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Jan. 26, 2005

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Faceoff
The No. 9/10 Ohio State men’s hockey team (16-7-3, 13-4-1/2nd CCHA) plays host to Central Collegiate Hockey Association foe Western Michigan (10-11-1, 5-10-1/t-10th CCHA) for two games this weekend. The teams will meet at 7:05 p.m. Friday and Saturday in Value City Arena in Columbus.

The Broadcast
The Buckeyes’ games vs. Western Michigan will be broadcast by WOSU Radio (820 AM/wosu.org) with Neil Sika (play-by-play) and former Buckeye John Mowat (analysis) on the call.

The Underground, OSU’s student-run radio station, will broadcast the games online at www.underground.fm/sports.

Live stats from the games 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 games 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, the BMX Stunt Team will perform on ice for the first time anywhere. Saturday is Youth Jersey Night; all children in eighth grade and younger wearing a youth hockey 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.

Last Time Out
Ohio State split a two-game series at home against Michigan last weekend, winning game one, 4-1, before losing, 6-3, in the second game.

Western Michigan had last weekend off and split a home-and-home series with Michigan State Jan. 14-15, winning at home, 5-4, before losing 3-1 on the road in game two.

In the League
Ohio State stands in second place in the CCHA with 27 points, five points behind first-place Michigan. The Buckeyes have a four-point lead on third-place Northern Michigan and are five points ahead of fifth-place Nebraska-Omaha and have two games in hand on the Mavericks.

Western Michigan is tied with Ferris State for 10th place with 11 points, five points out of sixth place and the last home-ice spot in the first round of the playoffs.

The League Slate
In addition to the Ohio State-Western Michigan matchup, there are four other CCHA series on tap this weekend. Notre Dame and Bowling Green have a home-and-home series, Miami travels to Ferris State, Lake Superior will make the trek to Alaska Fairbanks and Michigan plays host to Northern Michigan.

The Series
The Buckeyes trail the all-time series with the Broncos, 53-58-8. The teams split a two-game series Oct. 29-30 in Kalamazoo. The Broncos won 6-3 in game one before OSU responded for a 5-2 victory in the second game. OSU is 8-2 in the last 10 meetings vs. the Broncos.

The Series in Columbus
In Columbus, Ohio State has a one-game lead over the Broncos, 29-28-4. The teams last met in Value City Arena Feb. 7-8, 2003, with OSU sweeping the games (3-2 OT, 3-2).

Against the Broncos
Buckeye senior JB Bittner has a team-best four goals, five assists and nine points in eight games against WMU. No other Buckeye has more than three points vs. WMU.

A Look at the Broncos
Western Michigan is coming off a bye week. In the team’s last time out, the squad split a home-and-home series with Michigan State. WMU won at home, 5-4, Jan. 14 before falling on the road, 3-1, Jan. 15.

The Broncos are 10-11-1 this season and have a 5-10-1 ledger in CCHA play to tie for 10th place. WMU is 2-7 on the road this season.

As a team, the Broncos are averaging 3.3 goals a game, while allowing 3.6. The squad has converted 22.9 percent of its power-play chances and has stopped 85 percent of its opponents’ opportunities. The squad is 11-for-23 (47.8 percent) on the power play in the last five games.

Individually, Brent Walton leads the Broncos and is among the CCHA leaders with 36 points, including a team-best 16 goals. Paul Szczechura is first on the team with 21 assists and second in points with 26. Vince Bellissimo also has eclipsed the 20-point mark with nine goals and 13 assists, while Mike Erickson has 20 points, ranking second on the team with 10 goals. In net, freshman Daniel Bellissimo has played in 21 games, with a 3.28 goals-against average and .908 save percentage.

A Cluster
Ohio State and Western Michigan are in the same CCHA scheduling cluster this season, joined by Miami and Ferris State. OSU was 4-8 in cluster play last year, but enters this weekend 6-2 and in first place in this year’s cluster.

Cluster Standings Team GP W L T Pts. 1. OHIO STATE 8 6 2 0 12 2. Ferris State 8 3 4 1 7 3. Western Mich. 6 3 3 0 6 4. Miami 6 1 4 1 3

A Look Back
Ohio State and Western Michigan split a two-game series Oct. 29-30, 2004, in Kalamazoo, Mich. The Broncos came back to win 6-3 in the opener and OSU posted a comeback of its own in game two for a 5-2 victory.

In the opener, Rod Pelley put the Buckeyes on the board 11:59 into the game with an unassisted tally. In the second period, Vince Bellissimo scored both a power-play and a shorthanded goal for WMU to give the Broncos a 2-1 lead at 9:48. OSU senior JB Bittner tied the game at 14:20 before the Broncos broke the game open in the third. The Buckeyes’ Johann Kroll scored his first career goal just 1:04 in before the Broncos tied the game at 3 with a power-play goal by Brent Walton at 7:39. WMU then took its first lead of the game (4-3) when Jeff Pierce scored at 10:46. Brian Bicek made the score 5-3 with a goal at 13:47. V. Bellissimo ended the scoring with an empty-net goal. The Buckeyes were outshot in the game, 32-28. Ohio State was held scoreless on eight power-play chances and WMU went 2-for-8.

In the second game, Ohio State scored two power-play goals in 48 seconds in the third period to come back from a goal down and defeat Western Michigan. In the first, Knapp got the Buckeyes on the board at 16:36. The Broncos tied the game with a Brent Walton goal with 1:04 remaining in the second period. WMU went ahead, 2-1, on a Pat Dwyer power-play goal at 10:09 of the third. Ohio State then scored two power-play goals in 48 seconds to tie the game and take a 3-2 lead. Matt Beaudoin scored at 12:55 with OSU on a 5-on-3 advantage. Bittner then scored on the power play at 13:43. OSU sealed the win with two empty-net goals. Bryce Anderson scored at 19:32 and John Dingle ended the scoring with .3 left on the clock. OSU was 2-for-8 on the power play in the game and WMU went 1-for-9.

Last Week vs. U-M
Ohio State, in second place in the CCHA, split a two-game series with first-place Michigan last weekend in Value City Arena.

Ohio State 4, Michigan 1
Ohio State converted 4-of-7 power-play chances and stopped 8-of-9 Michigan opportunities to down the Wolverines, 4-1, Jan. 21 in front of 14,777 fans in Value City Arena.

Ohio State opened the scoring at 7:07 of the first period when Dan Knapp scored on the power play. The Wolverines tied the game at 12:20 with a power-play goal of their own, but Matt Beaudoin regained the Buckeye lead at 16:52 with a 5-on-3 power-play marker.

There was no scoring in the second period, as OSU stopped the Wolverines on all three power-play chances. Rod Pelley scored just 1:37 into the third period to give OSU a two-goal lead (3-1). Kyle Hood ended the scoring with a power-play tally at 10:28.

Michigan 6, Ohio State 3
Michigan exploded for five goals in the second period and Ohio State’s third-period comeback fell short as the Wolverines downed the Buckeyes, 6-3, Jan. 22 in front of 12,391 fans.

There was no scoring in the first period, as Michigan outshot Ohio State, 7-5. The Wolverines got on the board with a power-play goal by Chad Kolarik at 4:59 and Jeff Tambellini made the score 2-0 with a goal 16 seconds later. Jason Ryznar added a goal at 9:52, followed by another Kolarik goal (12:12) and Eric Werner’s score at 17:00.

The Buckeyes then attempted a comeback. Matt Beaudoin got Ohio State on the board with a power-play goal at 4:44 before Rod Pelley scored back-to-back goals (5-on-5 at 7:32 and 4-on-4 at 12:37) to cut the U-M lead to 5-3. The Buckeyes kept the pressure on, pulling goalie Ian Keserich for the extra attacker with 2:30 remaining, but the Wolverines closed out the scoring with an empty-net goal by T.J. Hensick with 12 seconds remaining.

Lighting the Lamp
Junior forward Rod Pelley had three goals in the series with Michigan and now is tied for the CCHA lead with a career-best 16 goals (including a league-best 10 power-play markers to tie for third in the nation). He is leading OSU in scoring with a career-high 27 points and extended his scoring streak to six (5-2-7). Pelley is ninth in the CCHA in conference games with 20 points and is tied for eighth in the league overall.

Watching the Buckeyes
The actual attendance of 14,777 against Michigan Jan. 21 was the fourth highest in Value City Arena history. Since the arena opened for hockey in January 1999, the four biggest crowds all have watched Ohio State take on Michigan, including an NCAA indoor, on-campus record 17,343 Jan. 21, 2000. The arena opened for hockey in January 1999.

Both games were sold out prior to the weekend, marking a first for the program in arena history.

On the Defensive
After allowing just one goal in three consecutive games (at Notre Dame Jan. 14-15, vs. Michigan Jan. 21), the six goals scored by Michigan Jan. 22 were the most scored against Ohio State since Western Michigan scored six Oct. 29, 2004. It was the first time a team scored six goals against OSU in Value City Arena since exactly three years earlier, when Yale recorded a 6-2 win Jan. 22, 2002.

The Buckeyes are tied for ninth in the country and are second in the CCHA in team defense, allowing 2.35 goals a game.

A Team Effort
Sophomore Tyson Strachan’s assist on Rod Pelley’s first goal vs. the Wolverines Jan. 22 marked his first point of the season. Every Buckeye who has played in more than six games this season has at least a point, including goalie Dave Caruso. Nineteen Buckeyes have scored a goal, with 11 scoring on the power play, six tallying a shorthanded goal and 12 recording at least one gamewinner.

On the Power Play
Ohio State converted 5-of-13 (38.5 percent) power-play chances in the series vs. Michigan, including a 4-for-7 performance Jan. 21. The four ppg scored by the Buckeyes marked the second time this season the team has scored at least four power-play tallies, as OSU was 5-for-6 against Sacred Heart Nov. 6.

The Buckeyes are 10th in the nation in power-play percentage, converting 21.1 percent of their chances. The squad has 41 power-play goals on the year after posting 35 in 42 games last season.

On the Offensive
Ohio State ranks 10th in the nation and second in the CCHA in team offense, averaging 3.42 goals a game. The team has scored at least three goals in the last four games and in 17 of 26 games on the year. This season, OSU is undefeated 11-0-1 when scoring four or more goals (4-0-1 when scoring four times), 2-2-1 when scoring three times and 3-1-1 when scoring twice. The squad is winless (0-4) when held to one or less goals.

On a Hot Streak
Sophomore forward Matt Beaudoin had a power-play goal in each game against Michigan and now has a career-best 11 goals (to rank second for the Buckeyes) and 18 points on the year. He has six goals and three assists for nine points in his last eight games.

In the Record Books
Junior goalie Dave Caruso’s win against Michigan Jan. 21 was the 28th of his career, tying him with Mike Bales (1990-92) for 10th in OSU history. Caruso is five wins behind ninth-place Todd Fanning (1987-90).

Rolling 13
Sophomore Bryce Anderson extended his point streak to five with an assist in each game against Michigan. He has six goals and five assists on the year to match the 11 point total he recorded last season.

A Helpful Captain
Buckeye senior captain JB Bittner had a career-high tying two assists Jan. 22 against Michigan. It marked his third two-assist game of the season (Oct. 30 at Western Michigan, Nov. 20 at UNO) and the sixth of his career. Bittner has tied his career best with 10 assists this season.

Against the Ranked
After splitting the 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

Scoring from the Blueline
With two assists against the Wolverines Jan. 21, sophomore defenseman Sean Collins had his second consecutive two-point game after posting a goal and an assist in OSU’s win at Notre Dame Jan. 15. The game vs. the Wolverines marked his third game this season with two or more assists. He is tied for 14th in the nation among defensemen with .76 points a game and ranks second in the CCHA overall, as he leads the Buckeye blueliners with a career-best 19 points this season.

Up Next
Ohio State hits the road for two games at Lake Superior State. The Buckeyes and Lakers will meet at 7:35 p.m. Feb. 4 and at 7:05 p.m. Feb. 5 in Taffy Abel Arena in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.

The Buckeyes then return home for a two-game series with instate rival Bowling Green. The teams will face off at 7:05 p.m. Feb. 11-12. The Feb. 11 game is Buck A Brat Night, with Johnsonville Brats available for $1 (while supplies last). Feb. 12, Frozen Four packs, which include four tickets, four hot dogs, four sodas and four popcorns for $40 are available. It will be Boy Scout Night; visit the men’s hockey page at ohiostatebuckeyes.com for the order form. Postgame, an autograph session with Buckeye juniors Dave Caruso and Rod Pelley will be held.

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. 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, is now 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 Feb. 1, Feb. 8, March 1 and March 8. Fans are welcome to call in (614-821-1460) with questions for Markell.