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Dec. 27, 2004

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Ohio Hockey Classic
Nationwide Arena
Columbus, Ohio

No. 10/11 Ohio State (11-5-2, 9-2-1 CCHA)
vs.
Minnesota State (7-9-2, 4-9-1 WCHA)

5:05 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 29

Miami (7-9-2, 3-7-2 CCHA)
vs.
No. 2 Colorado College (15-3-0, 9-3-0 WCHA)

8:05 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 29

Miami vs. Minnesota State
5:05 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 30

Ohio State vs. Colorado College
8:05 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 30

Faceoff
Ohio State plays host to the inaugural Ohio Hockey Classic Wednesday-Thursday at Nationwide Arena in Columbus.

The tournament features No. 10/11 Ohio State and Miami of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association facing off against No. 2 Colorado College and Minnesota State, Mankato of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, with the matchups already set. OSU and MSU will meet at 5:05 p.m. in the first game Dec. 29, followed by the Miami vs. CC game at 8:05 p.m. Dec. 30, the RedHawks and Mavericks will meet at 5:05, with the Buckeyes and Tigers facing off at 8:05 p.m.

Reserved tickets for the tournament are $11 a day and include both games. They may be purchased at the Nationwide Arena Ticket Office, at all Ticketmaster Ticket Centers, online at www.ticketmaster.com or by phone at 614-431-3600. Tickets also are available at the Blue Jackets Zones located at the Chiller Dublin (7001 Dublin Park Drive in Dublin), Chiller Easton (3600 Chiller Lane in Columbus) and Chiller North (8144 Highfield Drive in Lewis Center).

A Quick Look at the Teams
After 18 games, Ohio State is 11-5-2 overall and stands in second place in the CCHA with a 9-2-1 record. The team is ranked 10th nationally in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll and is 11th in the USCHO.com rankings.

Miami has a 7-9-2 record and is in 11th place in the CCHA with a 3-7-2 mark in CCHA play.

Colorado College enters the tournament ranked second nationally with a 15-3 ledger and is tied for third in the WCHA at 9-3-0.

Minnesota State has compiled a 7-9-2 record and is 4-9-1 in WCHA action to stand in seventh.

The Broadcast
WOSU radio (820 AM/wosu.org) will broadcast the Buckeyes’ games in the Ohio Hockey Classic, with Neil Sika (play-by-play) and former Buckeye John Mowat (color) on the call.

In addition, both Buckeye games in the tournament can be seen live on The Ohio News Network, with Columbus Blue Jacket radio broadcasters Bill Davidge, a member of the Ohio State hockey team from 1974-77 and Miami’s head coach from 1986-89, and George Matthews calling the action.

Live stats from all four games of the tournament will be available on the Internet. Links to the games can be found at http://ohiostatebuckeyes.collegesports.com/sports/m-hockey/spec-rel/120804aac.html.

The Details
The champion of the Ohio Hockey Classic will be determined by the following criteria – 1) Record; 2) Goal Differential; 3) Lowest Goals Against; 4) Coin Flip.

An awards ceremony, announcing the tournament champion, runner-up and all-tournament team, will be held immediately following the second game Thursday.

If any game in the tournament is tied at the end of regulation, a standard five-minute overtime will be played, with the team that scores first winning. If a goal is not scored in the five-minute overtime, the game officially is recorded as a tie. For tournament purposes, a shootout then will be held to determine a winner.

The Ohio Hockey Classic will be held in Columbus in late December the next two seasons. Ohio State and Miami have committed for the next two years and Bowling Green will join the tournament for 2006.

Last Time Out
Ohio State and Miami have been off since Dec. 10-11. In their last action, the Buckeyes went 0-1-1 on the road at Clarkson, tying the opener, 3-3 in overtime, and falling in game two, 3-1. Miami was 0-1-1 at home against Ferris State in its last time out, tying game one, 3-3 in overtime, before suffering a 2-1 loss in game two.

Colorado College and Minnesota State faced off Dec. 17-18 in the last action for those squads. The Tigers posted a two-game home sweep, with 8-5 and 4-3 wins.

A Championship City
The Ohio Hockey Classic title is the first of two college hockey championships that will be decided in Columbus. In April, the 2005 NCAA Men’s Frozen Four, the national championship, will be held at Value City Arena on the Ohio State campus. The 17,500-seat venue is just 10 minutes away from Nationwide Arena.

Not a First
Ohio State has played in a holiday tournament in Ohio before. The squad was 1-1 in the 1992 Cleveland Hockey Classic in Richfield, Ohio. OSU played in the Riverfront Invitational at Riverfront Coliseum in Cincinnati four times, going was 0-2 in the 1989 tournament, 1-1 in 1988, 2-0 in 1986 and 1-1 in 1985 for an overall mark of 4-4.

The Battle for the Cup
This season, the commissioners from the six Division I hockey conferences created a 21-game series to be played among the conferences, including Atlantic Hockey, the ECAC Hockey League, the CCHA, Hockey East, College Hockey America and the WCHA. The series started in October and ends in late January. Each league participates in seven designated contests, with each conference playing three homes games, three road games and one at a neutral site.

Standings are based on teams earning two points for a win and one point for a tie. The conference that amasses the most points through its seven games will be presented with the Commissioners’ Cup at its conference championship weekend. The game between Ohio State and Colorado College Thursday will count toward the Commissioners Cup series.

Standings GP W L T Pts ECACHL 5 4 1 0 8 HE 5 3 2 0 6 CHA 5 3 2 0 6 CCHA 4 2 1 1 5 WCHA 4 1 2 1 3 AH 5 0 5 0 0

The Series
OSU vs. MSU

OSU and Minnesota State have never met on the ice.

OSU vs. CC
Ohio State and Colorado College have met once, with the Tigers posting an 8-0 win Feb. 9, 1968, in Colorado Springs, Colo.

OSU vs. the WCHA
OSU is 10-30-2 all-time against WCHA teams, including a 3-1 loss to St. Cloud State Oct. 10 in the Ice Breaker Tournament in the second game of the year. The Buckeyes were 0-2 against WCHA squads last season, with a loss to Denver in the Lefty McFadden Invitational to open the year and an overtime loss to Wisconsin in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

The Other Team
Ohio State will not face CCHA and instate rival Miami in the Ohio Hockey Classic. The teams played earlier this season, with Ohio State sweeping a home-and-home series Oct. 21-22. The Buckeyes won at home, 9-3, Oct. 21 and recorded a 2-1 victory Oct. 22 in Oxford, Ohio.

Ohio State and Miami met six times last year, with each team posting three wins. The Buckeyes and RedHawks met in the consolation game of the Lefty McFadden Invitational at the start of the season, met four times in the regular season and then faced off in the semifinals of the CCHA postseason tournament.

A Look at the Mavericks
MSU ended the first part of the season 7-9-2 on the year and is in seventh place in the WCHA with a 4-9-1 record. The team is coming off two losses on the road at Colorado College, falling Dec. 17, 8-5, and suffering a 4-3 loss in game two Dec. 18. MSU is looking to stop a three-game losing streak.

The Mavericks are averaging 3.17 goals a game, while allowing 3.50. The team has a 16.1 percent success rate on the power play and has stopped 79 percent of its opponents’ power-play chances.

Sophomore David Backes leads the team with 11 goals and 20 points. Sophomore Travis Morin is second on the team with 15 points, including seven goals. Sophomore defenseman Kyle Peto has a team-best 12 assists and is third on the team with 12 points. In goal, senior Jon Volp has played in 14 games, with a 3.01 goals-against average and .906 save percentage. Sophomore Chris Clark (4 gp, 2.59 gaa, .909 svpct) and junior Kyle Nixon (3 gp, 6.80 gaa, .798 svpct) also have seen time in net.

At the Helm
Troy Jutting, a 1987 graduate of Minnesota State, is in his fifth year at the helm of his alma mater. He was a forward for the Mavericks from 1982-86 and earned all-conference honors as a senior. He served as an assistant coach beginning in 1990 until he was named head coach prior to the start of the 2000 season. Jutting was the 2003 WCHA Coach of the Year after leading MSU to its first appearance in the Division I NCAA tournament.

MSU History
Minnesota State is in its 10th year as a NCAA Division I member and made its first postseason DI appearance in the NCAA tournament in 2002-03. MSU was a member of Division II-III from 1969-95 and made 11 NCAA postseason appearances during that time. The Mavericks won the NCAA Division II title in 1980.

A Look at the Tigers
Colorado College enters the tournament ranked second in the country with a 15-3 overall record and is tied for third place in the WCHA with a 9-3 ledger in league play. The Tigers swept Minnesota State at home Dec. 17-18, with 8-5 and 4-3 wins.

The Tigers are averaging 4.44 goals a game, while allowing 2.39 an outing. The squad has converted 24.5 percent of its power-play chances and has an 83.2 percent success rate on the penalty kill.

Individually, Marty Sertich leads Colorado College with 18 assists and a national-best 33 points. He is tied with Brett Sterling for the team goal-scoring lead with 15 each. Sterling is second on the team in points with 30. In net, Curtis McElhinney and Matt Zaba have shared time. McElhinney is 10-1 with a 2.25 goals-against average and .923 save percentage, while Zaba is 5-2 and has a 2.58 gaa and .907 svpct.

At the Helm
Scott Owens, a 1979 graduate of Colorado College, is in his sixth season at the helm of the Tigers. Prior to coaching at CC, Owens spent four seasons coaching the DesMoines Buccaneers of the United States Hockey League and four years with the Madison Capitols of the USHL, in addition to a year as an assistant coach at Wisconsin (1990-91). Owens played in 50 games for CC, posting 12 wins as a senior goalie in 1978-79.

Local Ties
Richard F. Celeste, the former governor of Ohio, is the university president of Colorado College. Celeste served two terms, from 1982-90. He also was an Ohio state representative (1970-74) and served as the state’s lieutenant governor (1974-78).

Home for the Holidays
The Ohio Hockey Classic stops a streak of four consecutive appearances for the Buckeyes in the Everblades College Classic in Naples, Fla.

This marks the seventh consecutive year Ohio State will appear in a holiday tournament. Prior to playing in the Everblades College Classic the last four years, OSU played in the 1999 Vermont Hockey Classic and the 1998 Mariucci Classic in Minneapolis, Minn.

The Last Time
The Buckeyes last won a holiday tournament in 1991, when they beat Colgate (6-5 OT) and Clarkson (4-3) in the Syracuse Invitational. OSU was 1-1 in the Everblades tournament last season, beating Maine in the first round, 4-2, before losing to Cornell in overtime in the championship game, 4-3. OSU was 3-4-1 in the Florida tourney combined in the last four seasons.

At the Home of the CBJ
Ohio State has played two games in Nationwide Arena since the building opened in 2000. The Buckeyes swept Nebraska-Omaha in the first round of the first round of 2003 CCHA Tournament in the arena. Against the Mavericks, OSU won 4-1 March 14, 2003, followed by a series-clinching 3-1 win March 15.

The Offensive leaders
Junior Rod Pelley (11-8) shares the team scoring lead with freshman Domenic Maiani (8-11) with 19 points each. The duo had a team-high three points in the series at Clarkson, with Pelley posting a goal and two assists and Maiani recording three helpers.

Pelley and Maiani entered break with the only scoring streaks on the squad. Pelley has points in his last five games, while Maiani is on a three-game scoring streak.

Making his Marks
Junior Rod Pelley set his career high and marked his 50th career point with his 11th goal of the season at Clarkson Dec. 10. He leads the team in goals and is second in the CCHA overall. Pelley also has a team and league best best eight power-goals this season.

Mr. Consistent
Junior forward Dan Knapp is tied for third in scoring for Ohio State with 17 points, on eight goals and nine assists. He has a point in 13 of 18 games on the year and has not gone more than one game without at least one point. He recorded the team’s only hat trick of the season Nov. 6 against Sacred Heart. Knapp has 65 points in 76 games as a Buckeye.

Comeback Kids
At Clarkson Dec. 10, Ohio State entered the third period trailing, 3-2, before Sean Collins scored to tie the game. It marked the second time this season Ohio State came back to tie the game after trailing entering the third period. OSU came back from two goals down to tie Nebraska-Omaha Nov. 20.

The Buckeyes are 4-1 this season when entering the third period of a game tied. Dec. 3, Ohio State and Alaska Fairbanks were tied at 1 at the end of two periods after the Buckeyes tied the game in the middle stanza. OSU went on to win the contest, 2-1, on Rod Pelley’s third-period goal.

In addition to the game vs. UAF, OSU won at Ferris State Oct. 15 (4-2) and Oct. 16 (4-3 OT) and at Western Michigan Oct. 30 (5-2) when tied after the second period. The team’s loss when tied after two came against the Broncos Oct. 29 (6-3).

Shut Down
The Buckeyes were held to just one goal at Clarkson Dec. 11, just the fourth time this season the team has scored less than two goals in a game. After scoring just once in each of the first two games of the year, the team has scored three or more goals in 13 of 16 games. OSU is averaging 3.5 goals a game on the year.

A Familiar Position
Ohio State ended the first part of the season in second place in the CCHA for the second year in a row. The team is three points behind Michigan this year and Ohio State went into break in second place last year, one point behind Miami. OSU ended the 2004-05 campaign in fourth place in the CCHA.

What Used to be a Rarity
The tie at Clarkson Dec. 10 was the second for the Buckeyes this season and the second in four games. The team ended last year with no ties in 42 games.

On the Power Play
Ohio State has scored at least one power-play goal in all but three games this year and has converted 20.1 percent of its power-play chances (30/149). The team has eight games with multiple power-play goals, including a season-best five against Sacred Heart Nov. 6. Rod Pelley is first on the team with eight power-play scores, followed by Dan Knapp with six and JB Bittner with five. Four other Buckeyes have two power-play tallies on the year.

Home Sweet Home
Ohio State is unbeaten in Columbus this season, with a perfect 7-0 record at Value City Arena. Overall, the team has a 12-game home winning streak, dating back to Jan. 24, 2004, when Michigan State completed a two-game sweep of the Buckeyes with a 3-0 win.

The Four-Point Club
Sean Collins’ four-point (1-3) game Dec. 4 against Alaska Fairbanks marked the third four-point night for a Buckeye this season, with all three games coming at home in Value City Arena. Matt McIlvane had four points (1-3) against Miami Oct. 21, while Tom Fritsche had four assists and points vs. Sacred Heart Nov. 6. The four points in a game tie the arena record, set 16 times total. In 42 games last year, the Buckeyes had just two individual four-point nights.

Get out the Brooms
Ohio State has five weekend two-game sweeps this season, matching their total from the regular season last year. So far this year, the team posted a sweep on the road at Ferris State, swept Miami in a home-and-home series and won two games over Sacred Heart, Northern Michigan and Alaska Fairbanks in Columbus.

Special Teams
Ohio State’s power play unit has been right around its season average the last four games, while the penalty killing has dropped a bit.

Date Opp. PP Pk 12/3 UAF 1/7 9/9 12/4 UAF 3/8 6/7 12/10 Clarkson 1/4 5/7 12/11 Clarkson 1/10 7/9 PP – 6/29 (20.7%) PK – 27/32 (84.4%)

Getting Closer
Ohio State has 30 power-play goals this season, just five shy of the team total from 42 games last year. This season, the Buckeyes have converted 30-of-149 chances (20.1 percent), while last year the squad was successful 16.5 percent (35-212).

Leading the way for the Buckeyes has been Rod Pelley, who has eight goals and 13 points on the power play. Dan Knapp is just behind with six power-play goals and also has 13 points. Domenic Maiani has a team-best nine assists on the power play and ranks third with 11 points. In all, 17 Buckeyes have at least a point on the power play.

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 Dec. 28, Jan. 4, Jan. 12, Jan. 18, Jan. 25, Feb. 1, Feb. 8, March 1 and March 8. Fans are welcome to call in (614-821-1460) with questions for Markell.

Leading the Way
Senior forward JB Bittner is serving as team captain and junior defenseman Nate Guenin and junior forward Rod Pelley are 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.

On the Air
Ohio State will appear on both national and local television this season.

OSU’s 2004-05 Television Schedule Oct. 9 New Hampshire NH Public TV Dec. 4 Alaska Fairbanks SPORT! 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

Up Next
Ohio State will return to CCHA action when it plays host to Ferris State Jan. 7-8, 2005, in Value City Arena. The teams will meet at 8:05 p.m. Jan. 7 and at 7:35 p.m. Jan. 8. The game Jan. 7 will be televised live by CSTV.