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Drop the Puck
The Ohio State men’s hockey team is back in Columbus, hosting No. 8-ranked Notre Dame for two games this weekend. The Buckeyes (12-9-2, 7-7-2-2 CCHA) and Irish (15-8-3, 12-5-1-1 CCHA) will meet at 7:045 p.m. Friday and Saturday in Value City Arena.

Both games will be streamed online through BigTenNetwork.com for a fee. The radio call can be found in Columbus on 1460 AM or online for free at OhioStateBuckeyes.com. Live stats also can be accessed from the men’s hockey page at OhioStateBuckeyes.com, with in-game updates at Twitter.com/OhioState_MHKY.

After the game there will be an autograph session with CJ Severyn, Jeff McNeil and Brandon Martell.

Welcome Alums
Former members of the Ohio State men’s hockey program are gathering in Columbus this weekend to celebrate Alumni Weekend. The group will attend the games vs. the Irish. In addition, Saturday features an alumni game, an open house in the lockerroom for the former players and their families, and an alumni and family open skate on the Value City Arena ice. 

Buckeye Snapshot
Ohio State is 12-9-2 this season, with a 7-2-1 mark in its last 10 games. The Buckeyes are 7-7-2-2 in CCHA action, standing in seventh place with games in hand on five of the six teams ahead of them. The team is averaging 2.96 goals a game while allowing 2.43. On the power play, the Buckeyes are 20-for-106 (18.9 percent) and on the penalty kill the team is 79-for-96 (82.3 percent).

Senior forward John Albert is first on the team with 24 points, ranking second with 14 assists and third with 10 goals. Senior forward Sergio Somma has a team-high 13 goals and is second with 22 points. Junior forward Danny Dries is third with 21 points and is second in goals with 12. Senior defenseman Shane Sims has a team-high 15 helpers.

In net, junior Cal Heeter has started all 23 games, with a 2.31 goals-against average and .919 save percentage.

Flashback
The Buckeyes, after dropping a 4-2 game Friday at No. 18 Western Michigan, rallied for a 2-2 overtime tie and then won the shootout Saturday.

In the first game, the Buckeyes trailed 1-0 after the opening period and 2-0 early in the second. Later in the middle stanza Ohio State cut the lead to one (2-1) on Alex Szczechura’s power-play goal, but the Broncos responded less than two minutes later to regain a two-goal edge, which they carried into the third. In the third John Albert scored shorthanded to make it a 3-2 Western Michigan lead. The Broncos sealed the win with an empty-net goal in the final minute, as WMU extended its unbeaten streak to six (5-0-1) and Ohio State ended its winning streak at six.

Saturday, the Buckeyes came from behind twice. Junior Cory Schneider scored unassisted with two seconds remaining in the first to tie the score at 1-all. The Broncos had the only goal of the second period to again take the lead, but Jeff McNeil’s first career tally deadlocked the score midway through the third, marking the sixth time this season Ohio State rallied for a win or tie when trailing after 40 minutes. The Buckeyes won the shootout 2-1 in three rounds, with Albert and Somma tallying for the Buckeyes.

Comeback Kids
Ohio State has four wins and two ties this season when trailing after the second period and also has a come-from behind win after trailing in the third period.

Last Saturday at Western Michigan the Buckeyes were down 2-1 after the second period but a Jeff McNeil tally tied the score and Ohio State went on to win the shootout.
At Michigan State Nov. 12 the Buckeyes were down 3-1 after the second period but scored twice in the third to tie the game and then won in overtime. The squad rallied with three unanswered goals from a 3-2 deficit for a 5-3 win at Ferris State Oct. 23. Against Michigan Dec. 3, the Wolverines broke a 1-1 tie at 8:43 of the third. Sergio Somma scored on a 6-on-4 advantage to force overtime and the Buckeyes won 1:43 into the extra stanza. At Bowling Green Dec. 10 the Buckeyes were down 1-0 after the second and 2-0 early in the third before going on a three-goal run to take a lead. The Falcons tied the game, but Ohio State won in overtime. Against Miami Jan. 8 Ohio State trailed 2-0 after 40 minutes but scored five unanswered in the third for the victory.

The 20-Point Club

  • Three Buckeyes have more than 20 points this season – senior John Albert is first on the squad with 24 points, followed by classmate Sergio Somma with 22 and Danny Dries with 21.
  • Albert is eighth in the CCHA in points overall, with Somma tied for 10th and Dries 14th (tied).
  • Somma leads the Buckeyes with 13 goals, tying for fifth in the CCHA and ranking 24th (tied) in the NCAA in goals per game (.57). Dries is tied for eighth in the league and Albert is 14th in the CCHA with 10 goals.
  • With 14 assists, Albert stands 10th (tied) in the CCHA this season.
  • In conference games only Albert (8g, 8a) is tied for ninth with 16 points, with Somma tied for 13th with 15 points. Somma, Albert and Dries are tied for sixth with eight goals each.
  • Somma and Albert each have a point in all but seven games this year.
  • Dries has a team-best six multiple-point games, including a team-best four-point game against Alabama-Huntsville Nov. 5, while Albert and Somma both have five games with multiple points.
  • Albert now has at least 20 points in all four of his seasons with the Buckeyes, while Somma has at least 20 points in each of his last three years. Dries has posted at least 20 points in each of his first three collegiate seasons.

Power Play Leaders
Sergio Somma is first in the CCHA and tied for third nationally with eight power-play goals, with Dries tying for 18th in the NCAA and second in the CCHA with five PPG. Among CCHA power-play leaders, Shane Sims is tied for fifth with 10 power-play points (all assists), with Somma (8-1-9), Dries (5-4-9) and Albert (2-7-9) all tied for ninth.

The Buckeyes have at least one power-play goal in six of the last eight games and are 20-for-106 (18.9 percent) this season.

Leader on the Blue Line
Shane Sims leads Ohio State with 15 assists and is first among Buckeye defensemen with 16 points on the year. He is tied for eighth in the CCHA in helpers in all games, tying for 10th in CCHA games only. Among conference defensemen Sims is tied for second in points, ranking first in helpers. In CCHA games only Sims is tied for sixth in scoring among defensemen with a 1-10-11 line. He is first for the Buckeyes with a +10 mark

The Seniors
Ohio State has nine seniors (eight skaters) on the squad, including four of the Top 5 scorers. The group of Sergio Somma, John Albert, Peter Boyd and Shane Sims has combined for 30 goals, 50 assists and 80 points, with each playing in all 23 games. The other skaters in the class (C.J. Severyn, Chris Reed, Kyle Reed and Corey Toy) have a 6-15-21 line together, each playing in at least 18 games.

The Rookies
Four Buckeye freshmen have skated in at least 22 games this season, with each posting at least six points as they have combined for a 13-23-34 line. Forward Alex Szczechura (7g, 6a) leads the rookies with 13 points, followed by defenseman Curtis Gedig with 10 points on 10 assists. Forward Chris Crane (3g, 4a) has seven points and Alex Lippincott (3g, 3a) has six. Travis Statchuk has been limited to 13 games because of injury and has two assists. Rookie Brendan Arniel played his first game as a Buckeye vs. Alaska Nov. 27.

At Western Michigan Friday rookies combined for a power-play goal, with Szczechura scoring, set up by Gedig and Statchuk.

Vote for Cal
Junior goalie Cal Heeter, who has started every Buckeye game this season, leads the NCAA in minutes played (1377:31). He is in the Top 25 in the NCAA in goals-against average (2.31) and save percentage (.919). He is third in the CCHA with 435 saves this year, ranking third with 27.2 stops a game.

Heeter is on the ballot for the fan vote for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award, the trophy bestowed to the top player in college hockey each year. Visit http://go.osu.edu/hobeyvoteforcal each day to cast a vote for Cal.

De-Fense!
The Buckeyes are 15th in the NCAA in team defense, allowing 2.43 goals a game. The 4-2 loss at Western Michigan Friday was the first time the Buckeyes allowed more than three goals since Nov. 27.

Getting It Done Late …
The Buckeyes are outscoring their opponents in the third period, 31-21, this season. The squad has 34 goals in the first and second periods combined (14 in the first, 20 in the second after a five-goal second vs. Army Jan. 2), and have 34 in the third period (31) and overtime (3) combined. The squad scored a season-high five third-period goals against Miami Jan. 8.

The Century Club
Seniors John Albert and Peter Boyd both hit the 100-point mark in the first half of the season. They are the first Buckeyes to join the Century Club since 2008. Sergio Somma is eight points away from reaching triple digits as a Buckeye.

Boyd had three assists and points in the series with Michigan Dec. 3-4 to hit the 100-point mark in his career. Albert hit triple digits vs. Alabama-Huntsville Nov. 6. The last Buckeye team to have more than one player pass the 100-point mark was in 2004 (Paul Caponigri, Scott May and Dave Steckel). With Albert and Boyd, there now are 53 members of the Ohio State ‘Century Club.’

Albert is first for the current Buckeyes with 114 points, the most for a Buckeye since the 2004 squad when Caponigri had 132 and May had 117. Boyd has 106 points as a Buckeye. Somma leads the current Buckeyes with 47 career goals, while Albert is first with 83 assists for the Scarlet and Gray.

Buckeye This and That
Senior John Albert scored the Buckeyes’ first shorthanded goal of the season Friday at Western Michigan; it was the second SHG of his career … Jeff McNeil scored his first career goal and point Saturday at Western Michigan, tallying in his 42nd career game … Junior Cory Schneider had a goal and an assist in the Buckeyes’ 2-2 tie Saturday, marking his second career two-point game and first since posting two assists at Lake Superior State Oct. 24, 2009 … the Buckeyes are 5-1-0 when leading after the first period, but 4-5-1 when even after 20 minutes … Kyle Reed’s assist Saturday at Western Michigan was the 50th point of his Buckeye career … Shane Sims leads the Buckeyes with 48 recorded blocked shots; Curtis Gedig is second with 29 … Alex Szczechura leads the Buckeyes in shooting percentage, with seven goals on 27 shots (25.9 percent) … the Buckeyes are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games … Ohio State has at least 30 shots in five of the last six games … the Buckeyes had a season-low one power-play chance against Saturday at Western Michigan and tied the season low with two penalties; the squad is averaging 13.4 penalty minutes a game.

Buckeyes vs. Irish
Ohio State and Notre Dame met four times a year ago, twice in the regular season and twice in a CCHA first round playoff matchup. In late October the Buckeyes lost 3-1 before posting a 2-2 tie and shootout win in game two on the road. Ohio State beat Notre Dame in the playoff series in two straight games in Columbus (3-1, 8-2).

All-time, Ohio State leads the series, 31-27-9, including 16-14-5 in games played in Columbus. The squads last met in Columbus in the regular season Feb. 6 and 8, 2009. The Irish rallied for a 4-3 win in overtime in the first game before the Buckeyes won, 4-1, in game two.

Irish Info
Notre Dame enters the series with the Buckeyes 15-8-3 on the year and stands in first place in the CCHA with a 12-5-1-1 ledger in conference play. The squad is 5-2-1 in its last six games and split a series at home with Alaska last weekend (W 2-1, L 1-4). The Irish are scoring 3.77 goals a game while allowing 2.73. The power play is at 15 percent (19-for-127), while the penalty kill is 86.4 percent (102-for-118). The squad is 5-4-2 on the road and 1-2-1 in neutral-site games, with a 9-2-0 ledger at home.

Freshman T.J. Tynan leads Notre Dame with 15 goals and 33 points, ranking second with 18 assists. Senior Ryan Guentzel has a team-best 22 assists and ranks second with 28 points on the year. Freshman Anders Lee is second on the team with 14 tallies and is third in points (26), followed by senior Ben Ryan who has 21 points, including 17 assists to rank third. Sophomore Mike Johnson has played 22 games in net, with a 12-6-3 ledger, 2.51 goals-against average and .906 save percentage. Freshman Steven Summerhays is 3-2-0, with a 3.71 gaa and .818 svpct. 

Welcome Back
Former Buckeye Paul Pooley , Ohio State’s all-time leading scorer (270), is in his fifth season as associate head coach with the Irish. His sweater was retired during the OSU-ND series in Nov. 2006, marking the first Buckeye hockey player so honored.

POTW
The Buckeyes have picked up eight CCHA player of the week awards this season, including the league’s last three offensive player honors. Cal Heeter is a two-time goalie of the week (Oct. 11 and Jan. 10) and Danny Dries has earned two offensive player nods (Nov. 8, Jan. 3). Curtis Gedig was the rookie of the week Oct. 25, Shane Sims was lauded as the defensive player of the week Dec. 13 and Sergio Somma and John Albert were named the offensive player of the week Dec. 13 and Jan. 10, respectively.

Heeter was named the national player of the week by InsideCollegeHockey and the USCHO.Com First Star of the Week after the Buckeyes swept Miami Jan. 7-8.
 
Overtime Again?
The Buckeyes are 3-0-1 in overtime this season and went to overtime in the opening game four-consecutive weekends. The Buckeyes beat Michigan State in OT Nov. 12, skated to a tie and shootout win with Alaska Nov. 26 and downed Michigan in overtime Dec. 3 before topping Bowling Green 4-3 in OT.

The squad had to rally to tie the game in the first three contests. Against the Falcons, the Buckeyes scored three straight goals in the third to take the lead before allowing a late game-tying goal and then winning in overtime.

Freshman Alex Szczechura scored the winning goal in the first two overtime wins this season, with Danny Dries netting the overtime winner against Bowling Green. Peter Boyd had the lone shootout goal against Alaska.

Ohio Cup Champions
The series sweep of Miami Jan. 7-8 gave the Buckeyes a 4-0 ledger against their instate foes to clinch the Ohio Cup, a traveling trophy sponsored by Buckeye Sports Bulletin. It was the seventh title for the Buckeyes in the 29-year history of the award. Ohio State swept a series at Bowling Green Dec. 10-11 (4-3 OT, 4-2) to open Ohio Cup play. Miami was second with a 2-2 ledger, with the Falcons 0-4.

U-S-A!
Buckeye head coach Mark Osiecki was behind the bench with Team USA at the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship in Buffalo, N.Y., helping the squad to a 3-1 record through the group round and the bronze medal, marking the first time in history the U.S. medaled in back-to-back years. Osiecki was also on the coaching staff last season when the U.S. squad captured the gold medal. The Buckeyes stopped in Buffalo on their way to Vermont to watch Coach Osiecki and Team USA take on Germany.

Wearing the C
Seniors John Albert, Peter Boyd and Sergio Somma and junior Sean Duddy were elected captains for the Ohio State men’s hockey team this season. The players, who were voted on by their teammates, all wear ‘C’s on their jerseys for each game.

Boyd is a captain for the third time, donning a ‘C’ as a sophomore and serving as one of four alternate captains (with no ‘C’) last season. Somma earned an ‘A’ near the end of his sophomore campaign and joined Boyd with an ‘A’ on his jersey last year as well. This is the first time Albert and Duddy have a letter on their jerseys at Ohio State.

Behind the Bench
The win over Quinnipiac Oct. 9 was the first collegiate win for Ohio State head coach Mark Osiecki. He is joined behind the bench by associate head coach Steve Rohlik, assistant coach Steve Brent and volunteer assistant Layne LeBel. JB Bittner is the team’s video coordinator.

Osiecki, a winner on every level, was named head coach April 24, 2010. He was an assistant at Wisconsin the last six years after spending seven seasons as the head coach and general manager of the Green Bay Gamblers (USHL). Osiecki has been a part of NCAA (both as a player and coach), junior hockey, international and professional championship teams. Osiecki and Rohlik were captains on the 1990 Wisconsin team that won the NCAA title.

Buckeyes to Be
Buckeye head coach Mark Osiecki announced his first recruiting class Nov. 19, with 11 outstanding players – two goalies, five defensemen and four forwards. In all, the class is comprised of six players from the United States Hockey League, three from the Alberta Junior Hockey League and two from the British Columbia Hockey League. The group is a mix of older (1990, ’91 birthdates) players to younger, draft-eligible student-athletes (1992,’93 birthdates). For complete information on the class visit http://go.osu.edu/hkrcts.

Buckeyes in the Bigs
Six Buckeyes were on NHL opening-day rosters, ranking third among CCHA schools. Four NHL regulars from 2009-10 returned to their squads for the new year – R.J. Umberger in Columbus, Dave Steckel in Washington, Ryan Kesler in Vancouver and Rod Pelley in New Jersey. Zac Dalpe, who left Ohio State in the spring after two seasons, earned a spot in Carolina’s lineup after his first training camp. Tyson Strachan was on the opening-day roster for St. Louis after playing eight games for the Blues a season ago.

Kesler – now an alternate captain for the Canucks – was named to the 2011 NHL All-Star Game Tuesday. He will be the first former Ohio State player to skate in the league’s all-star event.

Defensemen Nate Guenin, with the Blue Jackets, and Matt Bartkowski, with Boston, were two of the final players from their respective teams sent to the American Hockey League when NHL rosters had to be cut down. Bartkowski, like Dalpe, ended his Buckeye career after last season and was participating in his first NHL camp. Guenin cleared waivers and was with the Springfield Falcons before he was traded to Anaheim’s organization in early January. He currently is with the Syracuse Crunch in the AHL.

Dalpe played in eight games for the Hurricanes before he was sent down to Charlotte in the AHL. He was called up to the Hurricanes Jan. 2 and scored his first NHL goal in his first game back with the big club. Bartkowski was called up to Boston Jan. 10 and played two games against his hometown Pittsburgh Penguins before he was assigned to Providence.

Guenin was called up to the Blue Jackets on an emergency recall Oct. 16 and skated in three games before he was sent back down to Springfield. He joined Umberger in the CBJ lineup, marking the first time two Buckeyes played on the same team in an NHL game since Jan. 10, 2009 when David Steckel and Sean Collins skated for the Capitals.

Seventeen total former Buckeyes participated in NHL training camps this fall, with many since assigned to AHL, ECHL or CHL squads – Corey Elkins (AHL Manchester/Los Angeles), Sean Collins (AHL Hershey/Washington), Johann Kroll (AHL Hershey/Washington), Matt Beaudoin (AHL San Antonio/Phoenix), Jason DeSantis (AHL Wilkes-Barre Scranton, ECHL Wheeling/Pittsburgh), Tom Fritsche (AHL Lake Erie, CHL Tulsa/Colorado), Joe Palmer (ECHL Toledo, AHL Rockford/Chicago) and Dave Caruso (AHL Albany, ECHL Trenton/New Jersey). Hunter Bishop, the third Buckeye to sign an NHL contract after 2009-10, was in camp with Montreal but was assigned to Wheeling in the ECHL after suffering an injury in training camp and has since been called up to AHL Hamilton.

Become a Fan and a Follower
Keep up with the Buckeyes on the internet. Weekly and special releases, statistics, biographies and more can be found on OhioStateBuckeyes.com, the official site of Ohio State athletics. The team has an official facebook page – facebook.com/OhioStateMensHockey, as well as a twitter feed – twitter.com/OhioState_MHKY. To receive weekly email updates about the team, email BuckeyeHockeyReport@buckeyes.ath.ohio-state.edu.

Follow the Buckeyes
Ohio State men’s hockey games in 2010-11 will be available to fans both on the radio and the internet this year. The Ohio State Buckeyes Radio Network/IMG College will carry 25 regular season games and all postseason action involving the Buckeyes over the air at 1460 AM in Columbus and online at OhioStateBuckeyes.com.

Video streams of nearly every Buckeye game will be available, typically on a pay-per-view basis. All Ohio State home games in Value City Arena that are not televised will be streamed either through BigTenNetwork.com or OhioStateBuckeyes.com. Road games will be available through the home team’s website, with some also streamed on OhioStateBuckeyes.com.

Links to audio and video broadcasts, as well as live stats, will be available on the men’s hockey schedule page at OhioStateBuckeyes.com prior to the games each weekend.

The Buckeyes will have seven games on television this season, including four on the Big Ten Network. BTN will show three of the Buckeyes’ four games vs. Michigan, beginning Dec. 3 with a game in Value City Arena in Columbus. The network will televise both games from Ann Arbor, Mich., Feb. 11-12. Ohio State also will appear on BTN Feb. 4 when it hosts Michigan State. Ohio State also will appear on CBS College Sports Jan. 7 when it hosts Miami, as well as two road games on Comcast Television (Michigan State, Western Michigan).

Up Next
The Buckeyes will be on the road next weekend, traveling to Fairbanks to take on the Alaska Nanooks. The teams will meet at 11:05 p.m. ET Friday and Saturday Jan. 28-29. The last four weeks of the regular-season include three home series for the Buckeyes, as they host Michigan State Feb. 4-5, Lake Superior State Feb. 18-19 and Ferris State Feb. 24-25. The final regular-season road trip is at Michigan Feb. 11-12.