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Dec. 1, 2004

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Faceoff
The No. 9/10 Ohio State men’s hockey team (9-4-1, 7-2-1/1st CCHA) plays host to Central Collegiate Hockey Association rival Alaska Fairbanks (6-4, 5-3/t-4th CCHA) for two games this weekend. The teams will meet at 7:05 p.m. Friday and Saturday in Value City Arena.

The Broadcast
The Buckeyes’ games against the Nanooks will be broadcast by WOSU Radio with Neil Sika and former Buckeye John Mowat on the call. Both games can be heard online at wosu.org, while the Friday contest and the first period Saturday also can be heard in Columbus on 820 AM.

Both games also will be broadcast by The Underground, OSU’s only student-run radio station. The games can be accessed by going online to www.underground.fm/sports.

The game Saturday will be televised by Sport! TV in Columbus on Timer Warner and Insight Cable systems only, as well as on Fox 7 in Fairbanks, Alaska. UAF’s Bruce Cech and Scott Roselius will call the action.

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

The Fun stuff
At the game Friday, the Ohio State band will perform Script Ohio on Ice. It is Buck a Brat Night, with Johnsonville Brats available for $1 (while supplies last). Kroger Plus Cardholders can receive a $4 ticket by showing their Kroger Plus Cards. CD 101 will have a live pregame broadcast from inside the Jerome Schottenstein Center from 3-7 p.m.

Saturday, fans can meet Columbus Blue Jackets mascot Stinger and members of the Blue Jackets organization at the game. It is Toys for Tots Night; fans that bring a new toy to donate to the game will receive a game ticket for $4. In addition, Frozen Four packs, which include four tickets, four hot dogs, four sodas and four popcorns, are available for $40. Postgame, an autograph session will be held with Buckeye sophomores Bryce Anderson and Matt Beaudoin.

Last Time Out
The Buckeyes are coming off a bye week. In their last game action, the team went 0-1-1 at Nebraska-Omaha, with a 4-0 loss Nov. 19 and a 4-4 tie in overtime Nov. 20.

Alaska Fairbanks split a two-game series at home with Notre Dame last weekend, losing the opener, 3-2, before winning game two, 3-2.

In the Rankings
This week, Ohio State is ranked ninth in the USCHO.com/CSTV poll and holds down the 10th spot in the most recent USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine rankings and INCH Power Poll (insidecollegehockey.com).

The CCHA Standings
Ohio State enters the weekend in first place in the CCHA with a 7-2-1 record and 15 points. Michigan is in second with 14 points and two games in hand on OSU. Nebraska-Omaha is alone in third with 11 points in 10 games, followed by a tie for fourth place between Alaska Fairbanks and Bowling Green, who each have 10 points in eight games.

The Slate
There are five CCHA series this weekend. In addition to the OSU-UAF matchup, Bowling Green and Michigan State have a home-and-home series, as do Western Michigan/Ferris State and Notre Dame/Michigan. A Nebraska-Omaha at Northern Michigan series rounds out the CCHA action. Miami (vs. Robert Morris) and Lake Superior State (vs. Bemidji State) have non-conference series this weekend.

The Series
The all-time series between Ohio State and Alaska Fairbanks is tied 15-15-2, with UAF leading 5-4-1 in the last 10 meetings. The Buckeyes lead the series in Columbus, 8-5-1. Ohio State swept the series last season, posting 4-2 and 3-2 wins Oct. 31-Nov. 1, 2003, in Columbus. In the series prior, UAF posted a sweep on OSU’s home ice with 4-1 and 5-4 wins Feb. 21-22, 2003.

This marks the third consecutive series between OSU and UAF in Columbus. In the five meetings prior, four were in Fairbanks, with the fifth in Detroit in the CCHA Super Six Quarterfinals.

Against the Nanooks
Buckeye junior forward Dan Knapp leads OSU with four goals and five points against the Nanooks. Senior forward JB Bittner is second with four points, while junior defenseman Nate Guenin and senior forward/defenseman Thomas Welsh have a team-best three assists each.

A Look at the Nanooks
Alaska Fairbanks enters the weekend 6-4 overall and 5-3 in CCHA play. The team is 3-1 at home and has a 3-3 ledger in away games. UAF is coming off a two-game home split with Notre Dame last weekend, falling in the opener, 3-2, before rebounding for a 3-2 win. The Nanooks last played on the road Nov. 12-13, when they split a series at Lake Superior State with a 6-2 loss and 2-0 win.

Kelly Czuy is leading the Nanooks with eight assists and 12 points on the year. Curtis Fraser has a team-best five goals and is tied with Kyle Greentree (4-5) with nine points each to rank second. In net, Keith Bartusch started the first three games of the season, posting a 3.94 goals-against average and .844 save percentage. Wylie Rogers has started the last seven outings, posting a CCHA-best 1.72 goals-against average along with a .938 save percentage.

As a team, Alaska Fairbanks is averaging 3.2 goals a game, while allowing 2.7 goals an outing. The team has converted 13.2 percent (9/68) of its power-play chances and has stopped 87.5 (49/56) of its opponents’ opportunities. UAF is averaging 7.0 penalties and 17.8 penalty minutes a game.

At the Helm
Tavis MacMillan, a 1994 graduate of Alaska Fairbanks, is in his first year at the helm of the Nanooks. He replaced Guy Gadowsky, who was hired at Princeton. MacMillan played for UAF from 1990-94 and was an assistant coach for the Nanooks for seven years before serving as the school’s compliance officer last season.

The 2003-04 Series
Ohio State swept Alaska Fairbanks by 4-2 and 3-2 scores Oct. 31-Nov. 1, 2003 in Value City Arena.

In the first game, the Buckeyes staked a 3-1 lead in the first period and never looked back, posting a 4-2 victory over Alaska Fairbanks. Dave Steckel got the Buckeyes on the board 3:19 into the game, but the Nanooks’ Ryan Campbell tied the game just over six minutes later. The Buckeyes ended the stanza with back-to-back goals by Chris Olsgard and JB Bittner (a power-play tally). The Nanooks scored the only goal of the middle period to cut OSU’s lead to one, but Rod Pelley scored 58 seconds into the third to regain OSU’s two-goal edge.

In the series finale, Ryan Campbell got the Nanooks on the board 3:33 into the game, but the Buckeyes tallied the next three goals – by Dan Knapp, Andrew Schembri and Bittner – to secure the lead. UAF ended the scoring with a goal with 3:03 left.

OSU’s victories over the Nanooks marked the first home sweep of Alaska Fairbanks since Dec. 5-6, 1997, and ended a two-game losing streak overall and three-game home losing streak to the Nanooks.

A Tie?
The 4-4 deadlock against Nebraska-Omaha Nov. 20 was OSU’s first tie since back-to-back ties against Michigan March 7-8, 2003, a stretch of 62 games. The team is 1-0-1 in overtime this year, with a victory against Ferris State Oct. 16.

The Friendly Confines
Ohio State is 5-0 at home this season and enters the weekend on a 10-game winning streak in Value City Arena, dating back to last season. The Buckeyes’ last loss in Columbus came Jan. 24, 2004, when Michigan State completed a two-game sweep of Ohio State with a 3-0 win.

Posting Points in VCA
Ohio State has outscored its opponents, 5.6 to 1.2 goals a game, at home on the year. Freshman Tom Fritsche leads OSU with 11 assists and points in Value City Arena this season. Classmate Domenic Maiani has a team-best six goals and is second with nine points at home. Freshman goalie Ian Keserich has a 1.00 goals-against average and .959 save percentage in two games, while junior goalie Dave Caruso has a 1.33 gaa and a .952 save pct in three starts.

Away for Awhile
The games this weekend mark the Buckeyes’ last games in Value City Arena for over a month. The team will return to VCA when it plays host to Ferris State Jan. 7-8, 2005. Ohio State will play in Columbus in the span, however, as the team will compete in the inaugural Ohio Hockey Classic Dec. 29-30 at Nationwide Arena in downtown Columbus, home of the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets.

In the 12th Month
Since moving into Value City Arena in January 1999, OSU has played just six games in the rink in December, with a 5-1 record. The team beat Miami Dec. 5, 1999 before back-to-back seasons with no home games during the 12th month of the year. The squad played host to Miami and Nebraska-Omaha two consecutive weekends in December 2002, going 4-0. The Buckeyes lost their only home December game last season, falling to the RedHawks, 2-1.

Break It Down
The Buckeyes have scored just 11 goals in the first period this season, but have posted 20 in both the second and third periods. The team has allowed seven first-period goals, 14 in the middle stanza and 15 in the third.

Missing the Mark
The Buckeyes’ 0-1-1 weekend at Nebraska-Omaha marked the first time this season the squad failed to get at least two points in a CCHA series. The team has sweeps over Ferris State, Miami and Northern Michigan and split its series at Western Michigan.

Goal!
Freshman forward Tom Fritsche scored vs. Nebraska-Omaha Nov. 20, marking the first goal of his career. He leads the Buckeyes with 16 points on the year and had posted 15 assists before lighting the lamp himself.

Chipping In
Freshman defenseman Jason DeSantis also scored his first goal as a Buckeye at UNO Nov. 20, as his unassisted shorthanded goal tied the game at 4 in the third period. He added an assist vs. the Mavericks for his first career multiple-point game.

Get Shorty
Ohio State now has five shorthanded goals in 14 games this season. The team ended last year with eight in 42 games. Five players have scored with the Buckeyes a man down – Dan Knapp, Matt Beaudoin, Matt McIlvane, Jason DeSantis and Lee Spector. The shorthanded goal was the first career shg for all five Buckeyes.

Stopping the Shots
The Buckeyes held Nebraska-Omaha to just one shot in the third period Nov. 20, an opponent low this season. The previous low had been three by Sacred Heart in the second period Nov. 5. OSU is allowing 26.6 shots a game this year, while recording 31.2.

On the Power Play
After going 0-for-6 on the power play in the first game at Nebraska-Omaha, the Buckeyes converted 3-of-8 chances in game two. It was the third time this season the team scored three power-play goals in a game. The team set a season best with five power-play tallies vs. Sacred Heart Nov. 6. In its last four games, OSU has converted 21.4 (6/28) of its power-play chances.

Lighting the Lamp
Junior Rod Pelley scored on the power play at Nebraska-Omaha, his first power-play goal in five games. He leads the team and is tied for third in the nation with seven power-play scores this season. Pelley is first for the Buckeyes with nine goals this season, one shy of his career best of 10 set last year.

Blanked
The 4-0 loss at Nebraska-Omaha Nov. 19 marked the first time this season Ohio State was shut out. It is the first time the team was shut out since the season-ending 1-0 overtime loss to Wisconsin in the NCAA tournament last season (March 26, 2004).

Stopped
Freshman Domenic Maiani’s scoring streak, with 6-8-14 totals, was ended at eight in the shutout loss at UNO Nov. 19. It was the second-longest streak on the team this season, behind only Dan Knapp’s nine-game point streak Oct. 10-Nov. 6.

In the Ranks
Buckeye freshman Tom Fritsche was ranked 17th in the National Hockey League’s Central Scouting Service preliminary rankings of U.S. college skaters. He is one of 10 CCHA players ranked on the list, behind only the 11 Hockey East players. CCHA players hold down three of the top four spots, with Michigan’s T.J. Hensick at No. 2, Bowling Green’s Jonathan Sigalet at No. 3 and Miami’s Nate Davis at No. 4.

A Balanced Attack
Through 14 games this season, five Buckeyes have 13 or more points, with a senior, two juniors and two freshmen leading the way. Tom Fritsche (1-15-16), Domenic Maiani (6-8-14), Rod Pelley (9-5-14), Dan Knapp (5-9-14) and JB Bittner (6-7-13) are leading the team so far this season.

In all, 19 Buckeyes have at least one point on the year, while 18 have at least one goal.

Rookies Ranked
Freshman Tom Fritsche is tied for fourth in the nation in assists per game (1.07) and his 15 assists are tied for the national lead.

Fritsche is third in the nation in points per game among rookies (1.14), while classmate Domenic Maiani is tied for fourth among the nation’s freshmen with 1.00 points a contest.

Winners
In the Buckeyes’ nine wins this season, a different player has recorded the game-winning goal in each contest. In 26 wins last season, 11 Buckeyes had at least one game-winning goal.

Seeing Stars
A different Buckeye has been the first star of the game in every conference win this season and only three Buckeyes have been named a “Perani Cup Star of the Game” more than once. Leading the way with first-star honors has been Rod Pelley, Matt Beaudoin, Lee Spector, Matt Waddell and JB Bittner, Sam Campbell and Dave Caruso. Pelley, Caruso and Spector are the only multiple honorees.

Up Next The Buckeyes close out the first part of their season with a two-game series at Clarkson. The Buckeyes and Golden Knights will meet at 7 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Dec. 10-11.

Ohio Hockey Classic Time Changes
The gametimes for the Dec. 29 games in the Ohio Hockey Classic at Nationwide Arena in Columbus have been changed. OSU and Minnesota State will now face off in the early game at 5:05 p.m., followed by the Miami-Colorado College matchup at 8:05 p.m. The times for the Dec. 30 contests remain the same.

On the Air
Ohio State will appear on both national and local television this season. The following is the schedule as of Dec. 1.

OSU’s 2004-05 Television Schedule Oct. 9 New Hampshire NH Public TV Dec. 4 Alaska Fairbanks Sport! TV Dec. 29 Minnesota State ONN Dec. 30 Colorado College ONN Jan. 7 Ferris State CSTV Jan. 22 Michigan CSTV 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 Nov. 30, Dec. 21, Dec. 28, Jan. 4, 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.