Oct. 1, 2002
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The No. 15-ranked Ohio State men’s hockey team opens its 2002-03 season with an exhibition game against Waterloo at 7:05 p.m. Friday. The teams will meet at CoreComm Ice Haus in Columbus, the practice facility of the NHL’s Columbus BlueJackets. The result and statistics from the game will not be included in OSU’s season totals. There is no admission charge for the game, but seating is limited to the first 1,000 fans.
OSU’s game against Waterloo will not be broadcast. The team’s radio broadcast schedule begins with the Hall of Fame game vs. Minnesota Oct. 12.
About the Rink
CoreComm Ice Haus is a 63,000-square foot facility located on the west side of Nationwide Arena, home of the NHL’s Columbus BlueJackets. It serves as the practice home of the Blue Jackets and features fixed seating for 750 people. The facility also is open to the public and offers facilities for youth hockey, figure skating and public skating. It is the only NHL practice facility that is attached to the arena the team plays its game in.
The Buckeyes will open their regular season against defending NCAA champion and No. 1-ranked Minnesota in the Hall of Fame Game Saturday, Oct. 12 in the XCel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn.
The Series Vs. Waterloo
The Buckeyes and Waterloo have met twice. OSU swept UW in a two-game series in Columbus in the 1978-79 season, winning by scores of 10-5 (Nov. 3) and 10-2 (Nov. 4).
A Look at Waterloo
Waterloo opens its season against the Buckeyes and will face the CCHA’s Western Michigan Broncos Saturday (Oct. 5). Last year, the team was 3-20-1 in the regular season and 5-24-1 overall, including tournament and exhibition games. The squad played Ferris State of the CCHA last season, falling, 5-1.
Ohio State is ranked 15th in both the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine and uscho.com preseason polls. Minnesota, the defending NCAA champion and OSU’s next opponent, is first in both polls. The Buckeyes are one of four CCHA schools in the Top 15 – No. 2/3 Michigan, No. 7 Michigan State and No. 11/12 Northern Michigan are the others.
After a trip to face the Alaska Fairbanks Nanooks Oct. 18-19, the Buckeyes will open their home slate in Value City Arena with a two-game series against Clarkson. The squads will meet at 7:05 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25 and at 3:05 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 27.
The Buckeyes were picked fourth in both the CCHA preseason coaches and media polls. The polls, which were identical, had Michigan first.
The complete polls:
2. Michigan State
3. Northern Michigan
4. Ohio State
6. Alaska Fairbanks
7. Notre Dame
8. Western Michigan
9. Ferris State
11. Bowling Green
12. Lake Superior State
This Summer …
* Junior Scott May (seventh round, Toronto Maple Leafs), sophomore John Toffey (ninth round, Tampa Bay Lightning) and freshman Nate Guenin (fourth round, New York Rangers) all were selected in the NHL Entry Draft.
* Junior Mike Betz traveled to Tanzania with a group to help build schools, among other volunteer activities.
* Freshman goalie Dave Caruso participated in the NHL Atlanta Thrashers Prospects Camp.
Get Your Tickets Here!
Season tickets for the Ohio State 2002-03 season can be purchased by calling the OSU Athletics Ticket Office at 1-800-GO BUCKS. Seven-game split season packages also are available. Single-game tickets, which also are available online at hangonsloopy.com, are $11 for adults and $6 for students and children. Groups of 20 or more can purchase tickets in advance for $4 each.
This season Ohio State fans can use Go Bucks cards to enter men’s hockey games at Value City Arena. The passes are good for general admission seating in sections 131 and 114. The price for the cards is $30 for adults and $25 for students.
Senior Scott Titus will serve as the captain for the team this season and senior Eric Skaug and junior R.J. Umberger will be the alternate captains for the squad.
Titus, a defenseman, has played in 115 games with the Buckeyes and was on the 1999 squad that advanced to the NCAA tournament. He sat out his junior season while recovering from arm surgery and received the 2002 CCHA Terry Flanagan Memorial Award, given annually to an upperclassman who has overcome some type of personal adversity and is active on the university campus and surrounding community. An outstanding student, Titus graduated with a B.S. in biology in Spring 2002 and began graduate school in education in the summer. He is a two-time Academic All-CCHA honorable mention and Academic All-Big Ten honoree and a four-time Ohio State Scholar-Athlete. He enters the year with 19 career points, including 16 assists.
Skaug, also a defenseman, has played in 70 games for the Buckeyes, posting 3-15-18 totals. He has been solid for the squad over the past two seasons, recording a combined plus/minus rating of +14. Skaug had to sit out the 2000 season and the first eight contests of 2001 because of prior major junior experience, but has not missed a game since.
Umberger, a forward, has led the Buckeyes in scoring the past two seasons. The 2001 CCHA Rookie of the Year, he was a first-round draft choice (16th overall) of the Vancouver Canucks in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. He enters this season with 76 points in his career, including 32 goals and 44 assists. Last season, Umberger posted a career-best 39 points (18-21).
The Buckeyes return 20-of-23 letterwinners from the squad last year. The only losses were seniors Jason Crain, Yan Des Gagne and Mike McCormick. In addition, Dave Caruso, who redshirted the second half of the season, Lee Spector, who saw action in six games, and Jack Popiel and Peter Wishloff who were on the roster but did not see any game time, also return.
Four freshmen have been added to the Buckeyes roster for the 2002-03 season. Defenseman Nate Guenin (Aliquippa, Pa./Green Bay Gamblers) and forwards Ryan Kesler (Livonia, Mich./U.S. National Under-18 Team), Dan Knapp (Rochester, Mich./Detroit Compuware Ambassadors) and Rod Pelley (Kitimat, British Columbia/Vernon Vipers) are the newest Buckeyes.
The Leaders Return
Seven of the Buckeyes Top 9 scorers from last season are back for the squad. Among the returnees is R.J. Umberger, who led the squad in goals (18), assists (21) and points (39). Paul Capongri (13-17) and Scott May (12-18) tied for second with 30 points and are back, as is Daymen Bencharski who was fourth with 25 points and ranked second with 15 goals. Dave Steckel, who led the team in penalties (32) and penalty minutes (75) also returns. Goalie Mike Betz, who posted a goals-against average of 2.60 and a save percentage of .900 while playing in every game, also is back.
Goalie Mike Betz set the Ohio State program record for shutouts in a season with five last year. In his career Betz has six shutouts, four behind Bill McKenzie’s program record of 10.
Looking for Two
Buckeye junior Scott May has 48 points in his career, just two away from the 50-point mark. In his career, May has 21-27-48 totals in 77 games. He has not missed a game in his Buckeye career.
When Will It Happen?
The Buckeyes have gone 77 regular-season games without a hat trick. Last year, a Buckeye scored two goals in a game 17 times. R.J. Umberger ranked first with five, followed by Paul Caponigri and Daymen Bencharski with three and Dave Steckel with two. Mike McCormick, Pete Broccoli, JB Bittner and Scott May each have one two-goal game. The last Buckeye hat trick was Nov. 21, 2000, recorded by Nick Ganga at home vs. Niagara.
In The Books
With his three wins in the playoffs, OSU sophomore goalie Mike Betz moved into the eighth spot in the Buckeyes all-time goalie wins list with 36. Mike Betz’s 20 wins last season are tied for fourth most in a single season in OSU history with Jeff Maund. It was just the fifth 20-win season for an OSU goalie in program history.
This season, there are five Buckeyes on the roster who have been selected in the NHL Entry Draft.
Juniors Dave Steckel (1st round, Los Angeles Kings) and R.J. Umberger (1st round, Vancouver Canucks) were selected in the 2001 draft and Nate Guenin (4th round, New York Rangers), Scott May (7th round, Toronto Maple Leafs and John Toffey (9th round, Tampa Bay Lightning) were drafted this past summer. Umberger is the highest draft pick in Ohio State history, as he was selected with the 16th overall pick.
The Buckeyes’ first win during the regular season will be the 600th in program history. Entering the 2002-03 season, OSU is 599-643-86 all-time.
Four returning Buckeyes changed their numbers prior to the start of this season. JB Bittner went from No. 8 to No. 73, while Thomas Welsh took over No. 8. Dave Caruso now is No. 1 and goalie Pete Wishloff returned to his old number, 81.
Assistant coach Casey Jones was promoted to Associate Head Coach over the summer. Jones is entering his eighth year at Ohio State.
The game against Minnesota will be the first of three single-game neutral site games for the Buckeyes this season.
The Results Are In
The NCAA compiled all-time national statistics for Division I hockey over the summer and former Buckeye Paul Pooley is ranked in a number of categories. Pooley is 11th in assists in a season (64), tied for 19th in points in a season (96), tied for 20th in career points (270), 26th in career assists (156) and tied for 28th in career goals (114). Pooley, who played for Ohio State from 1981-84, was the national and CCHA player of the year in 1984.
Catch the Game
The CCHA recently announced the March 8 Ohio State vs. Michigan game will be televised by FoxSports Detroit as part of the league’s television package. In all, 13 games will be televised.
Among the Best
Junior R.J. Umberger ranks fourth among returnees returning to CCHA play this season. Last year, the Buckeye was tied for eighth with 39 points. Michigan’s John Shouneyia, who was second last season, is the top returning scorer with 50 points a year ago.