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Dec. 13, 2002

Box Score

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 12-ranked Ohio State men’s hockey team moved into second place in the CCHA standings with a 4-1 win over the Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks Friday at Value City Arena.

Reigning CCHA Offensive Player of the Week R.J. Umberger led the charge with two goals for the Buckeyes, who showered Nebraska-Omaha goalie Dan Ellis, the reigning CCHA Defensive Player of the Week, with 42 shots. Umberger now is just three points shy of his 100th career point.

The win improves the Buckeyes to 11-4-1 overall and 8-2-1 in CCHA play, as well as 8-1-0 at home this season. The Mavericks drop to 7-8-2 overall and 5-6-0 in the league.

The Buckeyes and Mavericks will finish the two-game series at 8:05 p.m. Saturday in Value City Arena. It marks OSU’s last game before a two-week break for the holidays.

In the first period, Umberger got the Buckeyes on the board with a power-play goal at the 10:40 mark. He beat Ellis, taking a shot from the right face-off circle and putting the puck between the post and his pads. Miguel Lafleche (Sr., Crysler, Ontario/Hawkesbury Harks) and Paul Caponigri assisted on the goal. In the period, OSU outshot the Mavericks, 10-4. There was just one penalty called in the stanza, as UNO’s Mike Gabinet was called for interference. The Buckeyes scored on the ensuing power play chance.

Umberger scored the lone goal of the second period to put the Buckeyes up, 2-0. In the Mavericks’ zone, Nate Guenin passed the puck to Ryan Kesler, whose shot was saved by Ellis. However, Umberger was there to put in the rebound for his team-best 11th goal of the year and second of the night. The Buckeyes continued their barrage of shots, out-shooting UNO, 18-5, and attempting 35 shots total in the stanza. OSU’s 18 shots tied its season high for a period, set Nov. 3 vs. Colgate.

In the third, Nebraska-Omaha found the score sheet when freshman Micah Sanford notched his sixth goal of the season to cut OSU’s lead to one with 10 minutes remaining in the game. Ohio State added to its lead less than five minutes later when Eric Skaug and Scott May led Caponigri through the neutral zone. Caponigri skated into the Maverick zone, beat a UNO defender and backhanded the puck past Ellis for his sixth goal of the season, putting the Buckeyes up by two with 5:14 remaining. After killing off just the second UNO power-play of the evening, the Buckeyes added an insurance goal as junior Dave Steckel stole the puck in the Mavericks’ zone and put the puck past Ellis for his ninth goal of the season. The Buckeyes had 14 shots on net in the period and held the Mavericks to six for a game total of 15.

Ellis (6-8-2) made 38 saves in the loss, while Ohio State goalie Mike Betz (9-3-1) made 14 saves in the Buckeye victory.

For the game, OSU was 1-for-3 with the man advantage and held the Mavericks scoreless on their two power-play chances.

The win gives the Buckeyes 17 points in CCHA play, moving them ahead of Miami and Northern Michigan for second place in the conference with a game in hand on both teams.

Postgame quotes
Ohio State head coach John Markell
“We have always had a competitive series (with Nebraska-Omaha). We didn’t want to give them any kind of momentum. We generated some good scoring chances and stayed persistent.

“(Ellis) was doing great things off rebounds. You have to give him credit. He kept their team in the game.

“It’s more comforting to be at home. We have one more game in hand before Christmas and those are points we need. We are going to watch the tape and make a couple of adjustments. We limited them to 15 shots on net and stayed out of the box. It was a physical game with some good hits. We stayed focused on what we do best.”

Ohio State junior forward R.J. Umberger
“I thought we let down in the third period and we felt we didn’t play our best. The third period was definitely our flattest. We will come out and play better tomorrow and so will they. It will make for a much better game.

“Good teams find a way to win. You have to find a way to get your two points no matter how you do it.”

Ohio State junior Paul Caponigri
“The key on our first goal was that (Umberger) tried to find a hole instead of shooting it as hard as he could.

“Our team has a history with (Nebraska-Omaha), especially starting with our (junior) class. (The 2002 playoff series) is the first thing I think of when we play them. If we don’t come out at a higher level tomorrow there could be a different outcome.”

Ohio State junior goalie Mike Betz
“Our defense did a good job keeping the puck outside and that kept my job simple. The one good chance they (Nebraska-Omaha) had, they buried it.

“It didn’t matter what their record was or how good they have been playing lately. Every time these two teams take the ice you know it’s going to be a dogfight.”

Nebraska-Omaha head coach Mike Kemp
“They (Ohio State) had the puck the whole night and that didn’t give us a lot of shots. We didn’t come ready to play and if that happens you can’t expect to win against a team with this kind of capability and talent. R.J. (Umberger), Dave (Steckel) and Paul (Caponigri) are big playmakers. They came up big when they needed to but they also have a wonderful supporting cast. They have players that can play at both ends of the rink and that makes for a good hockey team.”

Hockey Game Box Score (Final) Ohio State Hockey 2002-03 Nebraska-Omaha vs Ohio State (Dec 13, 2002 at Columbus, Ohio)

Nebraska-Omaha (7-8-2, 5-6-0 CCHA) vs. Ohio State (11-4-1, 8-2-1 CCHA) Date: Dec 13, 2002 Location: Columbus, Ohio Arena: Value City Arena Attendance:5407 Start time:7:05 pm End time:9:05 pm Total time:2:00

Goals by Period 1 2 3 Total Nebraska-Omaha 0 0 1 1 Ohio State 1 1 2 4

1st period – 1, OSU, R.J. Umberger/10 (Miguel Lafleche/3, Paul Caponigri/12) 11:25 (pp). Penalties – Mike Gabinet, UNO (interference) 10:40.

2nd period – 2, OSU, R.J. Umberger/11 (Ryan Kesler/13, Nate Guenin/2) 1:01. Penalties – Micah Sanford, UNO (interference) 4:31; David Morelli, UNO (holding) 17:06.

3rd period – 3, UNO, Micah Sanford/6 (Dan Hacker/7, Anthony Adams/6) 10:00. 4, OSU, Paul Caponigri/5 (Scott May/15, Eric Skaug/6) 14:46. 5, OSU, Dave Steckel/8 19:25. Penalties – JB Bittner, OSU (tripping) 5:52; Paul Caponigri, OSU (obstruction tripping) 17:21.

Shots on goal – UNO 4-5-6 15; OSU 10-18-14 42.

Power plays – UNO 0 of 2; OSU 1 of 3.

Penalties – UNO 3 (6 min); OSU 2 (4 min).

Goalies – UNO, Dan Ellis 6-8-2 (60:00 minutes, 42 shots-38 saves); OSU, Mike Betz 9-4-1 (60:00, 15-14).

A-5407 T-2:00 Three stars: 1. R.J. Umberger 2. Paul Caponigri 3. Dan Ellis Referee:Kevin Hall Assistant Referee:Bruce Vida; Dave Kronenberg Win-Mike Betz (9-4-1). Loss-Dan Ellis (6-8-2).