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Dec. 14, 2002

Box Score

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 12-ranked Ohio State men’s hockey team defeated the Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks, 3-1, Saturday at Value City Arena, completing a two-game sweep of UNO. It marks OSU’s fifth two-game sweep of the season and leaves OSU one point behind Ferris State for first place in the CCHA heading into a two-week holiday break.

Junior R.J. Umberger continued his hot streak, notching his 12th and 13th goals of the season, including his second gamewinner of the weekend. Junior Doug Andress and freshman Dan Knapp each added two assists in the Buckeye victory, which extended the team’s winning streak to four and the team’s home winning streak to six.

The Buckeyes improve to 12-4-1 overall and 9-2-1 in CCHA play, as well as 9-1-0 at home this season. The Mavericks fall to 7-9-2 overall and 5-7-0 in the league.

OSU ended the first period leading, 2-1. Rod Pelley got OSU on the board with a power-play goal, the first of his career, at the 4:20 mark. Andress and Ryan Kesler assisted on the goal. Pelley banked the puck off UNO goalie Dan Ellis from behind the red line for the score. Umberger extended OSU’s lead to two with a score at the 5:33 mark, as he put in the rebound of a Dan Knapp shot. Kesler also assisted on the goal, as he got the puck to Knapp. The Mavericks’ Scotty Turner scored a power-play goal of his own at 16:17 to cut OSU’s lead to one. The Buckeyes outshot the Mavericks in the period, 13-6.

There was no scoring in the second period. OSU continued to pepper Ellis with shots, outshooting the Mavericks in the period, 16-5, for a two-period lead in shots of 29-11. Each team was 0-for-1 on the power play. Only trailing by a goal behind entering the third period, the Mavericks looked for the equalizer but were unable to get the puck past OSU goalie Mike Betz. After coincidental minors to OSU’s Dave Steckel and Josh Weeks of Nebraska-Omaha, the Buckeyes capitalized on the ensuing 4×4 situation. After a pair of kick saves by Betz, Umberger picked up the puck and drove down the ice. Umberger passed to Andress, who streaked down the ice and led Umberger. He then beat the UNO defensemen and put the puck past Ellis to put the game out of reach. OSU outshot the Mavericks, 11-9, in the period.

Ellis made 37 saves in the game on 40 OSU shots. Betz made 19 saves in the win.

OSU was 1-for-5 on the power play and stopped UNO on 3-of-4 chances.

Umberger ended the weekend with four goals, including both gamewinners. He now has 99 career points, with 45 goals and 54 assists in 86 games. He has 11 points (7-4-11) in his last four games, with three gamewinning goals.

The Buckeye will return to action Dec. 28 against Massachusetts in the Everblades College Classic in Estero, Fla. Maine and Cornell will face off in the other first-round game, with the championship and consolation games played the 29th.

Postgame quotes
Ohio State head coach John Markell
“It was a good game tonight and it was exciting to watch from behind the bench. They (Nebraska -Omaha) played a better game tonight (than last night). They took the momentum away from us in the second and third period a little bit. (Dan) Ellis played fantastic. He is a good goalie but (Mike) Betz was up for the challenge too.

“They gained some momentum on their power play goal but we made the adjustment. We did a good job in the first period and came out and played hockey. I think it’s an advantage to play at home. We were prepared for the battle. It was a hard-hitting game but it was clean. It was a good college hockey game.

“The guys know they have a break and are going home. We have played a great first half of the season and this is the position we wanted to be in since last spring. The guys have worked very hard over the summer and through the fall. We have great leadership and a good bunch of kids. I’m happy for them and I know they are ready for the break.”

Ohio State junior forward R.J. Umberger
On his second goal of the game that made the score 3-1: “I thought it put the game away for us. Even though we outplayed them, a 2-1 lead with five minutes left is still a close game. I think our third goal put them back on their heels and I felt that would do it for us.

“(Dan) Ellis is a heck of a goalie. He sees everything up high and does a good job of controlling rebounds.

“I have been more confident over the past few games. I have been healthy and playing like myself.

“We are an older team and more mature. College hockey is tough. Over the past few years we have had a lot of young freshmen and now we are growing up together. Also, we keep bringing in talented players.”

Ohio State junior Doug Andress
“We knew a big key would be to come down and get the puck in front of the net and make the stop. We are comfortable playing at home and each unit of our team just feeds off each other. We have great chemistry.

“Winning is so much fun. We have been a more confident team this year, so how can you not be happy? We go into our practices happy. The guys are having fun and it’s a great time.”

Nebraska-Omaha head coach Mike Kemp
“Obviously you try to get as much out of your team as possible every day. Tonight we played exceptionally well for a period of time but the first period was not up to our standards. We turned it up in the second and third periods. It was a good hockey game.

“The theme of the series was R.J. (Umberger) and Mike (Betz). They did the job when they had to and stepped up. Every time R.J. is on the ice you notice him. He is playing like a first-round draft pick. He has always been an excellent player. Dan (Ellis) played great both nights and he deserved a better fate statistically.”

Hockey Game Box Score (Final) Ohio State Hockey 2002-03 Nebraska-Omaha vs Ohio State (Dec 14, 2002 at Columbus, Ohio)

Nebraska-Omaha (7-9-2, 5-7-0 CCHA) vs. Ohio State (12-4-1, 9-2-1 CCHA) Date: Dec 14, 2002 Location: Columbus, Ohio Arena: Value City Arena Attendance:5767 Start time:8:05 pm End time:10:08 pm Total time:2:03

Goals by Period 1 2 3 Total Nebraska-Omaha 1 0 0 1 Ohio State 2 0 1 3

1st period – 1, OSU, Rod Pelley/2 (Doug Andress/7, Dan Knapp/10) 4:20 (pp). 2, OSU, R.J. Umberger/12 (Dan Knapp/11, Ryan Kesler/14) 5:33. 3, UNO, Scotty Turner/4 (David Brisson, Greg Zanon) 16:17 (pp). Penalties – Josh Weeks, UNO (holding) 2:48; Nate Guenin, OSU (tripping) 7:54; Aaron Smith, UNO (obstruction-hooking) 11:31; Dan Knapp, OSU (tripping) 15:15; Mike Gabinet, UNO (roughing) 19:01.

2nd period – Penalties – Nate Guenin, OSU (interference) 2:41.

3rd period – 4, OSU, R.J. Umberger/13 (Doug Andress/7, Mike Betz/1) 13:47. Penalties – Scott May, OSU (obstruction-holding) :30; Mike Lefley, UNO (checking from behind) 1:52; Cody Blanshan, UNO (cross-checking) 3:17; Dave Steckel, OSU (roughing) 13:23; Josh Weeks, UNO (holding) 13:23.

Shots on goal – UNO 6-5-9 20; OSU 13-16-11 40.

Power plays – UNO 1 of 4; OSU 1 of 5.

Penalties – UNO 6 (12 min); OSU 5 (10 min).

Goalies – UNO, Dan Ellis 6-9-2 (59:14 minutes, 40 shots-37 saves) , EMPTY NET (00:46, 0-0); OSU, Mike Betz 10-3-1 (60:00, 20-19).

A-5767 T-2:03 Three stars: 1. R.J. Umberger 2. Dan Ellis 3. Dan Knapp Referee:Kevin Hall Assistant Referee:Bruce Vida; Dave Kronenberg Win-Mike Betz (10-3-1). Loss-Dan Ellis (6-9-2).