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Dec. 3, 2002

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FACEOFF
After a week off, the No. 14 ranked Ohio State men’s hockey team (8-4-1, 5-2-1 CCHA) plays host to instate rival and No. 11 ranked Miami (12-3-1, 7-2-1 CCHA) in a two-game CCHA series this weekend. The teams will face off at 7:05 p.m. Friday and at 8:05 p.m. Saturday in Value City Arena. The Buckeyes are coming off two losses on the road at Ferris State, while Miami went 1-0-1 at home against Alaska Fairbanks in its last series.

THE BROADCAST
The games this weekend will be broadcast live on WOSU (820 AM) and online at wosu.org with Frank Fraas (play-by-play) and former Buckeye John Mowat (color) on the call. The games also will be broadcast by OSU Student Radio and can be heard online at www.underground.fm with Neil Sika and Aaron Stollar calling the action. Live stats will be available online at ohiostatebuckeyes.com.

THEY’RE GIVING IT AWAY
OSU men’s hockey schedule magnets will be given away to the first 4,000 fans in attendance at the game Friday. Saturday, OSU men’s hockey trading cards will be distributed to the first 2,500 fans through the doors.

IN THE POLLS
The Buckeyes moved back into the Top 15 in the national polls following their sweep of Michigan State (Nov. 15-16). In the polls released Nov. 25, the squad was ranked No. 15 by uscho.com and No. 14 in the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine poll, while Miami is ranked No. 12 by uscho.com and No. 11 by USA Today. In the insidecollegehockey.com (INCH) power rankings (Dec. 2), the Buckeyes are 13th and Miami is 10th.

THE SERIES
The Buckeyes lead the all-time series with the RedHawks by three games, 45-42-6. In Columbus, OSU leads 29-13-3.

A DIFFERENCE
Miami lists the all-time series as OSU leading 44-42-6, one win short of the mark recorded by Ohio State. The difference is the Ohio State record includes an 8-1 victory over the RedHawks Feb. 25, 1966, a game Miami does not include because it was not yet a varsity program, but OSU does include because its varsity program began in 1963-64. (Miami’s varsity program was created in 1978.)

WE’LL MEET AGAIN
As members of the same CCHA scheduling cluster, Ohio State and Miami will face off again this season. The squads will meet at 7:35 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13 in Goggin Ice Arena in Oxford, Ohio. Saturday, Feb. 15, the teams will meet at 4:05 p.m. at Cincinnati Gardens in Cincinnati, the first neutral-ice meeting between the teams since 1989.

RECENTLY
The series between the Buckeyes and RedHawks is tied in the last 10 games, with each team winning five contests. In those games, each squad is 3-2 on the road and 2-3 in home contests.

A LOOK AT THE REDHAWKS
Miami, with an overall mark of 12-3-1, is tied for the most wins in the nation. The squad is 7-2-1 in CCHA place, holding down the second spot.

The team is among the national leaders per game, averaging 4.8 goals a contest, and allows 2.2 goals a game. The team has scored on 26.9 (28-104) of its power-play chances this season and has stopped 86.7 (78-90) of its opponents’ power-play opportunities.

Offensively, Mike Kompon leads the squad with 26 points, including a team-best 16 assists. He, Greg Hogeboom and Nick Jardine are tied for the team lead with 10 goals each. Hogeboom and Derek Edwardson (9 goals, 12 assists) are tied for second in scoring with 21 points each. In net, David Burleigh has started 15 games, posting a goals-against average of 2.06 and a save percentage of .910.

AT THE HELM
Enrico Blasi, a 1994 graduate of Miami, is in his fourth season at the helm for his alma mater. The 2001 CCHA Coach of the Year, Blasi enters the weekend with an overall mark of 57-61-8.

CHANCES ARE, THERE WILL BE A WINNER
The Buckeyes and RedHawks have not ended a game tied since posting back-to-back ties Jan. 19 (4-4 in Oxford) and Jan. 27 (-2 in Columbus), 1996. Since then, five games have gone to overtime, with OSU recording three overtime wins and Miami winning two games in the extra stanza. All-time, the series is tied for overtime games at 3-3-6.

MARKELL VS. MIAMI
Ohio State head coach John Markell is 9-15-2 all-time against Miami. His 100th career victory came on the road against the RedHawks Feb. 10, 2001.

THE OHIO CUP
For the past 19 seasons, Ohio’s instate hockey programs – Ohio State, Miami and Bowling Green (as well as Kent State) – have competed for the Ohio Cup, given annually by the Buckeye Sports Bulletin to the team with the best head-to-head record against the other Ohio schools. Because of the CCHA’s use of clusters to set the league schedule, OSU and Miami will meet four times this season and will only face BGSU twice each. For that reason, the games this weekend between Ohio State and Miami will not count in the Ohio Cup standings unless they are needed to break a tie. Last season, Ohio State, Miami and Bowling Green all went 2-2-0 against each other to finish even. The Falcons claimed the Ohio Cup based on goal differential in Ohio Cup games.

A LOOK BACK
Ohio State and Miami split their four games last season, with each team winning once at home and once on the road. In Columbus, Miami won the first game, 1-0 in overtime (Nov. 30), with OSU taking a 4-1 victory in the second game (Feb. 25). In Oxford,

THE BIG AND THE SMALL
The Buckeyes’ and RedHawks’ rinks are opposites in terms of size. Ohio State’s Value City Arena seats 17,500, the largest capacity in the CCHA and in the nation. Miami’s Goggin Ice Arena has a listed capacity of 2,200, the smallest rink in the league.

THE PK IN THE CCHA
In CCHA play, the Buckeye penalty-killing unit has allowed just two power-play goals in 46 chances (.957) to rank first. This weekend, the squad faces Miami, the top power-play unit in the league (.288). In its last home series, OSU held Michigan State, which had entered the weekend with the top power play in the league, scoreless on nine chances.

AHEAD OF SCHEDULE
Scott May has 13 assists already this season, just five short of the career-high 18 he recorded in 40 games last season.

CLASSMATES
The Buckeyes’ eight-member junior class has a team-high 72 points this season, including 28 goals. The four-member freshmen class is second with 29 points, on 10 goals and 19 assists.

HIGHLY RATED
Ryan Kesler, who is tied for third in scoring for the Buckeyes and second in assists with 10, was the highest-rated CCHA player in the preliminary rankings released by the NHL’s Central Scouting Service. Kesler was ranked third among draft-eligible college players, behind only North Dakota’s Zach Parise and Minnesota’s Thomas Vanek. The NHL CSS will release a mid-term ranking in January and a final ranking in April before the 2003 NHL Entry Draft is held June 21-22, 2003 at the Gaylord Entertainment Center in Nashville, Tenn.

THE PK
The Buckeyes allowed a power play goal on Ferris State’s first chance of the series opener (Nov. 22), stopping their streak of consecutive stops at 22. The squad did not allow another power-play goal the rest of the series, going 13-for-14 (.929). The squad has stopped 56 of its opponents’ last 60 chances (93.3%).

THE LEADERS
Scott May leads the Buckeyes in assists (13) and points (16) through 13 games this season. Dan Knapp and R.J. Umberger are tied for first with six goals each, while Doug Andress, Eric Skaug, Dave Steckel and Chris Olsgard are tied for the team lead with a +5 rating. Andress leads the defensive corps in scoring with eight points. Umberger leads the team with 61 shots on goal. Paul Caponigri is first on the team with 21 penalty minutes and Dave Steckel and Nate Guenin are tied for first with 10 penalties each. Daymen Bencharski leads the team with three power-play tallies and Ryan Kesler and Miguel Lafleche are tied with two gamewinning goals each.

OSU’S LAST TIME OUT
The Buckeyes were swept on the road at Ferris State in their last time out (Nov. 22-23). In the first game, the squad gave up three unanswered goals, resulting in a 4-2 CCHA loss. FSU jumped out to a 1-0 lead just 1:31 into the game with a power-play goal. The Buckeyes then took a 2-1 lead on goals by R.J. Umberger and Dave Steckel. FSU rebounded with a goal by Phil Lewandowski less than two minutes after Steckel had scored, tying the game at two. The Bulldogs’ Derek Nesbitt scored the lone goal of the second period and then put the game out of reach with a goal with 1:58 remaining in the third period.

In the series finale, the Bulldogs took a 1-0 lead at the 13:50 mark of the second period on a Jeff Legue goal. OSU tied the game in the third when Rod Pelley scored, assisted by Chris Olsgard and Nate Guenin. The teams battled through the rest of the period, but the score remained tied, sending the game to overtime. In the extra stanza, Derrick McIver scored at the 1:05 mark, giving the Bulldogs the win and the two-game sweep of the Buckeyes.

HELPING OUT
Freshman Rod Pelley scored his first career goal in the second game at Ferris State. Every Buckeye forward that has played in over half of the squad’s games this season now has tallied at least once. Classmate Nate Guenin had an assist on Pelley’s goal, marking the first point of his Buckeye career.

HALTED
Juniors Scott May and Paul Caponigri each had their scoring streaks stopped at six in the second game at Ferris State (Nov. 23). May had 2-9-11 totals during the stretch, Caponigri a 4-5-9 line. No Buckeye enters the series with Miami with a scoring streak on the line.

LEADING THE CHARGE
Scott May and Paul Caponigri have been major catalysts for the Buckeyes’ success on the power play this year. May is first on the team with 1-7-8 totals, while Caponigri has a goal and six assists for seven points. In all, eight Buckeyes have scored at least one power-play goal this season. The Buckeyes did not score a power-play goal in the series finale with Ferris State, the first time in eight games they were shut out with the man advantage.

WATCH OUT EARLY – AND LATE
Ohio State’s best periods this season have been the first and third, when it has outscored its opponents, 17-7 and 16-10, respectively. In the middle stanza, OSU has been outscored, 15-12. In CCHA play, the Buckeyes have outscored their opponents in every stanza except overtime.

A TREND
It’s a good sign for the Buckeyes when they score the first goal in a game. The squad is 5-0-1 this season when scoring first and 3-4-0 when allowing the first goal.

BREAK IT UP
After playing for seven consecutive weeks, the Buckeyes had Thanksgiving weekend off. The squad now will play two straight weekends before taking 14 days off for a holiday break. The squad will return to action Dec. 28 in the Everblades College Classic in Estero, Fla.

UP NEXT
The Buckeyes return to action with another home series. The squad will play host to Nebraska-Omaha at 7:05 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13 and at 8:05 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14.

HELP THE CHILDREN
The Ohio State men’s hockey team will be holding a dinner to benefit the children of Tanzania Feb. 9, 2003, 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. For reservations, call 614-231-8238. Members of the team will serve as waiters and will collect tips that will go to STEMM.