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Feb. 16, 2005

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Faceoff
The No. 7 Ohio State men’s hockey team travels to face Michigan State in a two-game Central Collegiate Hockey Association series this weekend. The Buckeyes (22-7-3, 19-4-1/2nd CCHA) and Spartans (13-13-4, 8-11-3/t-8th CCHA) will face off at 7:35 p.m. Friday and at 7:05 p.m. Saturday at Munn Ice Arena in East Lansing, Mich.

The Broadcast
The games this weekend will be broadcast by WOSU Radio (820 AM/wosu.org) with Neil Sika (play-by-play) and former Buckeye John Mowat (color) on the call.

The game Friday will be televised by FSN Detroit and FSN Ohio will pick up the broadcast live, with Ken Daniels (p-by-p) and Fred Pletsch (color) calling the action and Shireen Saski rinkside. The game Saturday will be televised by Comcast Local Detroit, with Ben Holden and Lyle Phair.

Live stats from the games can be accessed by clicking on the Gametracker link on the men’s hockey schedule page at ohiostatebuckeyes.com.

Last Time Out
Ohio State swept a home series with Bowling Green last weekend (Feb. 11-12), winning both games, 3-2.

Michigan State lost two one-goal games at Alaska Fairbanks (Feb. 11-12), falling the first night, 6-5 in overtime, before losing 1-0 in game two.

In the League
Ohio State clinched at least second place in the final CCHA regular-season standings with its sweep of Bowling Green last weekend. The Buckeyes remained in second place, one point behind Michigan, who swept two games on the road against Nebraska-Omaha last weekend.

Michigan State is tied with Lake Superior State for eighth place in the CCHA, two points behind seventh-place Miami and four behind fifth-place Alaska Fairbanks and Bowling Green. MSU has two games in hand on the RedHawks and Nanooks.

No. 2
The Buckeyes have clinched at least second place in the final CCHA regular-season standings with a 19-4-1 record with four games remaining. The Buckeyes have not finished as high as second in the final CCHA standings since 1983 and 1984 when they ended the year tied for second and have not been alone in the No. 2 spot since 1979, 1980 and 1981. OSU won its first and only CCHA regular-season title in 1972, the league’s inaugural season.

OSU’s 19 league wins this season are the most since the 1997-98 team went 19-10-1 and finished third in the league.

Streakers
Ohio State is on a six-game winning streak and posted its third consecutive series sweep with back-to-back 3-2 victories over Bowling Green in Value City Arena last week. It is the longest winning streak since the squad won six in a row en route to the 2004 CCHA Super Six title last year, stringing together six wins from March 6-20, 2004. The six-game winning streak in the regular season is the longest since the 1998 squad won eight in a row Jan. 9-Feb. 6, 1998.

Clinching the Cup
The wins over Bowling Green clinched the 2005 Ohio Cup for the Buckeyes, as they are 3-0 in cup play. The Falcons ended the year with a 1-2-1 ledger and Miami stands at 0-2-1. The OSU at Miami game March 4 officially closes out the Ohio Cup competition for the year. OSU last won the Ohio Cup in 2003 and has won five times total (1983, ’98, 2000, ’03, ’05).

The OSU-MSU Series
Ohio State trails the all-time series with the Spartans, 16-70-7, including a record of 4-38-1 in games played in East Lansing, Mich.

In the last 10 games, however, the series between the Buckeyes and Spartans is tied, 4-4-2. The teams met four times last season as part of the same CCHA scheduling cluster, with each team posting a sweep on the other’s home ice. OSU won 5-0 and 4-1 in East Lansing Oct. 17-18, 2003, before the Spartans returned the favor with 4-2 and 3-0 wins Jan. 23-24, 2004 in Columbus.

A Look at the Spartans
Michigan State enters the Ohio State series 13-13-4 overall and 8-11-3 in CCHA play. The team is looking to stop a five-game (0-2-3) winless streak, including two losses on the road at Alaska Fairbanks last weekend (6-5 OT and 1-0).

As a team, MSU is averaging 2.9 goals a game, while allowing 2.4. The squad has converted 16 percent (29-181) of its power-play chances and has an 83.6 percent (122-146) success rate on the penalty kill. The Spartans average 6.4 penalties and 14.2 penalty minutes a game.

Junior Colton Fretter leads the Spartans with 15 goals and 31 points, while senior Jim Slater is second in points with 30 and first in assists with 19. Sophomore Drew Miller is second on the team in goals with 14, followed by Slater with 11 and senior Ash Goldie with 10.

In net, sophomore Dominic Vicari has played in 27 games, with a 2.21 goals-against average and .925 save percentage.

Rick Comley, a 1972 graduate of Lake Superior State, is in his third year at the helm of the Spartans and has compiled a record of 59-44-8. In his 32-year career, he had a 656-519-79 ledger.

Buckeyes vs. Spartans
Buckeye junior forward Dan Knapp has a team-best three assists and four points against Michigan State, while seniors JB Bittner and Lee Spector each have two goals.

Ohio State head coach John Markell is 9-17-3 in his career against Michigan State.

The 2003-04 OSU-MSU Series in Columbus Jan. 23-24, 2004
The Buckeyes had their six-game unbeaten streak vs. Michigan State stopped with a 4-2 loss Jan. 23, 2004 in Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State got on the board with a Chris Olsgard goal at the 12:50 mark of the first before the Spartans tied the game on Drew Miller’s goal with just 41 seconds remaining.

MSU controlled the scoreboard in the second, posting the only goals of the period (by Jim Slater and David Booth) to head into the final stanza up, 3-1. OSU pulled its goalie late in the third for the extra attacker. Rod Pelley pulled OSU within one (3-2) with a goal at the 18:32 mark. Dave Steckel had a chance to tie it with under a minute left, but his shot went off the crossbar. Slater ended the scoring with an empty-net goal at 19:26.

In the game, OSU outshot the Spartans, 44-26. Each team was scoreless on the power play – OSU was 0-for-4 and MSU was 0-for-2.

The next night, Ohio State was blanked, 3-0, by the Spartans. There was no scoring until MSU defenseman A.J. Thelan tallied at the 13:03 mark of the second. Thelan added a power-play goal 52 seconds into the final period and Adam Nightingale ended the scoring with an empty-net goal at 17:54. OSU outshot MSU in the game, 28-25. The Buckeyes were scoreless on five power-play chances, while the Spartans were 1-for-6.

In East Lansing Oct. 17-18, 2003
The Buckeyes posted their second consecutive sweep of Michigan State and extended their unbeaten streak over the Spartans to six (4-0-2) with two wins Oct. 17-18, 2003. It marked OSU’s first wins in East Lansing since the 1997 season and just its third and fourth wins there in program history.

In the first game, Ohio State used a solid team effort, with 10 Buckeyes posting at least one point, to shut out Michigan State, 5-0. Dan Knapp and Nate Guenin scored first-period goals, while Paul Caponigri added on a goal in the second and JB Bittner and Lee Spector ended the scoring with power-play tallies late in the third. Buckeye goalie Mike Betz stopped all 24 Michigan State shots for his ninth career shutout.

In the series finale, Scott May had three points, on two goals and an assist, to lead the squad to a 4-1 victory. Spector scored the gamewinner in the second period, while Bittner also tallied.

Between the Pipes
Junior goalie Dave Caruso’s 20 wins on the season rank tied for fourth all-time in OSU history for goalie wins in a season (with Mike Betz in 2002 and 2003 and Jeff Maund in 1999). He is tied for second in the country in goalie wins and ranks seventh in winning percentage (.768) among the nation’s goalies. Caruso’s 34 career wins rank ninth in program history.

A Helpful Rookie
Freshman Tom Fritsche, who leads the Buckeyes with 34 points, has a team-best 27 assists on the year, ranking seventh in OSU history for assists by a freshman in a season. He had two assists in the win over Bowling Green Feb. 12, his sixth game with multiple assists as a Buckeye, and is tied for fourth in the nation in helpers.

A Special Goal Scorer
With three goals against Bowling Green (two Feb. 11, one Feb. 12), sophomore forward Matt Beaudoin moved into a tie for the team goal scoring lead with Rod Pelley with 18 on the year. Beaudoin has a team and league-best 12 power-play goals this season, tying for 10th in the OSU record book for ppg in a campaign and ranking third in the nation this season. He also has a team-best four gamewinning goals; all four have come in CCHA play to lead the league. Beaudoin is first for the Buckeyes with two shorthanded goals this season as well.

Since the holiday break, Beaudoin, who was the CCHA Player of the Month in January, has 13 goals (including 10 on the power play) and 18 points in 14 games. He has helped the Buckeyes convert 24-of-81 (29.6 percent) of their power-play chances in the 14 games combined, with a team-best 14 power-play points.

On the Power Play
The Buckeyes were 2-for-7 on the power play in each game against Bowling Green and have 16 games this season where they have more than one power-play goal, going 15-0-1 in those games (7-0 with two ppg, 8-0-1 with three or more). OSU’s season high is five power play goals, when the team was 5-for-6 in a 7-1 win over Sacred Heart Nov. 6.

During the current six-game winning streak, OSU has converted 37.5 percent (12-for-32) of its power-play opportunities. On the year, OSU is 54-for-231 with the man advantage (23.4 percent) to rank fifth in the nation. Last season, the squad had 35 power play goals and a 16.5 percent success rate in 42 games.

Nailbiters
Ohio State is 7-1 in one-goal games this season, including three consecutive 3-2 victories. OSU’s only one-goal loss was an overtime loss to Ferris State, 3-2, Jan. 8 in Columbus.

No. 77
Freshman Kyle Hood has a three-game scoring streak and has 4-6-10 totals in his last eight games combined, including three two-point outings. He had a career-best two assists in the opener against the Falcons Feb. 11 and added the gamewinning goal vs. BG Feb. 12, his second gamewinner of the year.

5-for-55
Sophomore defenseman Matt Waddell has an assist in five of the last six games. Waddell, who has 2-8-10 totals on the year, is second on the team with a +12 rating.

A Team Effort
Tyson Strachan, a sophomore defenseman, scored his first goal of the season vs. the Falcons Feb. 12. All 21 Buckeye skaters who have played in more than five games have a goal this season and 21 players who have seen action in more than five games, including goalie Dave Caruso, have an assist, with 20 posting at least two helpers.

Coming Out to Watch the Buckeyes
The attendance of 11,570 vs. Bowling Green Feb. 12 was the third highest in Value City Arena this season, behind only the 14,777 vs. Michigan Jan. 21 and the 12,391 against the Wolverines Jan. 22. More than 20,000 fans watched OSU and BGSU play on the weekend, after 8,832 were in attendance Feb. 11. OSU now is averaging 6,652 fans a game (actual attendance).

Mr. 150
Senior captain JB Bittner played in his 150th game as a Buckeye Feb. 12 vs. Bowling Green. He is five games shy of tying Jean-Francois Dufour (1998-01) for 10th place in program history with 155 games played. Mark Anderson (1985-88) is OSU’s all-time leader with 167 games played as a Buckeye.

Three other Buckeyes have played in 100 games in the Scarlet and Gray – Nate Guenin (102), Rod Pelley (116) and Lee Spector (110).

Loving the 20s
Ohio State’s record improved to 20-7-3 with the sweep of Lake State Feb. 4-5, marking the first time in program history Ohio State has had four consecutive 20 or more win seasons. OSU had 20 wins in 2001-02, 25 in 2002-03 and 26 in 2003-04. Under head coach John Markell, OSU has six seasons with 20 or more victories. OSU’s record for wins in a season is 30, set in 1983-84, followed by 27 in 1998 and 26 in 1983 and 2004.

OSU’s 22 victories this year rank ninth all-time.

A Sweet Sweep
The sweep of Bowling Green was OSU’s third consecutive in league play and its ninth two-game series sweep this season, including eight in CCHA action. OSU has home sweeps over Sacred Heart, Northern Michigan, Alaska Fairbanks, Western Michigan and Bowling Green, road sweeps against Ferris State, Notre Dame and Lake Superior State and a home-and-home sweep of Miami.

Magic Eight Ball
The Buckeyes rank in the Top 8 in the nation in six team categories – scoring offense (3.50/t-7th), scoring defense (2.22/t-8th), scoring margin (+1.28/8th), power play (.224/5th), penalty kill (.878/3rd) and winning percentage (.734/t-5th).

Comeback Kids
In the Buckeyes’ game against Lake Superior State Feb. 5, Ohio State trailed entering the third period, 2-1, before Dan Knapp tied the game in the third and Bryce Anderson scored in overtime to lift the Buckeyes to the win. The game marked the first time this season Ohio State came back to win when trailing after the second period; the team now is 1-5-2 when behind after the second period this year.

At the CCHA Super Six last season, the Buckeyes trailed entering the third period in both the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds before coming back to win both games in overtime (Notre Dame, 6-5, March 18, 2004; Miami, 4-3, March 19, 2004). Prior to those games, the team’s last come-from-behind win was Oct. 18, 2002 against Alaska Fairbanks.

Turning on the Red Light
The game against the Lakers Feb. 4 was junior forward Rod Pelley’s third two-goal outing of the season. He has 11 power-play goals this year and is tied for first for the Buckeyes with a career-best 18 goals. Pelley has a career-best 31 points on the year, marking his first 30-point campaign.

From the Blueline
Sophomore defenseman Sean Collins leads the Buckeye blueliners with six goals, 15 assists and 21 points this season, marking career bests in all three categories. Collins is second in the CCHA in scoring among defensemen.

Get Shorty
OSU now has seven shorthanded tallies this season to rank tied for fifth in the nation.

Matt Beaudoin has two shorthanded goals on the year, while Bryce Anderson, Dan Knapp, Lee Spector, Jason DeSantis and Matt McIlvane each have one.

Senior JB Bittner is OSU’s current career leader with three shorthanded goals. He had one in each of his first three seasons with the team.

On the Road Again
Ohio State is 8-4-2 on the road this season and has won its last four road games (two at Notre Dame, two at Lake State). The squad is averaging 2.9 goals a game on the road, while allowing 2.7. Junior forward Rod Pelley is first with 10 goals and 14 points, while freshman Domenic Maiani has a team-best 12 assists and is second with 13 points in road games.

An Honored Alum
Former Buckeye Ryan Kesler (2003), a first-round draft pick of the Vancouver Canucks, was named to the PlanetUSA AHL All-Star team for the 2005 Dodge AHL All-Star Classic Feb. 14. Kesler had one assist, as the PUSA team came back from four goals down to win in a shootout. Kesler, who plays for the Manitoba Moose, has a 20-20-40 line and a +19 rating in 51 games this season.

Against the Ranked
After splitting a two-game series with No. 3-ranked Michigan, Ohio State is 5-2-2 against ranked teams this year, including a 1-1-1 ledger against teams ranked in the Top 3.

10/9 #10 UNH L, 1-5 10/21 #6 Miami W, 9-3 10/22 #6 Miami W, 2-1 11/13 #11 NMU W, 2-0 11/14 #11 NMU W, 5-1 12/30 #2 CC T OT, 2-2 1/21 #3 Michigan W, 4-1 1/22 #3 Michigan L, 3-6

On the PK
After giving up three power-play goals in the two games at Lake Superior State combined, the Buckeye penalty killing returned to form, holding Bowling Green scoreless on 14-of-15 chances in the series, including a 7-for-7 night Feb. 11. OSU is first in the CCHA and third in the nation on the penalty kill.

Seeing Stars
The Buckeyes have had a CCHA-high 18 players earn Perani Cup Three Stars of the Game honor this season. For OSU, Matt Beaudoin has a team-high 28 points (including five first-star honors) to rank sixth in the league. Dave Caruso is second for OSU with 21 points, while Rod Pelley is third with 17. Kyle Hood ranks fourth after he was the second star of the game in both games vs. Bowling Green Feb. 11-12.

A Quick Look Back
Ohio State swept Bowling Green last weekend, winning Feb. 11 and Feb. 12 with identical 3-2 scores. In each game, OSU took a 3-0 lead before the Falcons cut the lead to one.

Game One
Matt Beaudoin had two goals and Kyle Hood had two assists as Ohio State downed Bowling Green, 3-2, Feb. 11 in Value City Arena.

The Buckeyes scored on their first two power-play chances of the game to take a 2-0 lead at the end of the first period. Bryce Anderson got the Buckeyes on the board with a power-play tally at 1:44, followed by Beaudoin’s first goal of the night at 8:40. Beaudoin added an even-strength marker at 10:58 of the second to put the Buckeyes up by three. BG then got on the board at 17:03 of the second, as Jonathan Matsumoto tallied. The Falcons cut OSU’s lead to one with a James Unger goal at 14:25 of the third. BG pulled goalie Jordan Sigalet with 1:50 remaining, but could not get the equalizer.

Game Two
Feb. 12, Tom Fritsche had two assists and Hood scored the gamewinning goal, as OSU again downed the Falcons, 3-2.

The Buckeyes scored 2:46 into the game, as Beaudoin tallied on the power play. Tyson Strachan made the score 2-0 at 14:37 of the first before Hood’s power-play goal 5:02 into the second period extended the Buckeyes’ lead to 3-0. BG climbed back into the game, scoring at 12:57 of the second and 8:27 of the third (on the power play), but could not get the equalizer.

The wins extended the Buckeyes’ winning streak against the Falcons to nine games overall and to seven games in Columbus.

Leading the Way
Senior forward JB Bittner is serving as team captain and junior defenseman Nate Guenin and junior forward Rod Pelley are alternate captains for the 2004-05 season. The trio was selected by a vote of their teammates. Bittner, from Pittsburgh, Pa., is in his second year as team captain, while Aliquippa, Pa., native Guenin is in his second year as an alternate.

Up Next
After a week off next weekend (Feb. 25-26), the team will end the regular season with a home-and-home series against Miami. The teams will meet at 7:35 p.m. March 4 in Goggin Ice Arena in Oxford, Ohio, before a game at 8:05 p.m. March 5 in Value City Arena in Columbus. It is fan appreciation night in Value City Arena and fans have the chance to win free prizes all night long. Buckeye seniors JB Bittner, Lee Spector and Thomas Welsh will be honored in a postgame ceremony. A postgame autograph session is scheduled as well.

On the Air
Ohio State will appear on both national and local television this season.

OSU’s 2004-05 Television Schedule Oct. 9 New Hampshire L, 1-5 (NHPT) Dec. 4 Alaska Fairbanks W, 5-2 (Sport!) Dec. 29 Minnesota State W, 3-1 (ONN) Dec. 30 Colorado College TOT, 2-2 (ONN) Jan. 7 Ferris State W, 3-1 (CSTV) Jan. 22 Michigan L, 3-6 (CSTV) Feb. 11 BGSU W,3-2(WOSU.+) Feb. 18 at Michigan State FSN Detroit Feb. 19 at Michigan State Comcast

It’s Back
Buckeye Hockey Weekly, Ohio State head coach John Markell’s radio show, returns this season. The show, hosted by Neil Sika, can be heard at 7 p.m. most Tuesdays on 1460 (AM) The Fan and online at 1460TheFan.com. The remaining dates of the show are March 1 and March 8. Fans are welcome to call in (614-821-1460) with questions for Markell.