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COLUMBUS, Ohio — The No. 14 Ohio State men’s hockey team continues in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association tournament when it travels to Fairbanks, Alaska, this weekend to meet the Alaska Nanooks in a best-of-three quarterfinal series. The No. 5 seed Buckeyes (22-12-4/13-11-4-3 CCHA) and No. 4 seed Nanooks (15-13-6, 13-10-5-3 CCHA) will meet at 7:05 p.m. AT/11:05 p.m. ET Friday and Saturday in games one and two. If necessary, game three will be at 6:05 p.m. AT/10:05 p.m. ET Sunday. All three games are scheduled for the Carlson Center in Fairbanks.
 
Follow the Action
WOSU Radio (820 AM Columbus/wosu.org) will broadcast live from Fairbanks, with Herb Howenstine calling the action.

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

A live webstream will be carried through B2 Networks. For more information or to subscribe, go to the men’s hockey page at AlaskaNanooks.com and click on the live coverage link.

Back So Soon
Ohio State is making its second trip to Fairbanks in six weeks, after splitting a series with the Nanooks Jan. 30-31. Bad weather conditions in Columbus caused the Buckeyes’ trek to Fairbanks in January to take 32 hours, from leaving campus to landing in Fairbanks. According to weather.com, the forecast calls for some snow showers, with highs ranging from 3-24 below and lows dropping to -17 while the team is in Fairbanks. It is the team’s third trip to Fairbanks in the last two years.

Talking about Playoffs
The Central Collegiate Hockey Association tournament continues this week with four best-of-three quarterfinal series with spots in the CCHA Championship at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit on the line.

The home team and higher seed won all four first-round series, with three teams posting sweeps – No. 5 Ohio State over No. 12 Bowling Greeen, No. 6 Northern Michigan over No. 11 Michigan State and No. 8 Nebraska-Omaha over No. 9 Ferris State. No. 7 Western Michigan rallied after losing the first game to oust No. 10 Lake Superior State. No. 1 Notre Dame, No. 2 Michigan, No. 3 Miami and No. 4 Alaska earned the first-round byes.

The quarterfinal matchups feature Notre Dame vs. Nebraska-Omaha, Michigan vs. Western Michigan, Miami vs. Northern Michigan and Alaska vs. Ohio State.

Poll Position
Ohio State remained ranked 14th by USCHO.com/CBS College Sports, USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine and InsideCollegeHockey.com this week.

Buckeye Brief
The Buckeyes are 22-12-4 on the year and finished conference play in fifth place with a 13-11-4-3 record, one point out of fourth place. The squad is averaging 3.58 goals a game to rank sixth nationally, while allowing 2.74. On the power play, the Buckeyes have converted 25-of-177 chances (.141) and have stopped 164-of-201 opponent opportunities (.816).

Senior Corey Elkins is first with 18 goals and 40 points. Sophomore John Albert is first on the team with 28 assists and ranks second with 39 points. Freshman Zac Dalpe and sophomores Peter Boyd and Hunter Bishop are second with 13 goals each.  Boyd (13g, 18a, 31p), freshman Ian Boots (9g, 15a, 24p) Bishop (13g, 15a, 28p), Dalpe (13g, 12a, 25p), sophomore Sergio Somma (11 g, 12a, 23p), and sophomore defenseman Shane Sims (6g, 17a, 23p) all have reached the 20-point mark. Bishop has a team-best +30 mark, followed by Elkins at +27. Somma and Sims are first with four power-play goals. Albert, Dalpe and sophomore C.J. Severyn each have a team-best three game-winning goals.

In net, sophomore Dustin Carlson has played in 35 games, starting 32 (including 29 of the last 30), with a 2.43 goals-against average, .920 save percentage and 20-9-3 record.

A Look Back – OSU Sweeps BGSU
The Buckeyes beat Bowling Green, 5-4, and 7-1, last weekend in the OSU Ice Rink to claim the CCHA first-round series and advance to the quarterfinals.

In game one Friday, Ohio State broke open a 2-all game with two goals in 2:14 in the third period and held on for a 5-4 win over Bowling Green.

Early in the third, the Falcons cut the lead to one just 34 seconds after Peter Boyd had put Ohio State up by two goals. Bowling Green then had the would-be game-tying goal disallowed at 12:16 because the net had moved before the puck crossed the line. Boyd regained the Buckeyes’ two-goal lead with a goal at 14:23 and Tommy Dee responded for the Falcons just 27 seconds later, but BG could get no closer.

The Buckeyes opened the game on Corey Elkins’ goal at 13:30 of the first before Nick Bailen tied the score at 18:27 of the opening stanza. Ohio State again went ahead when Corey Toy scored from the point at 11:30 of the second. Bowling Green responded, as Dee scored an unassisted goal 4-o-4 at 15:39.

In the third, Chris Reed gave Ohio State a 3-2 lead at 3:14 and Boyd extended it to 4-2 at 5:18. Sexton replied with a goal 34 seconds later to make the score 4-3. After the disallowed goal Boyd put Ohio State up 5-3 at 14:23, followed by Dee’s tally at 14:50.

Bowling Green outshot Ohio State in the game, 36-29. OSU was 0-for-2 on the power play in the game and BG was 0-for-4.

In game two Saturday, Ohio State outscored the Falcons 4-1 in the second period en route to a 7-1 victory and series sweep. Elkins had a hat trick and four points in the game, which marked the final game in Columbus for the Buckeye senior class.

The teams were scoreless in the first period until Sergio Somma scoerd with 57 seconds remaining in the stanza. Elkins scored back-to-back goals in the second (2:20 and 9:31) to put Ohio State up 3-1. Nick Bailen responded just 28 seconds after Elkins’ second tally, but Ohio State got power-play goals from Matt Bartkowski and Shane Sims to close out the second. Elkins completed his hat trick and 12:54 of the third and set up Mathieu Picard for the final goal with 1:34 remaining in the game. 

The Buckeyes held the Falcons scoreless on six power-play chances and converted 2-of-8 opportunities. Each team had 29 shots.

Noting the Buckeyes in the Playoffs
Ohio State is 40-54-4 all-time in CCHA tournament play, including 2-0-0 vs. Alaska. In the quarterfinals, the squad is 14-19-0.
The Buckeyes’ sweep of Bowling Green last weekend was the squad’s first CCHA tournament series win since 2005 when they beat Ferris State in three games in Value City Arena. It was the first series sweep since beating Nebraska-Omaha in back-to-back games (4-1, 3-1) in 2003 in Nationwide Arena in Columbus.
The Buckeyes are 9-35-0 in road games in CCHA postseason play. The team’s last win in a CCHA tournament road series was at Western Michigan in 2002 (3-2 OT, 3-1).
Ohio State was the No. 5 seed once before, losing a series at Lake Superior State in three games in 1986 (1-3, 4-1, 2-3 OT).
The series this weekend marks Ohio State’s first time in the quarterfinals since the CCHA playoff system was changed in 2006.
Ohio State has won game one of its last three playoff series. The team beat Bowling Green last weekend. In the two previous series, the squad went on to drop games two and three, at home to Northern Michigan in 2007 and on the road at NMU in 2008.
Ohio State has two CCHA postseason titles, winning the inaugural tournament crown in 1972 in St. Louis Arena in St. Louis, Mo., and claiming the CCHA Super Six title in 2004 at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.
Senior Corey Elkins leads all CCHA players with six postseason points this year and is tied for first with  four goals. Chris Reed is tied for the lead among defensemen (1-2-3).

Buckeyes vs. Nanooks
Ohio State leads the all-time series with Alaska, 22-19-3, and is 5-4-1 in the last 10 games between the teams.

The teams have met twice in postseason play, with the Buckeyes winning both. In 1995 Ohio State beat Alaska in the OSU Ice Rink in the CCHA play-in game, 7-2. The squads last met in the playoffs in 20002, when the Buckeyes beat the Nanooks in overtime, 6-5, in the CCHA Super Six quarterfinals at the Joe.

The teams met earlier this year in Fairbanks. The Nanooks took the opener, 4-1, before the Buckeyes rebounded with a 6-2 victory in the finale.

On Alaskan Ice
In Fairbanks, the Nanooks lead the series, 13-8-2. Ohio State ended a four-game (0-3-1) winless streak on Alaska’s home ice with their victory Jan. 31.

This marks the third trip for the Buckeyes to Fairbanks over the last two seasons, after the teams were in the same scheduling cluster a year ago.

Posting Points vs. UA
Sophomore Sergio Somma leads the Buckeyes with four goals and six points vs. Alaska. Junior Mathieu Picard has three goals to rank second. Sophomore John Albert has a team-best five assists vs. the Nanooks, with classmate Peter Boyd (1g, 4a) tied with Albert for second with five points each.

On the Big Sheet
The Carlson Center, the Nanooks’ home ice, has an Olympic-size ice surface, measuring 200’ x 100’. Ohio State is 2-2 on the larger ice surface this season, splitting series at Northern Michigan Nov. 21-22 and at Alaska Jan. 30-31.

Six Weeks Ago
Ohio State traveled to Fairbanks, Alaska, Jan. 30-31, splitting the series with a 4-1 loss in the opener and rebounding for a 6-2 victory in game two.

In the first game, Alaska scored twice in the first period while outshooting the Buckeyes 16-8. The teams were scoreless in the second before the Nanooks scored a power-play goal just 13 seconds into the third period to go up 3-0. Ohio State’s Kyle Reed responded with a tally 45 seconds later, but the Nanooks added a fourth goal at 17:45 for the final. The Buckeyes were 0-for-4 on the power play, with Alaska 1-for-4. Ohio State outshot the Nanooks, 29-24.

The Buckeyes rebounded with a 6-2 victory in game two to salvage two points in the series. Ohio State led 2-0 three minutes into the game and 5-0 at the end of the first period. Ohio State extended the lead to 6-0 early in the third before the Nanooks broke the shutout at 17:34 and then scored a second goal 25 seconds later.

Sergio Somma opened the scoring at 1:42, followed by a goal from Fairbanks native Hunter Bishop at 2:59. Freshman Taylor Stefishen scored on the power play at 4:19 and Mathieu Picard added a goal at 10:31, ending the day for starting goalie Chad Johnson. Peter Boyd scored the fifth goal of the first period. There was no scoring in the second period. Somma scored his second goal of the game on the power play at 4:33 of the third period. Alaska’s Kevin Petovello scored at 17:34, followed by Brandon Knelsen 25 seconds later, for the 6-2 final.

Homecoming
Buckeye sophomore Hunter Bishop returns to his hometown for the series this weekend. He played his first collegiate games in Fairbanks Jan. 30-31, scoring a goal in the series finale. Bishop is a native of Fairbanks and attended West Valley High School before graduating from Seaton High School in Vernon, British Columbia, while playing junior hockey in the BCHL. He played for the Fairbanks Ice Dogs in the North American Hockey League in 2003-04 and had 14 assists and 21 points in 52 games. He also won a Pee Wee state championship while growing up in Fairbanks. Bishop’s sister, Teal, is a sophomore defenseman on the Ohio State women’s hockey team.

Nanook Look
Alaska finished fourth in the CCHA standings with a 13-10-5-3 ledger and is 15-13-6 overall this year. The squad is first nationally in team defense, holding opponents to 1.74 goals an outing. The Nanooks average 1.94 goals a game. Alaska is seventh in the NCAA on the penalty kill (133/151; 88.1 percent) and has converted 17-of-179 power-play chances (9.5).

Junior Dion Knelsen is first on the squad with 12 assists and 20 points. Senior Braden Walls has a team-best nine assists, followed by Knelsen and senior Adam Naglich with eight each. Walls is second with 17 points.

In net senior Chad Johnson is second in the NCAA in goals-against average (1.70) and ranks third in save percentage (.937). He is 12-10-4 this year.

Dallas Ferguson, a 1996 graduate of Alaska, is in his first season as the head coach at his alma mater.

Another Homecoming
Ohio State assistant coach Jason Lammers spent the 2003-04 season on the staff of Alaska under then-head coach Guy Gadowsky.
 
Bartkowski, Dalpe and Boots Honored
Defenseman Matt Bartkowski and forward Zac Dalpe were voted to the CCHA All-Rookie Team, the league announced Monday. Forward Ian Boots was an honorable mention choice. Ohio State, Michigan and Miami each placed two players on the team, with three defensemen selected because of ties.

Bartkowski, from Pittsburgh, Pa., has played in 37 games this season, with four goals, 14 assists and 18 points, along with a +16 mark. He enters the CCHA quarterfinals second among freshmen defensemen in scoring overall, ninth among league rookies and 13th among league defensemen in points. In conference play, Bartkowski posted a 2-9-11 line, with a +9 rating. He was third among freshmen defensemen in scoring, tied for 10th in rookie points and was 15th among league blueliners. Bartkowski is +1 or better in 19 games this year. He was a two-time CCHA Rookie of the Week (Oct. 26, Jan. 19).

Dalpe, a native of Paris, Ontario, has 13 goals, 12 assists and 25 points in 33 games this year. He is tied for fourth among league rookies in scoring and ranks 21st in the NCAA in rookie points per game. His 13 goals are tied for second among league freshmen and rank fifth (tied) in the NCAA. In CCHA games only, Dalpe had nine goals, nine assists and 18 points, ranking third in the league in rookie goals, fourth in freshman points and 20th in goals among all players. He was named CCHA Rookie of the Week three times (Oct. 19, Nov. 10, Feb. 9). Dalpe had a point in 19 games, with a +1 or better mark in 14, including six-consecutive.

Akwesasne, Ontario, native Ian Boots has a 9-15-24 line, along with a +17 mark this season while playing in 31 games. He is fifth among CCHA rookies in points and is tied for 19th in the NCAA in points per game among freshmen. He had a 6-7-13 line in league games only, tying for sixth in the league among rookies.

Elkins a Smart One
Senior forward Corey Elkins has been named the team’s CCHA Scholar-Athlete of the Year, the league announced Tuesday. Each of the 12 conference schools selected one student-athlete for the honor. The CCHA Scholar-Athlete of the Year will be chosen from the group and honored at the 2009 CCHA Awards Banquet March 19 at Fox Theater in Detroit.

Elkins, from West Bloomfield, Mich., will receive his bachelor’s degree in history at the end of winter quarter. He will be a four-time Ohio State Scholar-Athlete and a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection and is a dean’s list recipient. Elkins leads the Buckeyes with 40 points this year, including a team-high 18 goals, ranking fourth in the league in scoring and tying for third in goals. He has played in 98 games as a Buckeye and has 27 goals, 32 assists and 59 points. Elkins was named CCHA Player of the Week Jan. 19 and was the MVP of the Ohio Hockey Classic and named to the all-tournament team in January. Elkins, who was a nominee for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, received the 2007 Ohio State Coaches Award in recognition of his hard work and determination to come back from two separate injuries.

One More Honor
Sophomore forward John Albert was an honorable mention selection to the All-CCHA team, the conference announced Wednesday. The 12 league coaches voted for first, second and honorable mention selections, with coaches not allowed to vote for their own teams and votes based on league-games only.

Albert led the Buckeyes and ranked fourth in the league with 29 points in conference play while seeing action in all 28 games. He tied for sixth in the league in assists (20), fifth in gamewinning goals (30) and 10th (tied) in plus/minus. In all games Albert is second for Ohio State with a career-best 39 points, including a team-best 28 assists. He is tied for fifth in the conference in points and ranks second (tied) in assists. 

Albert is the first Buckeye to earn league all-conference honorable mention honors since Sean Collins and Dave Caruso in 2006.

Have a Game
Corey Elkins had a career-best four-point game against Bowling Green last Saturday, with three goals and an assist. It was his second career hat trick and first since Nov. 17, 2006, also against Bowling Green. It was the Buckeyes’ second hat trick and four-point game this season, joining Kyle Reed, who had both against Miami the week earlier (Feb. 27).

First in a While
Senior Corey Elkins now leads the team with 40 points (including a team-high 18 goals), the first 40-point year for a Buckeye since Tom Fritsche had 45 and Rod Pelley had 41 in 2004-05. Sophomore John Albert needs one more point to hit the 40-point mark this season.

Lighting the Lamp
The Buckeyes have five or more goals in each of their last four games, averaging 5.75 goals a game over the stretch, with a 3-1 ledger. The squad scored seven vs. Bowling Green last Saturday, five in back-to-back games vs. BG last Friday and Miami Feb. 28 and six at Miami Feb. 27.

The squad now ranks sixth in the country and second in the CCHA, averaging 3.58 goals a game on the year.

With 12 goals vs. the Falcons, the team had its second-consecutive series with double-digit goals. The squad has 10 goals or more in a series four times this season (13 vs. Bentley, 12 vs. Bowling Green in January and March, 11 vs. Miami).

From the Blueline
Defensemen scored a third of the Buckeyes’ 12 goals vs. Bowling Green last weekend. Corey Toy and Chris Reed scored Friday, with Shane Sims and Matt Bartkowski tallying Saturday.

This year. the Buckeye defense has 15 goals, led by six from Sims. Bartkowski has four, Reed and Toy have two and Erick Belanger has one.

Special Teams Synopsis
Ohio State’s second-period power-play goal vs. Bowling Green last Saturday was their first in 28 chances. The penalty kill was 10-for-10 in the series (including 6-for-6 Saturday) after allowing at least one power-play goal in five-consecutive games.

Hitting 20
Ohio State now has 22 wins this season, the most since the 2004-05 squad had 27. The 22 wins are tied for sixth in the NCAA this season and are third in the CCHA, behind Notre Dame (27) and Michigan (26).

On the Plus Side
As a team, the Buckeyes are +219 this season, including a +20 mark vs. Bowling Green last Saturday. The Buckeyes hold five of the top 11 plus/minus ratings in the league this year. Hunter Bishop is first (+30), followed by Corey Elkins in second (+27), Shane Sims (+17) and Ian Boots (+17) in seventh and Matt Bartkowski tied for 10th (+16).

The Buckeyes have outscored opponents, 107-63, at even strength this year.

Noting the BG Series
Sophomore Peter Boyd had his second-consecutive two-goal and three-point game last Friday vs. BG. It was his team-best fifth three-point outing of the season.
Chris Reed’s two-point game Friday, with a goal and an assist, was the second of his career and first since Dec. 7, 2007 vs. St. Lawrence. His goal was his first tally since Oct. 25 at Denver and the second of his career.
Kyle Reed’s two assists vs. the Falcons last Friday matched his career high, set Nov. 16, 2007 vs. Robert Morris.
Erick Belanger had a career-high two assists Friday and matched his personal best in points, first set Dec. 12 vs. Bentley.
John Albert, Ian Boots and Zac Dalpe all ended the game Saturday with two assists, with Matt Bartkowski and Shane Sims each posting two points on a goal and a helper. It was Albert’s seventh two-assist game this season and he also had a three-helper game Jan. 10 at Bowling Green. Boots now has four two-assist games as a Buckeye while Dalpe had his second multiple-assist game after a three-assist game Feb. 8 vs. Notre Dame. Bartkowski had the second two-point game of his career, first set with two assists at Denver Oct. 25. Sims’ game was his fifth multiple-point game of the season and has seven in his career.
Saturday, Hunter Bishop and Corey Elkins ended the game +4 each. It was a career high for Bishop and matched Elkins’ career best, first set at Bowling Green Nov. 17, 2006.
Ohio State swept the season series with Bowling Green, 4-0-0. Two wins were in Bowling Green, with the second two in Columbus.

Streakers
 Six Buckeyes enter the playoff series at Alaska on scoring streaks.
           Games Goals
Elkins     3     6
           Games Assists
Bartkowski 2     2
Dalpe      2     3
C. Reed    2     2
Elkins     2     2
           Games G-A-P
Elkins     5     7-4-11
Bartkowski 2     1-2-3
Picard     2     1-1-2
C. Reed    2     1-2-3
Dalpe      2     0-3-3
Toy        2     1-1-2