal at 8:17, but Pelley responded with a power-play goal just 24 seconds later, coming off a Maiani faceoff win in the MU zone, to regain the OSU lead for good.

Buckeye goalie Dave Caruso made 26 saves in the winning effort. OSU outshot Miami, 29-27. The Buckeyes went 2-for-9 on the power play and stopped the RedHawks on all nine chances.

Special Special Teams
The Buckeyes stopped Miami on all 20 power-play chances on the weekend (11 Thursday, nine Friday). Miami entered the series second in the nation and first in the CCHA in power-play percentage.

In addition, OSU converted 5-of-18 power-play chances (27.8 percent). Miami was first in the nation in penalty-killing percentage entering the series with Ohio State.

The Most Since …
The nine goals scored by Ohio State against Miami in its 9-3 win were the most since scoring nine in a 9-0 victory over Wayne State Nov. 9, 2001. It was the most the Buckeyes scored against Miami since posting 10 Dec. 9, 1988. The nine tallies were OSU’s most in conference play since scoring 10 goals against Illinois-Chicago Dec. 14, 1991.

The Multiple-Point Performers
In the 9-3 win over Miami, Buckeye freshman forward Matt McIlvane led the way with four points, including three assists and a shorthanded score, for his first career points. Sophomore Matt Waddell had a career-best two goals and three points, while junior Rod Pelley had a career-high tying three points on a goal and two assists. Freshman Domenic Maiani scored twice, marking his first points as a Buckeye, and classmates Johann Kroll and Tom Fritsche each chipped in two assists, as did sophomore Dave Barton. Dan Knapp had a goal and an assist to round out the multiple-point scorers.

In all, 13 Buckeyes got on the scoresheet, with seven goal scorers and 10 recording at least one assist.

The PK Leads the Way
Ohio State’s penalty-kill unit is first in the CCHA, as it has stopped 95 percent (38-of-40) of its opponents’ chances in conference action.

At the Top
Through games of Oct. 25, junior Rod Pelley leads the nation and the CCHA with five power-play goals this season.

He is tied for the CCHA lead in goals scored both in conference play and overall with five.

In addition, Pelley is tied for the CCHA lead in points scored in conference play with eight.

Freshman Tom Fritsche is first in the CCHA with six assists in league action. He leads all league rookies with six points in conference play.

Get Shorty
Ohio State scored two shorthanded goals in the 9-3 win over Miami, the first time the team had two shorthanded scores in a game since Dave Steckel scored twice Nov. 29, 2003 at Bowling Green.

On the Road Again
The series at Western Michigan marks the sixth and seventh (out of eight) games the Buckeyes will play away from Columbus so far this season. The squad opened the year with a road game at New Hampshire, followed by a neutral site contest vs. St. Cloud State in Durham, N.H. The team then traveled to Big Rapids, Mich., to take on Ferris State before the home-and-home series with Miami last weekend.

The team is 3-1 on the road so far this year, with a 1-0 mark at home and an 0-1 ledger in neutral-site games.

After the series with the Broncos, OSU returns to Value City Arena for a four-game homestand with two games each against Sacred Heart and Northern Michigan.

On a Tear
After missing the St. Cloud State game because of injury (ending his team-best streak of consecutive games played at 86), junior forward Rod Pelley has been on a hot streak. Pelley has eight points in his last four games and is on a four-game goal and point scoring streak. He tied a career best with two assists and three points Thursday against Miami and then tied his career high with two goals in the Friday win over the RedHawks.

Consistent
Since being held scoreless at New Hampshire in the first game of the year, junior forward Dan Knapp has posted at least one point in each of the last five games. He has an assist in each and added a shorthanded goal (the first of his career) in the 9-3 win over Miami.

A Helper
Freshman Tom Fritsche had his three-game assist streak stopped in the Friday win over Miami. Fritsche posted six assists in the three games stretch, with a career-best three helpers at Ferris State Oct. 15, an assist vs. the Bulldogs Oct. 16 and two helpers in the 9-3 win over Miami.

Firsts
Four Buckeyes – Matt McIlvane, Jason DeSantis, Domenic Maiani and Johann Kroll – posted their first career points in the win over Miami last Thursday. McIlvane had a team season-high four points, Maiani had two goals, Kroll had two assists and DeSantis added a helper.

On the Scoresheet
This season, 17 Buckeye skaters have recorded at least one point, with 12 goal scorers and 13 posting at least one assist.

It’s Back
Buckeye Hockey Weekly, Ohio State head coach John Markell’s radio show, returns this season. The show, hosted by Neil Sika, can be heard at 7 p.m. most Tuesdays on 1460 (AM) The Fan and online at 1460TheFan.com. The remaining dates of the show are Nov. 2, Nov. 10, Nov. 30, Dec. 21, Dec. 28, Jan. 4, Jan. 12, Jan. 18, Jan. 25, Feb. 1, Feb. 8, March 1 and March 8.

On the Air
Ohio State will appear on both national and local television this season. The following is the schedule as of Oct. 6.

OSU’s 2004-05 Television Schedule Oct. 9 New Hampshire NH Public TV Dec. 29 Minnesota State ONN Dec. 30 Colorado College ONN Jan. 7 Ferris State CSTV Jan. 22 Michigan CSTV Feb. 18 at Michigan State FSN Detroit Feb. 19 at Michigan State Comcast

Leading the Way
Senior forward JB Bittner is serving as team captain and junior defenseman Nate Guenin and junior forward Rod Pelley are the alternate captains for the 2004-05 season. The trio was selected by a vote of their teammates. Bittner, from Pittsburgh, Pa., is entering his second year as team captain, while Aliquippa, Pa., native Guenin is in his second year as an alternate.

A Quick Look Back
The Buckeyes finished the 2003-04 season 26-16 overall and were fourth in the CCHA with a 16-12 ledger. The squad won three games in three days at the CCHA Super Six Championship in Detroit to claim the title and the league’s automatic bid into the NCAA championship. The Buckeyes’ season ended with a 1-0 overtime loss to Wisconsin in the first round of the NCAA tournament in Albany, N.Y.

Who’s Back
Ohio State returns 15 letterwinners from the squad last season, including forwards Bryce Anderson, Dave Barton, Matt Beaudoin, Kenny Bernard, JB Bittner, Dan Knapp, Rod Pelley, Andrew Schembri and Lee Spector, defensemen Sean Collins, Nate Guenin, Tyson Strachan, Matt Waddell and Thomas Welsh and goalie Dave Caruso.

Quite a Class
The Buckeyes’ 11-member recruiting class was ranked 11th by insidecollegehockey.com. Tom Fritsche was listed as a Top 20 incoming forward, while Johann Kroll was named a Top 15 rookie defenseman by INCH. The 11 rookies are the most for Ohio State since the 11-member class that joined the team for the 2000-01 season.

Up Next
The Buckeyes return home for a four-game homestand. Ohio State will play host to non-conference foe Sacred Heart at 7:05 p.m. Nov. 5-6 and then will go up against Northern Michigan at 7:05 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 13 and at 2:05 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 14.