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Oct. 25, 2005

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Faceoff
The No. 4 Ohio State men’s hockey team (2-1-1, 1-0-1 CCHA) travels to Kalamazoo, Mich., to take on Central Collegiate Hockey Association opponent Western Michigan (0-2-0, 0-0-0 WCHA) this weekend. The teams will meet at 7:35 p.m. Friday and Saturday in Lawson Arena.

The Broadcast
The Buckeyes’ game at Western Michigan will be broadcast by WOSU Radio (820 AM/wosu.org) with Neil Sika and former Buckeye John Mowat on the call. Live stats can be accessed from the men’s hockey schedule page at ohiostatebuckeyes.com.

Last Time Out
The Buckeyes went 1-0-1 in their CCHA-opening series with Bowling Green last week. Ohio State beat the Falcons, 7-2, Thursday in Bowling Green, Ohio, before tying BGSU, 2-2, Friday in Value City Arena.

Western Michigan traveled to face Niagara last weekend, suffering a 3-2 loss Saturday.

In the Rankings
After going 1-0-1 vs. Bowling Green, the Buckeyes fell to No. 4 in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine and USCHO.com polls and No. 5 in the Inside College Hockey ranking. The squad had been No. 2, 3 and 4, respectively, in the polls.

Fritsche Honored
Sophomore forward Tom Fritsche was named CCHA Offensive Player of the Week after posting five points, on two goals and three assists, in the Buckeyes’ series with Bowling Green last week.

In the Buckeyes’ 7-2 win at Bowling Green last Thursday, Fritsche had two goals and an assist to earn first star of the game honors. He put OSU up 2-0 with a shorthanded goal (the first of his career) in the first period. In the second period, Fritsche set up Jason DeSantis’ goal just as a Falcon power play expired and then scored his second goal of the game, this time on the power play, later in the period. Fritsche was +2 in the game.

Against the Falcons last Friday, Fritsche had assists on both Buckeye goals as the teams tied, 2-all. He set up Kyle Hood’s power-play goal early in the game. With the Buckeyes down, 2-1, in the third period, Fritsche assisted on John Dingle’s gametying goal. Fritsche was named second star of the game for his efforts.

A Buckeye Briefing
The Buckeyes are 2-1-1 on the year, with a series split at Colorado College and a 1-0-1 record vs. Bowling Green in a home-and-home series that opened CCHA play.

Sophomore forward Tom Fritsche has a team-best five assists and seven points. Fritsche, sophomore defenseman Kyle Hood and senior forward Rod Pelley each have two goals on the year. Junior Andrew Schembri is second with four assists and five points.

Pelley has a team-high 21 shots and Fritsche and sophomore defenseman Jason DeSantis are tied for the lead with +4 ratings.

In net, senior Dave Caruso has started all four games, with a 1.72 goals-against average and .921 save percentage.

Ohio State is averaging 3.25 goals a game, while allowing 1.75. The squad has converted 5-of-28 (17.9 percent) of its power-play chances and stopped opponents on 24-of-27 chances (.889 percent).

A Look Back at the BGSU Series
Game 1 – OSU 7, at BGSU 2
Eleven Buckeyes had at least a point, led by sophomore Tom Fritsche’s three points on two goals and an assist, as Ohio State downed Bowling Green, 7-2, Thursday in Bowling Green, Ohio.

The Buckeyes led 3-0 after the first period on a power-play goal by Sean Collins, a shorthanded score from Fritsche and Rod Pelley’s even-strength marker.

The Falcons opened the scoring in the second with James Unger’s power-play tally. OSU responded with two goals before the end of the period, by Jason DeSantis and Fritsche. BGSU’s Jonathan Matsumoto made the score 5-2 at the end of two with a 5-on-3 goal with less than three minutes remaining.

Ohio State scored the only two goals of the third period, with Dave Barton and Andrew Schembri tallying.

The Buckeyes outshot the Falcons, 29-22.

Game 2 – at OSU 2, at BGSU 2
Sophomore John Dingle’s third-period goal lifted the Buckeyes to a 2-all tie with Bowling Green last Friday in Value City Arena in the Buckeyes’ home opener.

The Buckeyes controlled play in the first period, outshooting the Falcons, 20-4, but went into the first intermission down, 2-1. Kyle Hood put the Buckeyes up, 1-0, with a power-play goal 2:26 into the game, however, the Falcons tied the score with a goal by Alex Foster 61 seconds later. BGSU went up 2-0 on a Mike Valk goal at 17:38.

There was no scoring in the second period. BGSU put 11 shots on net, OSU nine.

Dingle’s goal came 4:03 into the final period, knotting the score at 2.

In the game, the Buckeyes outshot the Falcons, 43-19, including 5-0 in overtime.

OSU vs. WMU – The Series
The Buckeyes trail the all-time series with the Broncos, 55-58-6, including 23-30-4 in Kalamazoo. However, Ohio State is 8-2-0 in the last 10 meetings with Western Michigan.

We’ve Been Here Before
Ohio State has played at Western Michigan in four of the last five seasons, with the lone exception in 2002-03. Ohio State was 5-3 in those games and is 7-3 in Kalamazoo in the last five years, including a postseason sweep in 2002.

OSU vs. WMU – The 2004-05 Series
Ohio State was 3-1-0 against Western Michigan last season as members of the same CCHA scheduling cluster. The teams first met in Kalamazoo Oct. 29-30. In the series, the Broncos came back from a goal down in the third period to win game one, 6-3, before Ohio State overcame a third-period deficit in game two, outscoring WMU 4-1 in the final period for a 5-2 victory.

In Columbus Jan. 28-29, the Buckeyes won both games. In the opener, Mathieu Beaudoin scored twice and the Buckeyes were 3-for-5 on the power play as the Buckeyes won, 4-3. The Broncos tied the game at 3 early in the third, but Beaudoin scored 1:42 later to regain the Buckeye lead for good. In a 7-0 win in game two, the Buckeyes scored three goals in both the first and second periods, led by Tom Fritsche’s hat trick and four points.

A Look at the Broncos
Western Michigan is 0-2 on the year, with a home loss to Robert Morris (5-2) and a road loss at Niagara (3-2).

Brent Walton leads the Buckeyes with two goals, Mike Erickson has a team-best two assists and Walton, Erickson and Ryan Mahrle are tied for the team lead with two points each. In net, Daniel Bellissimo has started both games and has an 0-1 record with a 3.03 goals-against average and .884 save percentage. Scott Foster has played 20 minutes, with a 9.00 gaa and .571 svpct.

Jim Culhane, a 1987 graduate of Western Michigan, is in his seventh year at the helm of his alma mater. He has a career ledger of 100-115-23.

Last season, WMU was 14-21-2 and finished 10th in the CCHA with an 8-18-2 record.

Vs. the Broncos
Junior Mathieu Beaudoin has a team-best six goals and eight points in six games vs. Western Michigan. Junior Andrew Schembri has a team-best six assists and is second with seven points.

A Team Effort
Eleven Buckeyes posted at least a point in Ohio State’s 7-2 in Bowling Green last Thursday.

Six Buckeyes had at least two points against Bowling Green. Tom Fritsche led the way with a 2-1-3 line, while Andrew Schembri, Rod Pelley and Jason DeSantis each had a goal and an assist and Domenic Maiani and Matt McIlvane each had two helpers.

The Most Since …
The Buckeyes’ seven goals against Bowling Green marked their highest scoring output since a 7-0 win over Bowling Green Jan. 29, 2005. It was the team’s biggest road win since downing Ferris State, 6-0, Feb. 7, 2004 in Big Rapids, Mich.

Impact
Against Bowling Green last Friday, sophomore John Dingle scored in the third period to lift the Buckeyes to a 2-all tie. Dingle’s last two goals have been important markers for the Buckeyes. He scored the overtime winner against Ferris State in game three of the CCHA playoff series March 13 to send Ohio State to the CCHA Super Six. Dingle has five career goals, with two gamewinners and a game-tying score.

Posting Points
Sophomore Tom Fritsche has recorded at least two points in three of the Buckeyes’ four games this year, with two two-point outings and a three-point performance at Bowling Green. He has a team-best seven points this season.

At the Shooting Range
The Buckeyes have outshot their opponents in all four games this season. Ohio State is averaging 33 shots on goal a game, while allowing 22.2. The Buckeyes held Bowling Green to an opponent-low 19 shots on net Friday.

And in the Third Period …
Ohio State has outscored its opponents, 5-0, in the third period this season. In its win at Colorado College, the teams were tied entering the third before OSU scored the only goal of the stanza. At Bowling Green Thursday, the Buckeyes were up, 5-2, and outscored the Falcons 2-0 in the third. OSU scored the only goal of the third period vs. Bowling Green Friday to tie the game. OSU has outscored opponents by one, 5-4, in the first period and goals are even at three in the middle stanza.

Moving Up the Charts
Senior goalie Dave Caruso now has 41 career wins, one behind seventh-place All-American Jeff Maund (1997-99). Caruso is OSU’s all-time career goals-against leader with a 2.01 gaa.

He’s a Winner
Senior forward Rod Pelley has both of the Buckeyes’ gamewinning goals this season. He now has 42 career goals, including six winners.

Pelley leads the Buckeyes and is second in the CCHA with 21 shots this season.

A Team Effort Part Two
Thirteen of the 18 Buckeye skaters that have played this season have at least a point.

On the Plus Side
Three Buckeyes were +3 in the win over the Falcons – Jason DeSantis, Andrew Schembri and Tyson Strachan. The mark was a career best for both Schembri and Strachan. DeSantis was a career-high +4 vs. Sacred Heart Nov. 5, 2004.

Happy 50th!
Both Tom Fritsche and Andrew Schembri hit the 50-point mark with their performances at Bowling Green. Fritsche has 13-39-52 points in 46 career games. Schembri has a 16-35-51 line in 85 career outings.

This and That From The BG Series
Tom Fritsche’s two goals Friday were his most since scoring a hat trick last season vs. Western Michigan (Jan. 29). It was his first three-point night since March 13 vs. Ferris State in game three of the CCHA tournament last season. The shorthanded goal was the first of his career.

Domenic Maiani’s two points marked his first multiple-point game since a three-assist night at Notre Dame Jan. 15.

Matt McIlvane’s two assists marked his first mulitple-point game since Oct. 21, 2004 vs. Miami. Jason DeSantis’ two-point night was his first since Nov. 20, 2004 at Nebraska-Omaha.

Dave Barton’s goal was his first since Feb. 19 at Michigan State.

Ohio State’s 43 shots Friday were a season high and the most since putting 44 shots on net vs. Ferris State March 11 in game one of the CCHA tournament first-round series last season.

A Veteran Crew
Every Buckeye that has played this season already had one year of collegiate hockey under his belt. In contrast, in the season opener last year, eight freshmen played, including two defensemen and the starting goalie.

Ohio State used the same lineup for the first four games this season.

This season, the Buckeyes have a CCHA-low two freshmen on the squad, as well as a league-high nine juniors.

On the Road Again
After the Buckeyes opened their home schedule last week vs. Bowling Green, the team has three more road games – the series at Western Michigan and a single game at Miami – before opening up a four-game homestand, with single games vs. Miami and Michigan State and a two-game series against Lake Superior State.

Record Watch
Senior defenseman Nate Guenin has 317 career penalty minutes, 10 behind 10th-place Hugh Prentice (1971-74).

Up Next
The Buckeyes have a home-and-home series with instate rival Miami next week. The teams will meet at 7:35 p.m. Friday in Goggin Ice Arena Oxford, Ohio, and at 8:05 p.m. Saturday in Value City Arena in Columbus.

The History
The Buckeyes are in their 43rd season as a varsity program. The squad is 679-684-96 all-time. The squad has posted four consecutive seasons with 20 or more wins, marking a first in program history. Under 11th-year head coach John Markell, the Buckeyes have six seasons with 20 or more wins.

Preseason Predictions
Ohio State was picked to finish first in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association by both the coaches and the media.

It was the highest preseason ranking for OSU in the history of the polls. Ohio State’s previous high was the second-place rating entering the 1998-99 season after the Buckeyes reached the 1998 NCAA Frozen Four.

This season, OSU was the unanimous choice among the coaches, receiving all 11 first-place votes (coaches can not vote for their own teams).

In the media poll, the Buckeyes picked up 47-of-54 first-place votes.

Michigan and Northern Michigan followed the Buckeyes in second and third place, respectively, in both polls.

Buckeyes to Watch For
A league-best six Buckeyes were named to the Preseason All-CCHA teams. Senior forward Rod Pelley and senior goalie Dave Caruso were first-team choices, senior defenseman Nate Guenin and sophomore forward Tom Fritsche were named to the second team and junior defenseman Sean Collins and junior forward Mathieu Beaudoin were honorable mention choices.

No other team had more than two players named to the first, second and honorable mention teams combined.

Caruso was a Preseason Second Team All-American by both Inside College Hockey and USCHO.com. Fritsche was a INCH Preseason All-America Third Team choice. Pelley was an honorable mention All-USCHO selection. Guenin was named a Preseason First Team All-American by collegehockeynews.com.

A Quick Recap
The Buckeyes were 27-11-4 last season and earned an at-large berth into the NCAA tournament for the third consecutive season. The team finished second in the CCHA regular-season standing with a 21-5-2 ledger (its highest finish in over 20 years) and was the runner-up in the CCHA Super Six tournament.

Who’s Back
The Buckeyes return 21-of-24 letterwinners and 23-of-26 players from the 2004-05 team.

The team returns its Top 6 scorers and 92.1 percent of its points from last season, as well as 90.8 percent of its goals.

Sophomore Tom Fritsche led the team in assists (34) and points (45) last season, while junior Mathieu Beaudoin (23) and senior Rod Pelley (22) were first and second in goals. Pelley also ranked second in points with 41. Junior Sean Collins led the OSU defensemen in scoring with 26 points.

In all, the Buckeyes return eight of nine players that scored 20 or more points last season and five of six players with double-digit goals last season.

The Breakdown
The Buckeye roster contains four seniors, nine juniors, a CCHA-high 11 sophomores and a league-low two freshmen.

Who’s New
There are three new faces on the Buckeye roster this season – freshman forwards Nick Biondo and Corey Elkins and junior transfer Tommy Goebel. Goebel is unable to play for Ohio State this season because of NCAA transfer rules.

Who’s Gone
The three seniors from the 2004-05 squad – captain JB Bittner, Lee Spector and Thomas Welsh – all finished their eligibility last season. All three have earned their degrees from OSU, with Spector graduating in the spring and Bittner and Welsh earning their degrees in the summer. The class was the first in OSU history to have at least 20 wins in all four years and to reach the NCAA tournament three times.

Over the Summer
Ohio State sophomore Tom Fritsche was drafted by the Colorado Avalanche in the second round of the NHL Entry Draft with the 47th overall pick. He is the first second-round choice in OSU history and the fourth-highest Buckeye draft pick, behind only first-round choices R.J. Umberger, Ryan Kesler and Dave Steckel.

Buckeye sophomores Fritsche, Ian Keserich and Domenic Maiani participated in the 2005 U.S. National Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid, N.Y. The trio helped Team USA combine for a 7-1 record vs. Finland and Sweden.

The camp included 42 under-20 athletes eligible for a spot on the 2006 U.S. National Junior Team, with the athletes split into two teams (Blue and White).

Leading the Way
Senior Nate Guenin, an alternate captain for the Buckeyes the last two seasons, was voted team captain by his teammates for the 2005-06 campaign. Guenin takes over the captaincy from two-time leader JB Bittner, who completed his eligibility in 2004-05. The duo grew up playing hockey together in Pittsburgh for the Pittsburgh Hornets junior hockey organization.

Senior Rod Pelley is in his second year as an alternate captain, while junior Sean Collins is in his first year wearing the `A’.

Shooting For 20
The Buckeyes are looking to extend their streak of seasons with 20 or more wins to five, after setting the program record with its fourth in a row last season. The school’s 27 wins last season tied for the second-most in program history.