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Oct. 28, 2004

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s ice hockey team faces the North Dakota Fighting Sioux at 8:05 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, N.D.

Best Season Start
With a 4-2-0 record, the Buckeyes hold their best start in program history. Six games in last year OSU was 1-5-0.

Scouting North Dakota
The Fighting Sioux are 1-5-0 overall in their third season as a Division I program and first year in the WCHA. North Dakota has been swept by Minnesota and Minnesota-Duluth and split with St. Cloud State this season.

Leading UND are freshman Melissa Dianoksi and sophomore Alexia Gagnon Laplante with three points each. Dianoksi was named WCHA Rookie of the Week for leading North Dakota to its first WCHA win in program history last weekend against St. Coud State. Twelve Fighting Sioux have recorded points this season.

In net for UND is junior Amber Hasbargen, who has posted 123 saves for a .854 save percentage and a 4.79 goals-against average.

Fighting Sioux Head Coach
Shantel Rivard is in her third season as head coach of the Fighting Sioux. She has compiled a 26-28-2 record in two seasons, including a program-best 16-14-2 mark in 2003-04. Prior to UND, Rivard served as an assistant coach at Maine for five years.

Buckeyes vs. Fighting Sioux
The Buckeyes and Fighting Sioux will be meeting for the first time.

Ohio State at the Ralph
OSU is 1-2-0 in Ralph Engelstad Arena, previously competing at the 2003 WCHA Final Five in the arena. Ohio State defeated Bemidij State in the first round, before falling to Minnesota-Duluth and Wisconsin.

Buckeyes vs. WCHA
Ohio State holds a 47-64-14 record against WCHA teams. The Buckeyes are in their sixth season as a member of the league.

Last Time Out
Ohio State garnered two conference points as it split a home series against then-No. 4 Wisconsin last weekend. The Buckeyes fell 2-0 Friday and came back to upset the Badgers 3-1 Saturday. Ohio State has split its first series of the season against Wisconsin for two consecutive years.

The Ohio State victory Saturday marked the Buckeyes’ third win and first home win over Wisconsin in the five-year history of the program. OSU now is 3-17-5 overall and 1-8-3 in Columbus.

OSU vs. Ranked Opponents
With the win Saturday, Ohio State earned its first upset over a ranked opponent this season. The Buckeyes are 1-1-0 vs. ranked teams after falling to Wisconsin in game one of the series last weekend. In the 2003-04 season, OSU defeated three teams ranked in the national polls.

Two Players Earn Weekly Honors
Tessa Bonhomme and Jeni Creary each earned weekly honors for their performances in the Buckeyes’ split with then-No. 4 Wisconsin last weekend.

Bonhomme led the Buckeye defensive unit in shutting down Wisconsin’s offense, which is the second highest scoring team in the nation, in Ohio State’s 3-1 victory Saturday. Bonhomme was on the ice for all three Buckeye goals and assisted on a goal by teammate Jeni Creary early in the second period to tie the game at 1-all. Bonhomme played a key part in OSU’s penalty kill, which held Wisconsin, whose power play is ranked second in the nation, scoreless on 9-of-10 power-play chances on the weekend. In the win Saturday, the Buckeyes stopped the Badgers on all five opportunities.

Senior Jeni Creary was named the WCHA Offensive Player of the Week. Creary scored two goals in Ohio State’s come-from-behind 3-1 victory over then-No. 4 Wisconsin Saturday. Creary’s power-play goal tied the game at 1-all early in the second period. The senior capped off the win with an empty net goal in the third period.

In addition to her two goals, Creary played a vital role on the Buckeye power play, which posted its best performance all season, scoring on 2-of-4 opportunities.

Buckeyes Ranked in the Nation
Individually, xxx Buckeyes are ranked in the Top 25 this season. Senior Jeni Creary is tied for ninth in the nation averaging 1.00 goals per game. The forward also is tied for first with two game-winning goals and tied for seventh with three power play goals this season.

Junior Jana Harrigan is tied for 24th averaging .83 assists per game.

Goalie Erika Vanderveer is fifth in the nation with a .952 save percentage and eighth in the nation with a 1.34 goals-against average.

Goalie Melissa Glaser is not far behind ranked tied for seventh with a .934 save percentage and 11th with a 1.69 goals-against average.

Points All Around
Ten Buckeyes have tallied points six games into the season. Four of the 10 are rookies – Mallory Peckels (0-3-3), Jody Heywood (1-1-2), Shelby Aldous (1-0-1) and Erin Keys (0-1-1).

Sophomore Sensation
Ohio State sophomore goalie Erika Vanderveer guided Ohio State to its first victory over Wisconsin in Columbus when the Buckeyes upset the fourth-ranked Badgers 3-1 Saturday. The Bradford, Ontario, native recorded a season-high 34 saves Saturday in route to her third consecutive victory this season. The 34 saves were just three shy of her career record (37) set Feb. 21, 2004 vs. Minnesota State. In three games in net this season, Vanderveer has compiled a 1.34 goals-against average and a .952 save percentage.

Buckeye Special teams
The Buckeye special teams posted their best performance of the season Saturday vs. Wisconsin. The penalty-killing unit held Wisconsin scoreless on all five power plays. OSU’s power play was 2-for-4 against the Badgers. Six games into the season, Ohio State has capitalized on 7-of-38 power plays and stopped its opponents on 25-of-29 chances.

Top Rookie
Defenseman Mallory Peckels led the Buckeye rookie class in a home series split against fourth-ranked Wisconsin last weekend. Peckels, a native of Minocqua, Wis., assisted on OSU’s final goal to secure the Buckeyes’ 3-1 come-from-behind victory Saturday. Peckels also played a key role in Ohio State’s power play, which posted their best performance all season, scoring on 2-of-4 opportunities. This season, Peckels is tied for fifth on the team and leads the freshman class with three assists.

Leading The Pack
Senior Jeni Creary and junior Jana Harrigan are tied for first on the team with six points each. Creary leads the Buckeyes with six goals, while Harrigan has recorded one goal and five assists.

Not far behind with four points each are sophomores Amber Bowman and Tessa Bonhomme. Bowman has two goals and two assists in six games, while Bonhomme has posted four helpers in four games this season.

+- Leader
Freshman Mallory Peckels from Minocqua, Wis., leads Ohio State with a +4 rating. Six other Buckeyes have at least a +1 rating.

Five-of-Six
Junior Jana Harrigan has tallied points in five-of-six games this season, including a multiple-point game (1-1-2) Oct. 16, 2004 at Minnesota State.

Difference Maker
Since returning to the Buckeye lineup after competing in the Canadian Thanksgiving Festival, sophomore defenseman Tessa Bonhomme has had a hand in four goals in four games.

International Contender
Defenseman Tessa Bonhomme was one of 20 players selected to represent Canada in the 2004 Four Nations Cup Nov. 10-14 in Lake Placid, N.Y., and Burlington, Vt. Bonhomme is the first Buckeye to be selected to compete for the Canadian National Team and the second Ohio State player to participate in the round-robin tournament. Former Buckeye Emma Laaksonen (2001-04) competed for Finland in the Four Nations Cup all four years of her Ohio State career.

The Canadian roster announcement follows the seven-day Team Canada Thanksgiving Festival Oct. 4-10 in Kitchener, Ontario, and represents the first step in an ongoing evaluation process for Canada’s National Women’s Team leading to the 2006 Winter Olympic Games.

OSU’s Bonhomme made her presence felt at the Canada Thanksgiving Festival, scoring one goal and assisting on four. Bonhomme led her team (Canada White) to the gold medal as she recorded a goal and a helper to earn player of the game honors in the title game.

Stingy Defense
Ohio State’s defense is holding opponents to just 1.5 goals per game. This season Ohio State has allowed nine goals in six games.

Keep Them Coming
Last season, Jeni Creary made her mark in the OSU record books as she became the first Buckeye to reach 100 career points. Creary concluded her junior year with two goals and an assist in the WCHA Final Five to move her career point total to 101, breaking the OSU record of 98 set by Shana Frost (1999-03).

This season, Creary has recorded six points to improve her career mark to 107 points (63-44).

WCHA Coaches’ Poll
The WCHA released its annual Preseason Coaches Poll and Players of the Year Oct. 7. Ohio State was ranked fourth with 50 points. Minnesota, the defending WCHA and NCAA champion, was selected first for the second straight year with 70 points. Wisconsin was picked second, receiving 64 points and one first place vote. Minnesota-Duluth was ranked third with 58 points.

New to the Bunch
Ohio State added nine freshmen to the team this season, marking the biggest rookie class since the inaugural season when 18 freshmen joined the team.

The Buckeye Returnees
The Buckeyes boast 14 returning players, including seven forwards, five defensemen and two goaltenders, to lead the charge in the upcoming campaign. Among the group are five seniors who will be looked upon to guide the squad to a winning season, including second-year captain Meaghan Mulvaney and alternate captains Melissa Glaser and Jeni Creary.

“We are going to have good chemistry this year,” head coach Jackie Barto, who has been with the program since its inception, said. “I am really excited about the student-athletes and the way they are coming together. Not only just our captain and alternate captains, but our senior class is dedicated to the success of the program. They are very good leaders who are going to lead from the top down.”

Addition to The Program
New to the Ohio State program this season is assistant coach Katie Lachapelle. She comes to OSU from Niagara where she served as an assistant women’s ice hockey coach. The Purple Eagles recorded a 49-49-8 record during her three-year stint and made an appearance in the 2002 NCAA Frozen Four. She was involved in all facets of the Niagara program including recruiting, coordinating team travel, monitoring academics and coaching the forwards.

Prior to Niagara, Lachapelle was an assistant coach at Union College for two years. A native of Lewiston, Maine, Lachapelle graduated from Providence in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in social science.

2003-04 Season Recap
Ohio State ended the 2003-04 season with a fourth-place finish in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association regular season and tournament. The season marked another successful year as the Buckeyes went 16-16-3 overall and finished 10-12-2 in league play.

The Buckeyes also set three program records. For the first time Ohio State went on a nine-game unbeaten streak (Nov. 14-Jan. 3). During that time OSU had a seven-game winning streak, from Nov. 14-Dec. 12, breaking the six-game streak in the 2000-01 season. The Buckeyes also won five consecutive conference games, breaking the previous record of four from the 2001-02 season.

The Schedule
Ohio State plays 18 games, 10 home and eight on the road, before heading into the holiday break.

The Buckeyes open January with three home series before entering their toughest part of the season, during which they will compete four consecutive weekends on the road. OSU concludes the regular season at home vs. Minnesota State Feb. 25-26. The Buckeyes play every WCHA team four times during the season, with a two-game series on the road and a two-game series at home.

Ohio State will face three nonconference opponents this year, including Northeastern, who the Buckeyes went 1-0-1 against last season, Nov. 13-14 in Columbus, Ohio. The Yale Bulldogs travel to the state of Ohio to face the Buckeyes in only the second meeting between the teams; their first meeting was Nov. 27, 1999 at a Providence tournament. Ohio State will make its first trek to Niagara Falls, N.Y., at the end of the season. Last year marked the first meeting between the two teams, when the Buckeyes swept the Purples Eagles in Columbus.

The WCHA has expanded to an eight-team championship this season, which will be held March 3-7 at Ridder Arena, the site of the 2005 WCHA Final Five, in Minneapolis, Minn. The NCAA expanded its tournament to eight teams, adding regional games which will be held at campus sites March 18-20. The 2005 NCAA Frozen Four will be held March 25 and 27 at the Whittemore Center in Durham, N.H.

USCHO.com Game of the Week
Beginning in November, USCHO.com will present the first-ever national game of the week internet broadcast for women’s hockey. Fans will be able to access the live game feeds through the broadcast schedule at www.uscho.com/women.

Two Ohio State games are included in the 21 regular-season schedule, which spreads across the four Division I conferences.

On the Radio
Ohio State will appear on the internet seven times this season between USCHO.com and The Underground. The following is the broadcast schedule as of Oct. 20:

Ohio State 2004-05 Radio Broadcast Schedule Oct. 8 St. Cloud State The Underground Oct. 22 Wisconsin The Underground Jan. 8 Minnesota-Duluth USCHO.com Jan. 14 Yale The Underground Jan. 15 Yale The Underground Jan. 22 Minnesota USCHO.com Feb. 25 Minnesota State The Underground

Up Next for the Buckeyes
Ohio State takes on 2004 defending national champion No. 1 Minnesota at 1:05 p.m. Oct. 6-7 at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis, Minn. The game Oct. 7 will be televised live by Fox Sports Net North.

Live Stats and Web Information
New for the 2004-05 season, live stats from every Buckeye home game be found online at ohiostatebuckeyes.com.

Also, keep track of the latest women’s ice hockey news, scores and stats by logging on to the Ohio State athletics website at ohiostatebuckeyes.com. The website also will feature an “On the Road with the Buckeyes” each road trip by junior forward Cyrstal Sayther.