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Jan. 5, 2005

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Faceoff
No. 9/10 Ohio State (12-5-3, 9-2-1 CCHA) returns to Central Collegiate Hockey Association action with a two-game home series against Ferris State (8-10-2, 3-7-2 CCHA) Friday-Saturday in Value City Arena in Columbus. The teams will meet at 8:05 p.m. Friday and will face off at 7:35 p.m. Saturday.

The Broadcast
The Buckeyes’ games vs. Ferris State 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. Saturday, the game also will be broadcast by The Underground, OSU’s student-run radio station, online at www.underground.fm.

The game Friday will be televised live by CSTV: College Sports Television as part of its CSTV Friday Night Hockey package. Steve Schlanger (p-by-p) and Billy Jaffe (color) will call the action.

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

Fans also will be able to watch the game Saturday by webcast online at ohiostatebuckeyes.com. The webcast is available within the College Sports Pass subscription service which features exclusive live and on-demand audio and video content. For more information, go online to ohiostatebuckeyes.com.

The Fun Stuff
Friday is AAA Cardholder Night at Value City Arena; members can receive a $4 ticket to the game by showing their AAA cards at the ticket window.

Saturday, free Ohio State hockey trading cards will be given to the first 5,000 fans courtesy of Honda. Frozen Four Packs will be available, which include four tickets, four hot dogs, four sodas and four popcorns for $40. Postgame, an autograph session with sophomore Kenny Bernard and senior Thomas Welsh will be held.

Last Time Out
The Buckeyes took second place in the inaugural Ohio Hockey Classic at Nationwide Arena in Columbus Dec. 29-30. OSU won the first game against Minnesota State, Mankato, 5-1. On day two, the Buckeyes tied No. 2-ranked Colorado College, 2-2. The Tigers won a shootout, 3-2, to claim the tournament title.

Ferris State claimed the Badger Hockey Showdown for the second year in a row Dec. 31-Jan. 1. The Bulldogs beat Clarkson, 4-1, in the opening round. In the championship game, FSU beat No. 4 Wisconsin on its home ice, 5-3, to win the title.

In the Rankings
Following the Ohio Hockey Classic, Ohio State moved up to No. 9 in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll and up a spot to No. 10 in the USCHO.com rankings. In the INCH Power Poll (insidecollegehockey.com), the Buckeyes improved two spots to No. 12.

The Series
The Buckeyes lead the all-time series with Ferris State, 51-33-10, although the series is tied in the last 10 games, 5-5.

Home Sweet Home at Last
In the series against Ferris State in Columbus, the Buckeyes lead 28-10-7 and are on a nine-game winning streak. The teams last met in Columbus Feb. 15-16, 2002, with OSU posting a two-game sweep (5-2, 4-3). In all, 12 of the last 14 meetings have been in Big Rapids, Mich. OSU ended a six-game winless streak (0-5-1) on FSU’s home ice with a victory Feb. 7, 2004. OSU has traveled to Big Rapids for six consecutive seasons.

Earlier This Season
The Buckeyes posted two wins over Ferris State in Ewigleben Ice Arena in Big Rapids, Mich., Oct. 15-16, 2004, in the CCHA opener for both teams. OSU won 4-2 Friday (Oct. 15) and 4-3 in overtime Saturday (Oct. 16).

Oct. 15, sophomore forward Matt Beaudoin’s third-period goal broke a 2-all tie to lift the Buckeyes to the 4-2 win over Ferris State in the CCHA opener for both teams. Andrew Schembri (5×3) and Rod Pelley (5×4) scored first-period power-play goals to put OSU up, 2-0, 8:05 into the game. The Bulldogs scored at the 16:04 mark of the first to cut OSU’s lead to one and then tied the game 15:51 into the second. The score remained tied until Beaudoin scored an unassisted 4-on-4 goal at the 12:42 mark of the third. JB Bittner ended the scoring with an empty-net, power-play goal with 15 seconds remaining.

Oct. 16, Buckeye senior Lee Spector scored in overtime to cap a comeback win for Ohio State over Ferris State. The Buckeyes trailed, 3-1, with 16:24 remaining in the third period but Pelley and Beaudoin scored to tie the game and force overtime before Spector tallied to give OSU the win and the two-game sweep of the Bulldogs.

The teams were scoreless through the first period. Jeff Legue gave the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal 2:24 into the second before Kyle Hood scored at 5:51 to tie the game at 1. The Bulldogs then scored twice in a minute (at 2:36 and 3:36) of the third period to take a 3-1 lead with 16:24 remaining. Pelley then scored a 4-on-3 power-play goal at 7:35 and Beaudoin tied the game with a goal with 1:32 left in regulation. Spector, assisted by Sean Collins, tallied the gamewinner 3:17 into overtime.

A Look at the Bulldogs
Ferris State enters the series with the Buckeyes 8-10-2 on the year and stands in a tie for 11th place in the CCHA with a 3-7-2 record. The team is on a five-game (4-0-1) unbeaten streak after going 2-0 in the Badger Hockey Classic, including a victory over then-No. 4-ranked Wisconsin in the championship game, 5-3.

The Bulldogs are scoring and allowing 3.15 goals a game. The team has converted 14 percent of its power-play chances and has an 85.1 percent success rate on the penalty kill.

Senior forward Jeff Legue, the MVP of the Badger Hockey Showdown and reigning INCH Player of the Week, leads Ferris State with 14 goals and 20 points this season. Sophomore forward Mark Bomersback and senior defenseman Matt York are tied for the team lead with 11 assists each. Senior forward Derek Nesbitt is second in assists with 10 and in points with 18. In all, six players have 11 or more points. In net, senior and 2003 All-American Mike Brown has played 16 games, posting a 2.94 goals-against average and .891 save percentage. Freshman Derek MacIntyre has played in seven games, has a 3.28 gaa and a .896 svpct.

Bob Daniels, a 1982 graduate of Michigan State, is in his 13th year at the helm of the Ferris State program. He has a career ledger of 203-237-38.

Markell vs. the Bulldogs
Ohio State head coach John Markell is 19-11-1 all-time against Ferris State. His first career win as a coach came over the Bulldogs Feb. 18, 1995.

A Cluster
Ohio State and Ferris State are in the same CCHA scheduling cluster this season and are joined by Miami and Western Michigan. Teams in the same cluster face each other four times a season (twice at home and twice on the road) and face the other eight league teams twice.

Through six games, OSU is in first place in the cluster standings with a 5-1 record and 10 points, followed by Western Michigan (3-3, 6 points), Ferris State (2-3-1, 5 points) and Miami (1-4-1, 3 points).

Ohio State and Ferris State were in the same cluster in the 2001-02 season. That year, the Bulldogs swept the Buckeyes in Big Rapids, Mich., Dec. 14-15 (5-2 and 3-2) before OSU returned the favor with a two-game sweep (5-2 and 4-3) in Columbus Feb. 15-16.

Honored
Buckeye freshman defenseman Johann Kroll was named the CCHA Rookie of the Week for his play in the Ohio Hockey Classic. Kroll scored a goal in each game of the tournament, including the gamewinner vs. Minnesota State, tied for the team-high with a +3 rating and helped OSU stop all 15 opponent power-play attempts. In the Buckeyes’ victory over Minnesota State Dec. 29, Kroll scored the gamewinning goal, was +2 and blocked three shots to earn third star of the game accolades. In OSU’s 2-all tie with No. 2-ranked Colorado College Dec. 30, Kroll scored the only goal of the second period to tie the game at 1 and was +1.

This is the seventh league honor for Ohio State this season. Sean Collins has been named league defenseman of the week twice (Oct. 18 and Nov. 15), Tom Fritsche was honored as the league’s rookie of the week (Nov. 8), Rod Pelley earned offensive player of the week accolades (Oct. 25), Matt Waddell was the defenseman of the week Oct. 25 and Dave Caruso was named the CCHA Goaltender of the Week Dec. 6.

Another Honor
Buckeye junior goalie Dave Caruso earned RBC Financial Group CCHA Player of the Month Special Mention honors.

Caruso was 3-0-2 in December, backstopping OSU to a series sweep of Alaska Fairbanks, a tie at Clarkson, and a 1-0-1 record in the Ohio Hockey Classic, with a win over Minnesota State and a tie against No. 2 Colorado College.

In the month, Caruso allowed just nine goals in 310:00, posting a 1.74 goals against average. He had a .937 save percentage, making 134 saves on 143 shots.

A Quick Look at the Ohio Hockey Classic
OSU went 1-0-1 in the inaugural Ohio Hockey Classic at Nationwide Arena last week.

Against Minnesota State Dec. 29, Buckeye freshman Tom Fritsche had three points, on a goal and two assists, to lead OSU to a 5-1 victory. OSU led 2-1 after the first on a power-play goal by Domenic Maiani and a goal from Johann Kroll. Bryce Anderson scored the only goal of the second period to put the Buckeyes up 3-1 after two and Fritsche and Matt Beaudoin ended the scoring with goals in the third.

Buckeye goalie Dave Caruso earned first star of the game accolades for his 31-save performance. The Buckeye penalty killers were a perfect 9-for-9 against the Mavericks, while the power play converted two of six chances.

In the game against No. 2-ranked Colorado College Dec. 30, sophomore defenseman Sean Collins scored with less than five minutes remaining to lift the Buckeyes to a tie with their WCHA counterpart.

The Tigers scored the only goal of the first period before OSU’s Johann Kroll tied the game with the lone goal of the second period, set up by Kenny Bernard and Kyle Hood. The Tigers regained the one-goal lead with a goal by Brett Sterling 9:47 into the third, but Collins scored at 15:33 for the 2-all tie. The game went to overtime, but neither team was able to score.

To determine the tournament winner, a shootout was held following the 5-minute overtime. CC scored on three of five chances, while OSU went 2-for-5, to give the Tigers the tournament trophy.

Buckeyes Fritsche and Caruso were named to the all-tournament team.

Home Sweet Home – Part Two
Ohio State is unbeaten in Columbus this season, with a perfect 7-0 record at Value City Arena and a 1-0-1 mark in Nationwide Arena. Overall, the Buckeyes have a 12-game home winning streak in VCA, dating back to Jan. 24, 2004, when Michigan State completed a two-game sweep of the Buckeyes.

Starting with the Ferris State series, Ohio State is home for six of the next eight and eight of the next 12 games.

Against the Opposition in VCA
Through seven games, the Buckeyes are outscoring their opponents at home 5.0 goals a game to 1.3. The squad has converted 32.7 (16/49) percent of its power-play chances and has stopped 94.8 (55/58) percent of its opponents’ opportunities and has scored four shorthanded goals.

Freshman Domenic Maiani has a team-best seven goals in VCA, while classmate Tom Fritsche has a team-high 11 assists. The duo is tied for the team lead with 11 points each in VCA.

Clutch
Sophomore defenseman Sean Collins scored with less than five minutes remaining against Colorado College to tie the game and force overtime. Collins also had the gametying third-period goal in OSU’s tie at Clarkson Dec. 10. In all three Buckeye ties this season, OSU has been the team to come from behind and force overtime.

On the PK
The Buckeye penalty killing stopped all 15 opponent power-play chances in the Ohio Hockey Classic, including a 9-for-9 performance against Minnesota State and a 6-for-6 outing vs. Colorado College. OSU has not allowed a power-play goal in eight games this season, with two 11-for-11 outings, four 9-for-9 performances, a 7-for-7 game and a 6-for-6 night.

And on the PP
The Buckeyes were scoreless on eight power-play chances against Colorado College, stopping a streak of six consecutive games with at least one power-play tally. In 20 games this season, OSU has a power-play goal in all but four contests this season.

The Leader of the Pack
With four points in the Ohio Hockey Classic, freshman forward Tom Fritsche took over the team scoring lead with 21 points. He also leads the team with 18 assists and has a team-best +11 rating.

On the Air
The game against Ferris State Friday will be televised live by CSTV, the third consecutive Ohio State game that will be broadcast. The Ohio News Network televised both OSU games in the Ohio Hockey Classic. OSU is 2-1-1 on television this season, after a loss at UNH, wins over Alaska Fairbanks and Minnesota State and the tie vs. CC.

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 entering his second year as team captain, while Aliquippa, Pa., native Guenin is in his second year as an alternate.

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 Dec. 4 Alaska Fairbanks W, 5-2 Dec. 29 Minnesota State W, 3-1 Dec. 30 Colorado College T OT, 2-2 Jan. 7 Ferris State CSTV Jan. 22 Michigan CSTV Feb. 18 at Michigan State FSN Detroit Feb. 19 at Michigan State Comcast

Up Next
Ohio State will face Notre Dame for two games Jan. 14-15 in Notre Dame, Ind. The teams will meet at 7:35 p.m. Jan. 14 and at 7:05 p.m. Jan. 15 at the Joyce Center.

Coming Soon
Ohio State will return home for a two-game series against Michigan at 7:05 p.m. Jan. 21-22. At the Jan. 21 game, the OSU band will perform Script Ohio on Ice. Jan. 22, free rally towels will be handed out to the first 10,000 fans courtesy of Nationwide Insurance and there will be a postgame autograph session with JB Bittner and Lee Spector.

The following week, Ohio State will play host to Western Michigan at 7:05 p.m. Jan. 28-29. Jan. 28, the BMX Stunt Team will perform on ice for the first time anywhere. Jan. 29 is Youth Jersey Night; all children in eighth grade and younger wearing a youth hhockey jersey to the game receive free admission. Frozen Four packs are available for the game as well, which include four tickets, four hot dogs, for sodas and four popcorns for $40. Postgame, an autograph session with Dan Knapp and Tyson Strachan is scheduled.

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 Jan. 12, Jan. 18, Jan. 25, Feb. 1, Feb. 8, March 1 and March 8. Fans are welcome to call in (614-821-1460) with questions for Markell.