Feb. 4, 2003
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The No. 10-ranked Ohio State men’s hockey team (18-6-3, 12-4-2 CCHA), in second place in the CCHA, plays host to Western Michigan (13-12-1, 11-7-0 CCHA) for a two-game league series this weekend. The squads will face off at 7:05 p.m. Friday and Saturday in Value City Arena. The Buckeyes, who are a perfect 8-0-0 in CCHA play at home this season, are coming off a 1-0-1 series at Notre Dame, while the Broncos, on a five-game winning streak, did not play last weekend.
The games this weekend can be heard live on the radio at WOSU (820 AM) and online at wosu.org with Herb Howenstine (p-b-p) and former Buckeye John Mowat (color) on the call. The series will be televised by The Ohio News Network, with Jeff Hogan (p-b-p) and former Buckeye and NHL goalie Bill McKenzie (color) calling the action. The games also can be heard at www.underground.fm, home of OSU Student Radio, with Neil Sika and Aaron Stollar. Live stats from the games can be found at ohiostatebuckeyes.com.
The series vs. Western Michigan marks OSU’s annual alumni weekend. Hockey alums John Mowat (1983-85) and Bill McKenzie (1970-72) will be calling the games for radio and television, respectively. Joining them in watching Ohio State battle the Broncos will be a number of former Buckeyes, who will take part in activities including a reception and an alumni game.
THE FUN STUFF
Friday will be 50-cent brat night at Value City Arena. Saturday, there will be a postgame autograph session with the Buckeye team members.
HOME SWEET HOME
OSU is returning home after four consecutive games on the road. The Buckeyes are 12-1-0 at home on the year, including a perfect mark of 8-0-0 in CCHA action. OSU has swept Michigan State, Miami, Nebraska-Omaha and Bowling Green in home CCHA games. The team has outscored its league opponents 4.6 to 1.5, while outshooting the opposition, 39.9 to 19.6.
The Buckeyes are undefeated (12-0-3) in their last 15 CCHA games at Value City Arena, dating back to last season. The squad’s last league loss at home was a 1-0 overtime loss to Miami Nov. 30, 2001. The squad has won its last nine overall games in Value City Arena.
IN THE RANKINGS
The Buckeyes held on to 10th place in both national polls this week. The squad has been ranked in the Top 10 the last six weeks.
OSU trails the all-time series with Western Michigan, 49-56-8. In Columbus, the Buckeyes trail by one game, 27-28-4.
The Buckeyes moved into second place in the CCHA following their three-point weekend at Notre Dame and a split between Michigan and Ferris State. Ferris State stands in first place with 29 points in 20 games. OSU is three points behind with 26 points with two games in hand on the Bulldogs. Michigan is a point behind OSU (in 18 games). Fourth through seventh place is separated by just two points – MSU is fourth with 23 points in 19 games, followed by Western Michigan (22 points, 18 games played), Miami (22 pts., 22 gp) and Northern Michigan (21 pts., 18 gp).
OSU goalie Mike Betz was named the CCHA Defensive Player of the Week Monday for his performance against Notre Dame last weekend. He had 53 saves on 56 shots on the weekend and did not allow a 5×5 goal. Betz posted his eighth career shutout in the finale, stopping all 23 Irish shots.
HELP THE CHILDREN
The Ohio State men’s hockey team will be holding a dinner to benefit the children of Tanzania Sunday at The Top Steak House in Columbus. There will be two dinner seatings, with the first at 5 p.m. and the second at 8. Members of the team will serve as waiters and will collect tips that will go to STEMM, as will all proceeds from the dinner. For reservations or more information, call 614-231-8238.
A LOOK AT THE BRONCOS
Western Michigan is on a five-game winning streak, posting a home win over Michigan to start the streak, followed by a sweep of Miami at home and a two-game road sweep at Alaska Fairbanks. The squad is 13-12-1 on the year and 11-7-0 in the CCHA. The team is 10-4-0 at home, but just 3-8-1 on the road this season.
The Broncos are led in scoring by Vince Bellissimo, who has 24 points and is tied with Dana Lattery for the team goal-scoring lead with 14. Jeremy Cheyne leads the squad with 14 assists on the year. Mike Mantua and Scott Foster have shared time in net. Manuta, 8-8-0 on the year, has a goals-against average of 3.65 and a save percentage of .874, while Foster is 5-4-1 with a gaa of 3.67 and a .870 save percentage.
AT THE HELM
Jim Culhane, a 1987 graduate of Western Michigan, is in his fourth year at the helm of his alma mater. He has a career and school record of 67-65-16.
WMU LOOKING FOR REVENGE
The Buckeyes swept the Broncos in four games last season, with all four wins coming in Kalamazoo, Mich. OSU swept the regular-season series, posting a 3-1 win and a 4-3 overtime victory. In the first round of the CCHA playoffs, the Buckeyes upset the Broncos, winning the first game in overtime, 3-2, and the finale, 3-1, to advance to the CCHA Super Six at Joe Louis Arena.
THE LAST TIME IN VCA
The Buckeyes and Broncos last met in Columbus Jan. 5-6, 2000. The Buckeyes were swept, losing 3-1 and 3-2.
The series between the Buckeyes and Broncos is tied at five wins each in the last 10 meetings. OSU stopped a three-game losing streak to WMU by putting together a four-game winning streak of its own.
THE BEST AGAINST THE BRONCOS
R.J. Umberger leads the Buckeyes with nine points, on two goals and seven assists, in five career games against the Broncos, an average of 1.8 goals per game. Paul Caponigri ranks second with six points in eight games. Goalie Mike Betz had an outstanding year against the Broncos last season, with a goals-against average of 1.61 in seven games, including two overtime contests.
Western Michigan goalie Mike Mantua pulled off a rare feat earlier this season when he scored a goal against Ferris State.
MARKELL VS. THE BRONCOS
Ohio State head coach John Markell has an all-time record of 10-11-2 (.478) against Western Michigan.
The Buckeyes fought back to tie Notre Dame in the series opener last weekend, the second time this season they entered the third period of a game trailing but did not lose. The first was at Alaska Fairbanks, when OSU scored five goals in the third to come back from a 2-1 deficit. OSU is 1-6-1 when trailing after two periods this year.
OSU’s streak of games without a hat trick reached 101 over the weekend. The squad has not had a player score three goals since Oct. 21, 2000 vs. Niagara. This season, the Buckeyes have had 11 two-goal games, while last year the squad had a player score twice in a game 17 times.
Junior Mike Betz is third all-time at OSU for goalie wins with 49. He is five behind all-time leader Bill McKenzie’s mark of 54, set from 1970-72. Betz’s 2,312 saves rank seventh in OSU history. Dan Stergiou (1973-76) is the all-time leader with 3,261. His eight career shutouts are two behind McKenzie’s program record of 10.
WHAT A PERFORMANCE
The Buckeyes stopped all eight Irish power play chances in the series finale. It was OSU’s second 8-for-8 performance of the year; the first was Nov. 23 at Ferris State.
RANKED WITH THE BEST
Buckeye freshman Ryan Kesler is ranked 20th by the NHL’s Central Scouting Service in the midterm rankings of domestic players for the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. He is the highest-rated CCHA skater and the fourth-highest skater among NCAA student-athletes, behind Minnesota’s Thomas Vanek (3rd), North Dakota’s Zach Parise (11th) and Colorado College’s Mark Stuart (17th).
OSU’s power play in the last five games: 1/17 vs. BGSU 2/4 1/24 at UNO 0/6 1/25 at UNO 0/5 1/31 at ND 1/11 2/1 at ND 1/7 Totals 4/33 (12.1%)
OSU’s penalty killing in the last five games: 1/17 vs. BGSU 4/5 1/24 at UNO 2/4 1/25 at UNO 6/7 1/31 at ND 4/6 2/1 at ND 8/8 Totals 24/30 (80%)
DE-FENSE … DE-FENSE
The Buckeyes lead the CCHA in team defense both overall and in league contests. The squad is allowing 2.04 goals a game in all games and holding opponents to 1.94 goals a game in league outings.
The Buckeyes’ remaining five opponents – Western Michigan, Miami, Alaska Fairbanks, Northern Michigan and Miami – have combined for a .563 winning percentage overall this season. In league play, the teams have won 54.6 percent of their games.
Ohio State leads the CCHA in shots per game, averaging 36.15 shots on goal a contest. In league play, the team is first with 38.06 shots a game. The team is allowing opponents just 24.41 shots overall, 23.89 in league play.
The Buckeyes, with a CCHA record of 12-4-2, already have tied their conference win mark from last season. The team ended the 2001-02 season 12-12-4 in league play.
WHERE HE RANKS
Junior R.J. Umberger has 113 career points to rank 38th all-time in Ohio State history. He has 50-63-113 totals in 96 games (1.18 goals per game).
This season, nine Buckeyes have posted at least 10 points. Four – R.J. Umberger, Scott May, Ryan Kesler and Paul Caponigri – have at least 20 points, led by Umberger’s 37.
Senior Scott Titus, the Buckeyes’ captain, has been steady on defense throughout the year. He has just three minus ratings and is plus or better in the last 17 outings. He was a team season-high +4 in the first game against Bowling Green and ranks second on the team with a +12 rating.
ON THE BOARD
The Buckeyes are 14-0-2 this season when scoring the first goal of a game. All six losses have come when they have allowed their opponent to score first.
THE MARK TO HIT
The Buckeyes are a perfect 16-0-1 when scoring three or more goals this season. They are 1-0-1 when scoring three times, 8-0-0 with four scores, 3-0-0 when posting five goals and 4-0-0 when they light the lamp six or more times.
R.J. Umberger leads the Buckeyes in both goals (18) and points (37) this season, while Scott May is first on the squad with 22 assists. Doug Andress has a team-high +16 rating and Nate Guenin leads the team in both penalties (24) and penalty minutes (59). Umberger also ranks first in power-play (6) and gamewinning (5) goals, as well as shots (135).
The Buckeyes will face cluster-opponent Miami for two games next week. The teams will face off at 7:35 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13 at Goggin Arena in Oxford, Ohio, in a game that will determine the winner of the Ohio Cup. The Buckeyes and RedHawks will close out their regular-season series at 4:05 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15 at Cincinnati Gardens in Cincinnati.