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Nov. 4, 2003

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FACEOFF
The No. 13/14 Ohio State men’s hockey team (6-3-0, 5-1-0 CCHA) hits the road for a two-game series with CCHA-foe Northern Michigan (3-3-0, 2-2-0 CCHA) Friday-Saturday. The teams will meet at 7:35 p.m. both nights at Berry Events Center in Marquette, Mich.

THE BROADCAST
The Buckeyes’ series with Northern Michigan will be broadcast live by WOSU Radio (820 AM/wosu.org), with Neil Sika and former Buckeye John Mowat on the call.

LAST TIME OUT
The Buckeyes are coming off a two-game sweep of Alaska Fairbanks at home last weekend by scores of 4-2 and 3-2. Northern Michigan beat the U.S. National Under-18 Team in an exhibition game, 8-3, Friday in its last time out. In its last regular-season competition (Oct. 24-25), the team was swept at Michigan.

HONORED AGAIN
Senior goalie Mike Betz (Elizabeth, Pa.) has been named the Central Collegiate Hockey Association Defensive Player of the Week, the league announced Monday. Betz backstopped the Buckeyes to a two-game home sweep of Alaska Fairbanks last weekend. Betz stopped 60-of-64 Nanooks shots in the two-game series. He had 19 saves the first night before posting a 41-save performance Saturday. The 41 saves marked the fourth game of his career he had 40-plus saves, but the first since Oct. 12, 2002. Betz also helped the Buckeyes stop all eight UAF power-play chances in the series. This marks the second time this season Betz has earned league defensive player of the week honors, as he also was honored Oct. 19. In his career, Betz has been named a league player of the week six times.

ON A RUN
The Buckeyes enter the series vs. the Wildcats on a five-game winning streak in conference play. The team stands alone in first place in the league with a 5-1-0 mark.

MARK IT DOWN
Both game in the Buckeyes’ series vs. Michigan Nov. 14-15 will start at 8:05 p.m. Earlier schedules had the times listed at 7:05 p.m.

THE SERIES
Ohio State trails the all-time series with Northern Michigan by one game, 23-22-3. In Marquette, NMU leads 17-7-2. The Buckeyes are 6-4-0 in the last 10 games against Northern Michigan.

RECENTLY IN THE UP
The teams have split the last two series in Marquette, Mich. Last season, the Wildcats won the opener Feb. 28, 5-2, before the Buckeyes rebounded for a 4-1 win March 1. The last series at NMU was in the 2000-01 season. Ohio State won the first game, 5-3 Oct. 13, before falling in the finale, 2-5, Oct. 14.

IT WAS A SHORT BREAK
The Buckeyes have traveled to Marquette five of the last six seasons, playing 10 games at the Wildcats’ home rink and going 5-5-0. In that same span, NMU has traveled to Columbus for just four games (where the Buckeyes are 4-0-0). The 2001-02 season was the only year out of the last five the Buckeyes did not make the trip north to face NMU.

A LOOK BACK – THE 2002-03 SEASON
The Buckeyes split a two-game series with Northern Michigan in Marquette, Mich., Feb. 28-March 1 before the Wildcats posted a 4-1 win in the CCHA Super Six Third-Place Game March 22 at Joe Louis Arena.

In the first game, the Wildcats jumped out to a 2-0 lead before Daymen Bencharski cut the lead to one with a power-play goal with just 21 seconds remaining in the first period. NMU added a third goal in the second period and made the score 4-1 with a power-play tally eight minutes into the third. The teams traded goals with under two minutes remaining for the 5-2 final.

In the second game, Miguel Lafleche scored the first goal of the game to give OSU a lead it would never lose. R.J. Umberger and Nate Guenin added second-period tallies. The Wildcats’ scored their lone goal of the game in the third period to break up OSU goalie Mike Betz’s shutout, but Scott May regained OSU’s three-goal lead with a 4-on-4 goal for the 4-1 score.

At the Joe, Umberger got the Buckeyes on the board with an unassisted goal in the first, but NMU’s Dirk Southern tied the game just over three minutes later. The Wildcats scored the lone goal of the second stanza to gain a lead they would not relinquish. NMU added two third-period goals for the 4-1 final.

A LOOK AT THE WILDCATS
Northern Michigan is 3-3-0 on the year and 2-2-0 in the CCHA. IN league play, the Wildcats swept Bowling Green at home but were swept on the road at Michigan. The team is coming off an 8-3 victory over the U.S. National Under-18 Team in an exhibition game.

Freshman Darrin Oliver leads the Wildcats in scoring with 4-4-8 totals. Sophomores Andrew Contois (3-3), Dirk Southern (3-3) and Nathan Oystrick (1-5) are tied for second with six points each. Senior goalie Craig Kowalski has played in all six games, with a goals-against average of 3.45 and a .914 save percentage.

Walt Kyle, a 1981 graduate of Northern Michigan, is in his second year at the helm of his alma mater. He is 25-20-2 in his career.

OSU SWEEPS UAF
The Buckeyes staked a 3-1 lead in the first period and never looked back, posting a 4-2 victory over Alaska Fairbanks in a CCHA game Friday in Value City Arena. Dave Steckel got the Buckeyes on the board 3:19 into the game, but the Nanooks’ Ryan Campbell tied the game just over six minutes later. The Buckeyes ended the stanza with back-to-back goals by Chris Olsgard and JB Bittner (a power-play tally). The Nanooks scored the only goal of the middle period to cut OSU’s lead to one, but Rod Pelley scored 58 seconds into the third to regain OSU’s two-goal edge.

Saturday, Ryan Campbell got the Nanooks on the board 3:33 into the game, but the Buckeyes tallied the next three goals – by Dan Knapp, Andrew Schembri and Bittner – to secure the lead. UAF ended the scoring with a goal with 3:03 left. Mike Betz posted 41 saves on 43 UAF shots in the win.

CHANGING HISTORY
OSU’s 4-2 and 3-2 victories over the Nanooks marked the first home sweep of Alaska Fairbanks since Dec. 5-6, 1997, and ended a two-game losing streak overall and three-game home losing streak to the Nanooks.

THE CAPTAIN LEADS THE WAY
Junior captain JB Bittner scored both gamewinning goals against Alaska Fairbanks over the weekend. His power-play tallies extended his goal-scoring streak to six games. He is tied for the national lead with three gamewinning goals on the year and is tied for second in the nation with four power-play goals.

NO. 27 HITS THE MARK
After missing three games with an injury, Paul Caponigri had an assist Saturday against UAF in his first game back for the 100th point of his Buckeye career. Caponigri has 40-60-100 totals as a Buckeye.

The helper also extended Caponigri’s scoring streak to six, giving him a point in every game he has played this season.

THE WAIT IS OVER
Freshman Andrew Schembri tallied his first goal as a Buckeye in the win over Alaska Fairbanks Saturday. He is the second of the squad’s eight freshmen to score a goal. Tyson Strachan scored the first marker for the Buckeye rookie class against Miami Oct. 4.

BACK TO THE WAY IT WAS
Dan Knapp returned to form after his seven-game point streak was stopped, as he had a point in each game vs. UAF. He posted an assist Friday, before scoring a goal Saturday. He leads the Buckeyes in assists (8) and points (10) on the year.

NO. 2 FOR 2
Nate Guenin leads the Buckeyes with three two-point outings this season. He is first among blueliners and second on the team with eight points, including seven assists. He had three helpers vs. the Nanooks, including two Friday.

SHOOTING GALLERY
The Buckeyes allowed the Nanooks 43 shots Saturday, the first time an opponent had over 40 shots since Minnesota put 51 on the squad Oct. 12, 2002.

It marked the fourth 40-plus save game for Mike Betz and his first since he stopped 44 in the game vs. the Gophers.

ON THE PP
After scoring just two power-play goals in their first four games, the Buckeyes now have scored at least one power-play goal in each of their last five outings. The team has seven goals in its 28 chances, a 25 percent success rate.

WELCOME BACK
Defenseman Thomas Welsh played in his first game of the season Friday vs. the Nanooks after recovering from knee surgery. He posted an assist in the game, his first point since March 15, 2002 (also vs. UAF). He also had a helper Saturday.

HELP(ERS) FROM THE D
Three defensemen contributed seven total assists vs. UAF last weekend. Nate Guenin had three helpers, while Matt Waddell and Thomas Welsh each had one assist in each game.

On the year, the seven defensemen have totaled 22 assists, 45 percent of the squad’s assists so far this season. Guenin leads the defensemen with seven assists, followed by Waddell with six, Doug Andress with five, Welsh with two and Tyson Strachan and Reed Whiting with one each. Sean Collins has not yet posted a point.

WHAT A WAY TO REBOUND
With the win over UAF (following a loss to Mercyhurst last weekend), the Buckeyes are 3-0-0 after a loss this season. The squad fell to Denver in its opener before rebounding for a win over Miami in the Lefty McFadden Invitational. Against Notre Dame, Ohio State lost the game Friday before coming back to beat the Irish in the series finale.

A GOOD DAY TO PLAY
The Buckeyes are undefeated on Saturday this season, going 4-0-0. The team improved to 2-3-0 on Friday with the win over UAF.

AMONG THE LEAGUE’S BEST
Several Buckeyes rank in a number of categories among CCHA players:

CCHA GAMES
Scoring
t-7. Dan Knapp (2-5-7)
t-14. Nate Guenin (1-5-6)
t-16. JB Bittner (5-0-5)
t-16. Matt Waddell (0-5-5)
t-25. Paul Caponigri (2-2-4)
t-25. Scott May (2-2-4)
t-25. Rod Pelley (2-2-4)
Goals
t-3. JB Bittner (5)
Assists
t-3. Dan Knapp (5)
t-3. Nate Guenin (5)
t-3. Matt Waddell (5)
Power-Play Goals
1. JB Bittner (3)
Gamewinning Goals
1. JB Bittner (3)
Plus/Minus
t-5. Doug Andress (+6)
t-7. Dan Knapp (+5)
t-12. Matt Waddell (+4)
Goals-Against Average
1. Mike Betz (1.20)
Save Percentage
1. Mike Betz (.958)

OVERALL GAMES
Scoring
5. Dan Knapp (2-8-10)
t-12. Nate Guenin (1-7-8)
t-20. Paul Caponigri (4-3-7)
t-20. JB Bittner (6-1-7)
t-26. Matt Waddell (0-6-6)
t-26. Dave Steckel (5-1-6)
Goals
t-4. JB Bittner (6)
t-7. Dave Steckel (5)
Assists
t-1. Dan Knapp (8)
t-3. Nate Guenin (7)
t-6. Matt Waddell (6)
Power-Play Goals
1. JB Bittner (4)
Gamewinning Goals
1. JB Bittner (3)
Plus/Minus
3. Doug Andress (+8)
t-4. Dan Knapp (+6)
t-4. Paul Caponigri (+6)
t-16. Dave Steckel (+4)
Goals-Against Average
2. Mike Betz (2.00)
Save Percentage
2. Mike Betz (.927)

WHAT’S UP
The Buckeyes return home to play host to Michigan at 8:05 p.m. Friday, Nov. 14 (in a game televised on CSTV) and at 8:05 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 15. The team then will go out-of-conference for single games at Colgate (Nov. 21) and Cornell (Nov. 22). The team then travels to Bowling Green for a single game (Nov. 29) before a home-and-home series with Miami (Dec. 5-6).