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Nov. 11, 2003

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FACEOFF
The No. 13/14 Ohio State men’s hockey team (7-4-0, 6-2-0 CCHA) plays host to No. 5 Michigan (8-2-0, 4-2-0 CCHA) for a two-game series in Value City Arena this weekend. The teams will meet at 8:05 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 14-15. Note the game times have been changed from earlier schedules.

THE BROADCAST
The Buckeyes’ series with Michigan will be broadcast live by WOSU Radio (820 AM/wosu.org), with Neil Sika and former Buckeye John Mowat on the call. The Underground, OSU Student Radio, also will broadcast the game online at www.underground.fm.

The game Friday will be televised live on CSTV: College Sports Television as part of the CSTV Hockey Friday Night package. Steve Schlanger (play-by-play) and Billy Jaffe (color) will call the action. CSTV is available nationwide to more than 15 million homes via cable and satellite. Log on to cstv.com to find out if it is available in your area.

THE FUN STUFF
Friday, the Ohio State Band will perform Script Ohio on the ice. The signature formation of the Ohio State Marching Band at Buckeye football games, Script Ohio was named one of Athlon Sports’ 10 Greatest Football Traditions in 1999.

It also is Buck A Brat night at the game Friday. Johnsonville Brats will be available at the game for $1 (while supplies last).

Saturday, there will be a postgame autograph session with some of the Buckeyes. LAST TIME OUT
The Buckeyes split a two-game series on the road at Northern Michigan, losing the first game, 2-1, before rebounding for a 6-1 victory in the finale. Michigan split a home-and-home series with Ferris State. The Wolverines lost in overtime, 6-5, in Big Rapids, Mich., before posting a 3-2 victory in Ann Arbor, Mich., in the second game.

IN THE RANKINGS
The Buckeyes remained steady in the national polls, coming in at No. 13 in the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine poll, No. 14 in the USCHO.com poll and No. 18 in the INCH (insidecollegehockey.com) Power Rankings.

Michigan is ranked fifth in both the USA Today and USCHO.com polls and fourth by INCH.

THE SERIES
The Buckeyes trail the all-time series with Michigan, 22-53-11, including a mark of 10-22-5 in Columbus. In the last 10 meetings, the Wolverines hold a 6-3-1 edge.

THE 2002-03 SERIES
Last season, the Buckeyes went 0-1-2 against Michigan. The teams tied both games played in Columbus during the regular season. March 7, each team came from two goals down, as Michigan scored the first two goals of the game before the Buckeyes scored four consecutive times to take a 4-2 lead. The Wolverines scored twice in the third, including the game-tying goal with one second left with their goalie pulled, for the 4-4 final. Rod Pelley had two goals and Lee Spector had a goal and an assist to lead the Buckeyes. The next night, the Buckeyes came from behind for the tie. The teams traded first-period goals before the Wolverines scored the only goals of the second period for a two-goal lead. Paul Caponigri and Daymen Bencharski scored in the third to end the game tied at three.

The teams also met March 21 in the CCHA Super Six semifinal game, where the Wolverines posted a 3-0 win. Al Montoya made 31 saves in the game and Dwight Helminen had a hat trick to lead UM to the win.

A LOOK AT THE WOLVERINES
Michigan, a participant in the 2003 NCAA Frozen Four, is 8-2-0 overall this season and 4-2-0 in the CCHA. The squad is coming off a series split with Ferris State last weekend, as it lost on the road in overtime, 5-4, before topping the Bulldogs at home, 3-2.

Three Wolverines have double-digit points this season. Freshman T.J. Hensick is first on the team in assists (9) and points (13), while Jeff Tambellini, the 2003 CCHA Rookie of the Year, is first in goals with 10 and second in points with 12. Andrew Ebbett has a 4-6-10 line. In net, Al Montoya has seen action in 10 games, with a goals-against average of 2.89 and a save percentage of .894.

The squad has 10 NHL draft picks on its roster – Brandon Rogers (Anaheim), Milan Gajic (Atlanta), Dwight Helminen (Edmonton), Tambellini (Los Angeles), David Rohlfs (Edmonton), Michael Woodford Jr. (Florida), David Moss (Calgary), Eric Nystrom (Calgary), Jason Ryznar (New Jersey) and Tim Cook (Ottawa).

Red Berenson, a 1962 graduate of Michigan, is in his 20th season at the helm of his alma mater. He is 514-243-53 at Michigan and overall.

SCORING VS. THE WOLVERINES
Dave Steckel leads the Buckeyes with five points, on a goal and team-best four assists, against Michigan. Paul Caponigri is second with 2-2-4 totals, while Scott May has two goals and an assist for three points.

A CLUSTER
The Buckeyes and Wolverines are in the same CCHA scheduling cluster this season and are joined by Miami and Michigan State. Teams in the same cluster meet four times a year (twice at home and twice on the road) and meet the other teams in the league twice. OSU is in first place with a 2-0-0 record in cluster play followed by Miami and Michigan with identical 1-1-0 records and Michigan State at 0-2-0.

WE’LL MEET AGAIN
Ohio State and Michigan will complete the season series Jan. 9-10 at Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor, Mich. The Buckeyes trail the series in Ann Arbor, 10-28-6.

THE JINX IS GONE
Against Northern Michigan Saturday, senior Paul Caponigri recorded a hat trick, the first of his career and the Buckeyes’ first in 129 games. The last Buckeye hat trick was Oct. 21, 2000 vs. Niagara.

HAVE A GAME
Freshman defenseman Sean Collins had three assists in the win over Northern Michigan, his first points as a Buckeye and a team season high. The last time a Buckeye had three helpers was Scott May vs. Bowling Green, Jan. 17, 2003.

IT WAS A TEAM EFFORT
All six of the Buckeyes’ goals against the Wildcats were scored at even strength Saturday. Thirteen Buckeyes had at least one point in the game, while 17 skaters were +1 or better. Seniors Reed Whiting, Paul Caponigri, Dave Steckel and Doug Andress all were +3 in the game.

FIRSTS
Against the Wildcats, two Buckeye freshmen, Sean Collins and Dave Barton, picked up their first career point. Matt Beaudoin had the first goal of his Buckeye career.

REBOUNDERS
The Buckeyes have not lost more than one game in a row this season and are 4-0-0 following a loss. 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. The team followed up a loss to Mercyhurst with a victory over UAF and a loss in the opener at Northern Michigan with a victory. Last year, the squad was 3-7-0 in games following a defeat.

A GOOD DAY TO PLAY
The Buckeyes are undefeated on Saturday this season, going 5-0-0, but are 2-4-0 on Friday.

WHERE THEY STAND
With their split at Northern Michigan, the Buckeyes moved into first place alone in the CCHA with 12 points and a record of 6-2-0 in eight games. Michigan State is in second with 11 points at 5-2-1, while Notre Dame is in third with nine points and a 4-3-1 ledger. Michigan and Alaska Fairbanks are in fourth place with 4-2-0 marks, but both have two games in hand on the top three teams.

IT’S OVER
The loss to Northern Michigan ended the Buckeyes’ five-game conference winning streak. The team was coming off two-game sweeps of Michigan State and Alaska Fairbanks, preceded by a win in the series finale vs. Notre Dame.

LAST TIME OUT
Ohio State was defeated by Northern Michigan, 2-1, Friday (Nov. 7) in Berry Events Center. NMU scored the only two goals of the period to gain a lead it would not relinquish. Paul Caponigri (assisted by Dan Knapp and Dave Steckel) tallied for the Buckeyes in the second stanza to cut the lead to one, but the squad could not get the equalizer. Mike Betz made 21 saves on 23 NMU shots, while Wildcat goalie Craig Kowalski stopped 31 Buckeye shots to earn first star of the game accolades.

In the second game Saturday, Nov. 8, the Buckeyes topped the Wildcats, 6-1. The Buckeyes jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period on two goals by Caponigri. JB Bittner scored just nine seconds into the second period to extend the Buckeyes’ lead to three. NMU’s Dirk Southern scored the Wildcats’ lone goal of the game just over nine minutes into the stanza, but OSU ended the game with three unanswered goals – by Caponigri, Reed Whiting and Matt Beaudoin – for the 6-1 final.

BACK ON TRACK
Junior captain JB Bittner’s six-game goal-scoring streak was stopped in the first game vs. the Wildcats, but he rebounded with a goal in the win Saturday. Bittner is second for the Buckeyes with seven goals. He is first in the CCHA in power-play goals (4) and is tied for first in game-winning tallies (3). Bittner is tied for the national lead in gamewinners.

STILL SCORING
Paul Caponigri scored in both games goal vs. the Wildcats to extend his scoring streak to eight; he has at least one point in every game he has played this season.

Dan Knapp’s assists in both games vs. NMU moved his scoring streak to four. He has a point in all but one game (Mercyhurst) this season.

AN EXPLOSION
The Buckeyes’ six goals in the win over Northern Michigan marked the first time the squad hit the six-goal mark since posting six goals in back-to-back games against Bowling Green Jan. 16-17. The six-goal outburst came the game after the squad was held to a season-low one goal by the Wildcats.

ON THE PP
The Wildcats’ power-play goal in the second period Saturday ended the Buckeyes’ streak of consecutive attempts stopped at 13. The team had shut out its opponents on the power play in the last three games, as well as Mercyhurst’s last attempt four games prior.

OSU’s PK in the Last Five Games vs. Mercyhurst 6/8 vs. UAF 4/4 vs. UAF 4/4 at NMU 3/3 at NMU 4/5 Totals: 21/24 (.875)

AT – AND NEAR – THE TOP
The Buckeyes lead the CCHA in goals against in CCHA games, allowing just 1.75 goals an outing. The Buckeyes are tied for second in goals scored per game, with an average of 3.50. The team also ranks first in penalty killing percentage in league games at 91.4.

WHERE HE ENDED
Mike Betz earned CCHA Goaltender of the Year accolades last year after leading the league in goals-against average in league games (2.16). He is leading the conference against this season, allowing 1.29 goals a game.

IT HAD BEEN A WHILE
Senior defenseman Reed Whiting’s goal in the win over Northern Michigan marked his second career marker and his first since Dec. 1, 2002 at Miami.

WHAT’S UP
The Buckeyes 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). The game vs. the RedHawks in Value City Arena Dec. 5 marks the Buckeyes’ last home game for a month, as they return home Jan. 6 to face Quinnipiac.

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

CCHA GAMES
Scoring
t-8. Dan Knapp (2-7-9)
t-12. Paul Caponigri (6-2-8)
t-23. Nate Guenin (1-5-6)
t-23. JB Bittner (6-0-6)
t-26. Matt Waddell (0-5-5)
t-26. Scott May (2-3-5)
Goals
t-2. JB Bittner (6)
t-2. Paul Caponigri (6)
Assists
t-3. Dan Knapp (7)
t-8. Nate Guenin (5)
t-8. Matt Waddell (5)
Defenseman Scoring
4. Nate Guenin (1-5-6)
t-5. Matt Waddell (0-5-5)
Power-Play Goals
1. JB Bittner (3)
Gamewinning Goals
1. JB Bittner (3)
Shots
t-3. JB Bittner (30)
t-7. Rod Pelley (25)
Plus/Minus
t-3. Doug Andress (+9)
t-5. Dan Knapp (+7)
t-5. Paul Caponigri (+7)
t-5. Dave Steckel (+7)
Goals-Against Average
1. Mike Betz (1.29)
Save Percentage
1. Mike Betz (.950)

OVERALL GAMES
Scoring
t-8. Dan Knapp (2-10-12)
t-10. Paul Caponigri (8-3-11)
t-23. Nate Guenin (1-7-8)
t-23. JB Bittner (7-1-8)
t-31. Dave Steckel (5-2-7)
Goals
t-3. Paul Caponigri (8)
t-5. JB Bittner (7)
t-10. Dave Steckel (5)
Assists
2. Dan Knapp (10)
t-10. Nate Guenin (7)
Defenseman Scoring
t-3. Nate Guenin (1-7-8)
t-8. Matt Waddell (0-6-6)
t-8. Doug Andress (0-6-6)
Power-Play Goals
1. JB Bittner (4)
Gamewinning Goals
t-1. JB Bittner (3)
Shots
6. JB Bittner (37)
Plus/Minus
3. Doug Andress (+11)
4. Paul Caponigri (+10)
t-5. Dan Knapp (+8)
t-5. Dave Steckel (+8)
t-10. Nate Guenin (+6)
Goals-Against Average
3. Mike Betz (1.90)
Save Percentage
3. Mike Betz (.926)