On the Road with Dave Steckel
The Buckeye junior recaps the squad’s trip to Detroit for the CCHA Super Six
| Junior Forward
Wednesday, March 19
At 12:30 p.m. we started practice for those who were present. Apparently, 6 guy’s wrote exams at 11:30, causing “official practice” to start around 1 p.m. Rumor is “Franky Fathead”, aka Rod Pelley, took an hour and some change to finish a Yiddish exam, causing the others to be late with him. I also heard JB Bittner slicked back his hair, talked to some sorority girls, wrote his name on a piece of paper and walked out of the room.
We departed the Schott around 2:30 p.m.; the freshmen still haven’t mastered the concept of packing the bus because half the luggage was placed above with us. I’d like to make note that Ryan Kesler might have upgraded to senior status throughout the year; he didn’t touch a bag while observing his colleagues.
On the bus, we watched 8 Mile, Eminem’s new movie. It was very enjoyable to hassle Bittner about this, since he is a huge fan. By the 30-minute mark we began calling Bittner B-Rabbit. I am pretty sure the nickname will stick for a while.
At about 6:15 we checked into the hotel and ate team dinner. We then went to the CCHA Awards Banquet at 8:00, where R.J. (Umberger), Scott Titus and Mike Betz won awards.
Thursday, March 20
Guys woke up about 8 a.m. if they wanted to skate. The rest of us got up at 9:15. We ate breakfast and took a walk to loosen our legs up. Most guys then took naps until pregame meal.
At 2 p.m. we left for the game vs. Notre Dame. After the game (a 3-2 OSU win) we came back to the hotel, ate and relaxed. Most of us watched tv, while others visited with family.
Friday, March 21
We woke up at 9:15 to eat breakfast. There Scott May tried to take tickets for the game away from guys. In my opinion, just typical Scott May complaints.
Guys then went to skate/walk. At 2:30 p.m. we ate pregame meal and got ready to face the team up North.
After the game (a 3-0 OSU loss), we went back and ate a meal, then went to bed.
Saturday, March 22
We got to sleep in late (until 10:15). Then we went to pregame meal at 11:30. Most guys took naps following the meal to get ready for Northern.
After the game (a 4-1 OSU loss), we packed and bussed back to Columbus.
On the Road with Daymen Bencharski
The Buckeye junior recaps the team’s trip to Northern Michigan
| Junior Forward
Wednesday, Feb. 26
3 p.m. – We arrive at the Schott and watch our all-star freshman class load the Lakefront limo for the trip.
6 p.m. – We stop at Outback Steakhouse in Findlay. As usual, we bust the waitresses’ chops (all in good fun). Chris Olsgard gets hounded by the boys for his bag of goodies from the lil’ lady. Bitter Paul Cappy tries to bring him down to his own miserable level, because he’s jealous of course, but it’s all good!
6:30 p.m.- On the way to Gaylord (Mich.). The same ‘ol bus stuff is going on: some cards, guys reading and of course the movies are playing. At this moment, JB Bittner is trying to get me to pump his tires on paper, but in reality the coolest thing about him is me being his roommate. He is going to love this.
Thursday, Feb. 27
8:06 a.m. – JB gets naked.
8:07 a.m. – Daymen is disgusted with his 12 year-old form.
8:14 a.m. – JB checks the team’s oil; Andress likes it.
8:15 a.m. – Daymen still looks better than T.J. with his shorts off. He tries to crack on my tattoo but I know the ladies love it.
10:30 a.m. – We have a healthy meal at Bob Evans. Reed shoe checks an unappreciative T.J. Latorre. They bicker back and fourth and Reed challenges him to a physical duel. The team laughs at him.
11:30 a.m. – Nate gets lippy with Scotty May. As usual, May knows his place in life and backs down. We are leaving Gaylord off to Marquette. Three or four hours to go. I have to get back to the movie.
Noon – Drive, drive, drive, drive and drive a little more.
3:30 p.m. – Finally, we arrive. Rod starts talking nonsense about how it reminds him of Trail, British Columbia. I think he is homesick or Earl is backpedaling, one of the two.
4:30 p.m. – May weasels around looking for scraps from everyone’s lunch but is denied 50 percent of the time. Rod sets him straight from the throne.
5 p.m. – We get a brisk skate at Northern Michigan’s rink. The rink is nice but the ice is not the best.
6:30 p.m. – We go eat at an Italian restaurant. The boys are in awe of the waitress. The food was good. The steak looks like Rocky took a couple rounds out of it, but it’s tasty. The bread was hosed down with butter.
8:30 p.m. – Back at the hotel and its time to talk to the girlfriends. Everyone is looking for a way to call since we can’t get any service with Sprint.
10 p.m. – Rod and Daymen lay back in their penthouse with hockey on the TV and the Wildcats racing through their minds.
11 p.m. – Rod drinks a gallon of Gatorade and downs Earl. Poor Earl.
Friday, Feb. 28
9:15 a.m. – Wake up and get ready for breakfast. After we all sit down and eat, we have the choice of whether or not to go for a pre-game skate. Rod (my roommate) and I decide to chill in room 507 until the 1:45 meeting before our pregame meal.
12:30 p.m. – Nate and I go for a walk in beautiful downtown Marquette. We hit all the hot spots. We go to the gas/convenience station for some goodies. We also hit up the lovely boutique and the hockey/golf shop.
5 p.m. – Leave for the rink.
7:05 p.m. – Game time.
10 p.m. – Disappointed. The game doesn’t go as planned. We basically found a way to beat ourselves. The sad thing is that it’s kind of turning into a habit for us in the past four games. Rod and I are going to chill in 507 and get our minds off the game. We are going to focus on tomorrow. A MUST WIN AT ALL COSTS GAME!!
Saturday, March 1
9:15 a.m. – Wake up and get ready for breakfast.
11 a.m. – We have personal meetings with our three coaches.
3 p.m. – Rod and I bummed around in 507 and watched Team Alberta (my home province) hang a woopin’ on Team Quebec in the Canadian Games. Alberta wins gold while BC plays for the bronze. Sorry, Rod and Scott (BC boys).
4:45 p.m. – Getting ready to hit the bus for tonight’s contest against NMU. I’ve got a good feeling about tonight.
10:30 p.m. – About flippin’ time. The Bucks play ol’ time hockey. We played with heart tonight and tamed the Wildcats. Everyone pulled together and played as the team we have been talking about being. We had a 4-1 victory and regained some of the swagger we need to take into next weekend against Michigan. It’s definitely times like this that I’m proud to be a Buckeye. Back on the bus, we are ready to get this 10 hour trip over with. Same old bus stuff going on. Being a great scholar, I’m hitting the books getting ready for a 9 a.m. midterm Monday. I am getting the studying over with some I can enjoy some company tomorrow.
Well, that’s the weekend through the eyes of Daymen Bencharski. Later.
On the Road with Luke Pavlas
The Buckeye senior recaps the squad’s trip to Notre Dame
| Senior Forward
Thursday, Jan. 30
We have to start with the bus trip to South Bend. How about the bus driver getting pulled over an hour into the trip – nice job bussie.
We get the pleasure of eating at the Home Town Buffet. Fletch (Miguel Lafleche) don’t eat too much – you’re already fat.
Can’t leave the Home Town Buffet without wishing a freshman happy birthday. This trip’s birthday boy – Hot Rod (Pelley). “Happy 19th birthday to Ohio State forward Rod Pelley” was broadcast over the intercom.
Friday, Jan. 31
Friday morning skate. The guys had the pleasure of watching the Ohio State fencing team in action. Go Bucks.
Friday night game. Can’t get much more exciting than a 3-3 tie with Dave Steckel scoring the tying goal with 4.7 seconds left. We’ll take the road tie.
Friday after the game we have a great meal.
Saturday, Feb. 1
Saturday morning – During breakfast, I learned from Dr. Stetson that the Space Shuttle Columbia had blown up in the skies over Texas. A terrible tragedy that we followed throughout the day. Our prayers go out to the shuttle crew and their families.
Saturday night – Good win, 2-0. Nice game by Mike Betz. Congratulations on the shutout.
Good bus ride home. Always is when you win.
Thanks from yours truly, Luke Pavlas. We will see you next trip.
On the Road with T.J. Latorre
The Buckeye senior recaps the team’s trip to face Nebraska-Omaha
| Senior Forward
Thursday, Jan. 23
7:45 a.m. – Wake up in panic, but soon remember my clock is 20 minutes fast.
8 a.m. – Arrive at the Schott. The team loads the bus and heads for Port Columbus.
8:30 a.m. – I enjoy the benefit of being a senior and I am in the front of the line to check in. However, security is just a fiasco. I think the security guard might have violated me.
9:30 a.m. – Dave Steckel and I embarrass Scott May and Chris Olsgard in a friendly game of euchre. Go figure two Americans beat two Canadians at a Canuck card game.
11 a.m. – Arrive in the best town in the world. Sweet home Chicago.
11:15 a.m. – I enjoy a tasty Chicago-style dog. The only way to make them.
Noon – May is still bitter about his euchre loss.
12:15 p.m. – Dave Caruso calls home to make sure his girlfriend and kids are ok.
12:30 p.m. – The flight to Omaha takes off. Half the plane is forced to move because of Kesler’s smell.
1:15 p.m. – Nate Guenin becomes so bored he acts like he’s studying, thinking it might impress the coaching staff. However, his book was upside down.
1:30 p.m. – Arrive in Omaha.
3 p.m. – The boys are happy. We have the best box lunch in four years. Turkey and bacon – what else could you ask for.
6:30 p.m. – Miguel Lafleche embarrasses himself in sticks and gloves at the end of practice.
7:15 p.m. – On the way to dinner Nate Guenin reveals he left his coat at home. Kelly Holowaty says, “What are you thinking – It’s colder than Regina (Saskatchewan, Holowaty’s hometown).”
9 p.m. – Back to the hotel for movies and magazines.
Friday, Jan. 24
9 a.m. – Wake up, comb hair (most of us). JB Bittner still thinks his hair is curly, when in fact it’s just bed hair. He doesn’t comb it.
11 a.m. – Pregame skate. I score 47 goals against Kelly Holowaty. I haven’t lost a three-puck game in 7 ľ years.
Noon – Back to the hotel. Unwind before pregame meal. Guys read, watch TV and take the ever-popular nap.
2 p.m. – Enjoy a dry piece of chicken and go over the game plan.
2:30-5:15 p.m. – Pregame preparations begin. Guys have their own routines/rituals.
5:15-10 – Pregame and Game. (Lose 4-0).
10 p.m. – Postgame meal. The only thing worse than losing is eating hotel lasagna after a loss.
10:30 p.m. – Back to rooms. Lights out.
Saturday, Jan. 25
9 a.m. – I’m back in the lineup for the first time in nearly a year. I barely slept and am eager for breakfast. Others are icing minor injuries and trying to figure out what to do differently.
11 a.m. – Pregame skate.
2 p.m. – Pregame meal. Being a senior, I knew it would be chicken and pasta.
2:30 p.m. – Go over video from the night before.
5:15 p.m. – Go to the rink for the game. Hockey players are superstitious in their pregame rituals.
10 p.m. – The only thing worse than hotel lasagna is hotel lasagna after getting swept.
Sunday, Jan. 26
9 a.m. – To the airport for the trip home.
On the Road with R.J. Umberger
The Buckeye junior recaps the squad’s trip to his hometown of Pittsburgh to face Princeton
| Junior Forward
Thursday, Jan. 2
8:40 a.m. Players and support staff arrive at the Schott for another road trip.
9 a.m. Bus is loaded and the trip to Pittsburgh is underway.
9:30 a.m. The bus makes an unusual stop on the way at a Blockbuster video store. The videos are usually rented the day before the trip. Upon the seniors’ request, the coaches pick up the movies “XXX” and “The Count of Monte Cristo”.
As the bus continued back on its way, guys either watched “The Count of Monte Cristo”, read a magazine or book or drifted of for a little nap.
10:30 a.m. When we arrived in Zanesville, Ohio, it was time to pull over again. This time it was to satisfy the growling stomachs of all the players at the local Bob Evan’s restaurant.
The preordered meal consisted of eggs and ham with two pancakes. Mike Betz was the man of the hour as many Bob Evan’s employees and customers asked for an autograph from the goalie.
1 p.m. Finally the ride was over. All the players enjoyed the view through the Fort Pitt tunnels into the city.
1:15 p.m. We dropped the equipment off at the Mellon Arena.
1:30 p.m. We check in across the street at the Marriott. The coaches give us per diem to eat some lunch. About half the team, including the coaches, walks across the street to the Ruddy Duck restaurant.
2 p.m. Downtime in the hotel.
4:30 p.m. We meet in the hotel lobby to walk to the arena. Once there the guys sit and watch Princeton practice before our practice.
5:30-6:30 p.m. Our typical Thursday practice is in full routine. The players skate to loosen up the legs while executing our forecheck and neutral zone regroup.
7 p.m. After practice we walked down the street to Caf© 5th Avenue for dinner. We had one less fat kid at this meal since Doug Andress’ stomach hurt and he couldn’t eat much.
8 p.m. We walked back to the hotel.
9 p.m. In rooms.
10 p.m. Lights out.
Friday, Jan. 3
7:45 a.m. The annoying ring of the phone wakes us up early for breakfast.
8:30 a.m. Pregame skate was optional. Many players went back to bed, including myself.
12:15 p.m. Pregame meal. After the meal the coaches give us a pregame talk.
1 p.m. The players prepared for the game by doing their personal rituals of sleeping, stretching or watching TV.
3 p.m. We walk to Mellon Arena for the game.
3:15-4:15 p.m. Prepare sticks, stretch and get dressed for the game.
4:30 p.m. Warm-ups.
5 p.m. Game time. This was a different type of game than normal. We’re playing a neutral site game in Pittsburgh against Princeton. This was a very special opportunity for Mike Betz, JB Bittner, Nate Guenin and myself as we got to play in front of our home crowd in the arena the Pittsburgh Penguins play in. A surprisingly large crowd of over 5,000 fans showed up to see OSU win, 4-1.
Postgame As a team, we walked over to the Marriott hotel. We changed into casual clothes and got ready for the main event of the night – OSU vs. Miami for the football national championship. The coaches had rented a banquet room for the team and family members to watch the game.
Midnight – The Buckeyes defeat Miami in double overtime to become national champs.
Saturday, Jan. 4
9 a.m. Wake up for breakfast.
9:30 a.m. Bus back to Columbus. We watch “XXX”.
Cellphone talk time: Knapp – info unavailable. Kesler – not on the trip, but I imagine he’s making up for it in Nova Scotia (at the World Junior Championships).
On the Road with Scott May
The Buckeye junior recaps the squad’s trip to Florida and the Everblades College Classic
| Junior Forward
Thursday, Dec. 26
8:30 p.m. An unusual start to a road trip as we arrive at the Schott after two practices and dinner. We head to a hotel close to the airport so the morning is as organized as it can be at 4:30 a.m.
Friday, Dec. 27
4:30-5 a.m. Wakeup and arrival at the airport. It’s an early start to a long day.
6 a.m. The plane leaves destined for Atlanta – we have a short layover there.l
8:45 a.m. Back on a plane to Fort Myers, Florida. Most of the team tries to make up sleep lost the night before, but (Luke) Pavlas, unable to stay quiet when surrounded by people, sparks a conversation with a nine-year old girl about the rules and conduct of hockey.
11 a.m. We get our bags, load the bus and drop our gear at the rink. There was an unexpected surprise once we get to the rink. We get the Everblades dressing room (the home team), which is much better than packing up the gear after each skate like we’ve had to do in the past.
5 p.m. Practice – the 70 degree weather has some effect on the ice as it is slow and soft, making it hard to complete passes or skate.
7:15 p.m. Dinner, held for us by OSU alumni, is at a beautiful country club. It’s a buffet dinner with steak, potatoes, fish, salad and chicken, followed by key lime pie and chocolate cake. (Associate head coach) Casey Jones has to remind a few players on the team not to eat too much, but he was too late, as (Eric) Skaug, (Miguel) Lafleche and (Scott) Titus all went back for a second plate. (Pete) Broccoli and (Doug) Andress were the undercover “fat” kids, sneaking another plate without the coaches seeing.
9 p.m. Back to the hotel.
10 p.m. Lights out after a long day, minus a couple of naps.
Saturday, Dec. 28
7:30 a.m. Unfortunately, it’s an early wakeup after the previous long day. Because of the 4 p.m. game, pregame rituals are moved ahead a couple of hours. After breakfast some players skate while the rest go back to bed until pregame meal at 11 a.m.
Noon Downtime where players prepare for the game lying in bed listening to music and watching TV.
4 p.m. Gametime vs. UMass. It took the whole game to get our legs back from the Christmas holidays. The game ends up 2-2 and goes to a shootout. We lost in the shootout, putting us in the early game the next day.
9 p.m. Back to the hotel. We have to go straight to our rooms because of the disappointing results from a game we should have won.
Sunday, Dec. 29
8:30 a.m. Wakeup and breakfast as the team gathers for a morning walk and stretch.
11 a.m. Head to the rink for pregame meal and chalk talk to discuss the game plan against Cornell, our opponent.
Noon Back to the hotel to rest before the game. Some sleep while others hydrate with water and Gatorade and relax listening to music or TV.
2 p.m. We go to the game, which begins all the pregame rituals, starting with what we wear to how we tape our sticks.
4 p.m. The game against No. 3 Cornell is a good test to see where we stand. The outcome looks as if we should be in the Top 10 in the nation, as we win 1-0. Congratulations to (goalie) Dave Caruso on his first shutout and to R.J. Umberger, a tournament all-star.
7 p.m. An excited team is greeted by parents and fans after the game. Some go to dinner while others watch the final.
9 p.m. Back to the hotel where we meet soon after to head to Applebee’s for a team gathering to celebrate a successful weekend.
Monday, Dec. 30
8 a.m. Wakeup call and breakfast. Then we’re off to the airport to catch our flight at 11:45.
11:45 a.m. The flight back was rather uninteresting. There was minimal tomfoolery and shenanigans present on the plane. However, from Atlanta to Columbus some guys unfortunately fell asleep and had their pictures taken with some unknown props included.
4 p.m We arrive in Columbus and drive to the Schott. Overall it was a successful tournament. We get home to find out we moved up to ninth in the polls.
**If you have been keeping track of the cell phone use over the last couple of roadtrips, the numbers dropped drastically, as (Ryan) Kesler was at the World Juniors tournament and Knapp had his phone taken away because he talked too much!
On The Road With Miguel Lafleche
The senior forward recaps the Buckeyes’ trip to Ferris State in Big Rapids, Mich.
| Senior Forward
Thursday, Nov. 21 We practice early so we can get on the road earlier.
4 p.m. We get off the ice and prepare ourselves for the trip to Big Rapids. The coaches want the bus to leave by 4:45 p.m. The freshmen were slow packing the bus, but it finally gets done.
5 p.m. The bus leaves the Schott. It’s a little late due to the fact that half the team did their hair for the bus ride. It doesn’t take long before guys are playing cards or watching the movie (“Van Wilder”).
7:30 p.m. We finally get to Findlay where we stop to eat at Outback Steakhouse. It’s about time as guys were getting hungry. (Eric) Skaug and (Scott) Titus were ready to eat the leftover crumbs from a sub I had earlier. We finish dinner and get treated to a bowl of ice cream. (Paul) Caponigri and (Mike) Betz get more than their share as the waitress dropped the ice cream tray on them.
8:30 p.m. We get back on the bus (4 hours to go). During that time we watched “Supertroopers” and “Reign of Fire”.
12:10 a.m. We finally get to Big Rapids. We first stop at the rink and drop off our gear.
12:30 a.m. We arrive at the hotel. Everyone is pretty tired and ready for a good night’s sleep.
Friday, Nov. 22
9:15 a.m. Wakeup call. I get up and start throwing pillows at Bittner as he struggles to get out of bed.
9:30 a.m. We all eat breakfast at the hotel. Coaches announce an optional practice. Half of the guys go skate and the other half stays at the hotel.
2:30 p.m. Pregame meal. Coaches go over the game plan.
5:30 p.m. The bus leaves the hotel for the rink. Everyone prepares for the game.
7:35 p.m. The puck drops. We lose, 4-2, to Ferris State. We didn’t play our best game and it was a tough loss. Some guys spend a little time with their families. We then load up the bus and head back to the hotel for our postgame meal and then go to bed.
Saturday, Nov. 23
9:15 a.m. Wakeup call. Bittner is drooling on the pillow.
9:30 a.m. Breakfast. Optional practice.
Noon The OSU football game is on. We cheer as the Buckeyes go on to win 14-9 over rival Michigan.
1:40 p.m. We watch a little video and then eat our pregame meal.
5 p.m. Bus leaves for the rink. Game 2 vs. Ferris State. An even tougher loss as they score in overtime to beat us, 2-1.
Some guys say goodbye to their families as we load up the bus for the long trip home.
On the Road with Chris Olsgard
The junior recaps the Buckeyes’ trip to Lake Superior State in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.
| Junior Forward
Wednesday, Nov. 6
After a short but intense practice, the team (actually the freshmen) loads the bus and leaves for Lake State.
We were late leaving because Bitts (JB Bittner) forget his shoes and belt and had to run home.
Stop at Outback Steakhouse for supper … the typical jokes and tomfoolery prevail (Caponigri gets some butter in his ice cream!).
We finally get to Gaylord, Mich., where we spend the night. Everyone is tired from a long day of watching movies (“High Crimes”, “Spider-Man”, “Mr. Deeds”) and playing cards.
Thursday, Nov. 7
10:30 a.m. Wake-up. I use my quick wit and rugged good looks to secure three-dozen chocolate chip cookies (fresh-baked) from the front desk. They’re eaten in about 4.8 seconds (thanks to Miguel Lafleche).
11:00 We load the bus but realize it stinks horribly. We refer to it as the “stinky shuttle” from here on.
We have about two hours of driving left so we agree to watch “The Rookie” as our last movie … 21 hockey players and not a dry eye in the bunch (we’re all saps).
1:30 We eat some lunch (subs) and have a two-hour study session/nap. Just kidding – we all work very hard.
6:00 Practice is short and sweet. Coach Markell reminds the team we are here to do a job; we are all ready.
7:45 Time to eat again. Everyone stuffs their face but some guys have to shovel it in extra quick to catch the start of Friends. Those who stay for dessert get ice cream and chocolate sauce. Luke Pavlas eats 10 bowls and Lafleche doubles that.
10:30 Back to our rooms – Big game tomorrow.
Friday, Nov. 8
9:30 Wake up and we have a solid breakfast – eggs, hash browns, toast, ham and French toast. One poor sucker is late and even Coach Jones can’t resist a prank. He makes him wait outside until he calls him in.
10:15 Pregame skate. Most of the regular guys are there, but some stay at the hotel for some extra sleep.
2:00 Pregame meal at Ang-Gio’s. Good spaghetti and some chicken breasts … the breadsticks are to die for!!
5:00 We load the bus and head to the rink. Most guys use the time to prepare sticks and stretch out before the game starts.
7:00 The puck drops and we are confident. A solid effort by everyone leads to a 4-1 victory. There are some scrums after the game is over and everyone wants to beat them worse tomorrow.
A quick postgame meal and off to bed. We need to sweep this team is the feeling surrounding our team.
Saturday, Nov. 9
The day starts just like all the rest, breakfast, pregame skate and some lunch.
There is a quick meeting after lunch and Coach Markell makes sure everyone is ready to do their jobs tonight.
7:00 Time to beat these guys again. We play just as well as the night before and end up winning 5-2. Miguel Lafleche has a career game with two goals and an assist. Nice job Fletch!
10:00 The game is over and we have to wait for our bus to be there. Apparently the bus driver didn’t sleep that well back at the hotel … with a nine-hour drive ahead of us I now know I will not sleep well either. Despite all of my fears, the bus driver gets us home safely. During the trip we watch “Murder by Numbers” and “Harvard Man” … good picks … “Harvard Man” is really bizarre! After the movies some guys try to sleep but the morons in the back of the bus playing cards are all but quiet.
6:30 a.m. We pull into the Schottenstein Center and everyone is whipped, but very happy about our sweep!
**Note** There was a new member admitted to the telephone club. Lee Spector clocks in with an amazing 42 hours of talk time in a three-day span. Solid work, but he will never catch Knapp and Kesler.
On the Road with Paul Caponigri
The junior forward recaps the Buckeyes’ trip to Fairbanks, Alaska
| Junior Forward
We load the bus and Coach (John) Markell gives us a speech about how this is a business trip and he wanted no complaints about the long trip.
Arrive at the airport, unload the bus and check bags. Some of the upperclassmen are upset because check-in is alphabetical and some of the freshmen go before them.
Many guys grab a bite to eat at Wendy’s or Charlies before we head to the gate.
While we wait in the terminal, a lot of the guys read the newspaper and some play cards (Euchre is the preferred game).
Finally we get on the plane and off to Minneapolis.
10:30 a.m. (CDT)
Arrive in Minneapolis. About half of the team stops at Cinnabon for a treat. The rest move toward the gate, which is for our flight to Anchorage, Alaska.
We finally depart for Anchorage – a long, six-hour flight. During that time the guys watch movies, eat, sleep, read book and magazines and some study
3 p.m. (ADT)
We arrive in Anchorage and with the time change it’s only 3 p.m.
Finally! We arrive in Fairbanks and head to a team dinner at Pike’s Landing.
The team has a short practice, only 30 minutes long. Then, we’re back to the hotel to sleep.
Everyone has a wake-up call and we head down to breakfast in the hotel.
Practice begins at the Carlson Center. It is an up-tempo practice with a lot of emphasis on little details to prepare for tomorrow’s game.
Practice is over and we head back to the hotel for lunch. Everyone seems to be adapting to the time change well.
The team heads over to the UAF campus for two hours of study table. This is a good time for the guys to stay ahead of their studies.
We head to the Pump House for dinner. We play a trick on Jeremy, our trainer, and one of the players puts butter in his rainbow sherbet. Unknowingly, he eats it.
We all head to the movie theater. Some of the guys went to see “Red Dragon” while the others went to see “Knockaround Guys”.
Lights out to get rest for the game.
Breakfast at the hotel.
An optional pregame skate for the team. About 80% of the team skates.
Our last team meal before the game. Coach Markell goes over what we need to do to be successful.
Load the bus for the game. Head to the Carlson Center.
Drop the puck against UAF.
After a decisive victory over UAF, 6-3, we head back to the hotel for a lasagna dinner. After that the guys wind down in their rooms and get to sleep around midnight.
10/19 GAMEDAY TWO
Another breakfast at the hotel. The team is feeling very confident after last night.
Another optional skate. Less than half the team skates this morning. Most guys go back to bed to get extra rest.
The team heads down for pregame meal. Coach reminds us to stay focused on the task at hand.
Depart again for the game. Everyone seems poised to make it a two-game sweep.
Drop the puck with UAF again.
After a hard-fought 1-1 tie, the team heads back to the hotel. There is some sense of disappointment after the game that we didn’t get the win. But, we are still pleased with three CCHA conference points for the weekend.
After we each, most of the guys hang out in each other’s rooms, playing cards or just hanging around. Even though we lost one point for the weekend, it was still a very productive weekend for our team.
Wakeup calls for all the rooms. We have to be at the airport at 5 a.m.
We depart for Anchorage. All of the guys were sleeping on that flight. It was a one-hour flight.
The “hell” flight. Six hours from Anchorage to Minneapolis. Sleep, sleep, sleep! A few of the guys got some studying in after a nap.
Finally we arrive in Minneapolis. It feels like this day never happened. It was morning when we got on the plane and when we got off, it was dusk. Definitely a weird day.
Our last flight of the trip! Minneapolis to Columbus. The team is pretty subdued after a long day of travel.
We are at the baggage claim in Columbus airport and one of the bags comes out and it is ripped to shreds. It was Luke Pavlas’ hockey stuff and it was all damaged. Tim, our equipment manager, had to handle it with the airline staff … the damages were almost $1,000. What a long way to end a long trip.
We finally end up back at the Schottenstein Center and unload our stuff. A successful trip was over and a day of well-needed rest was coming to us on Monday. Oh, but not until class was over for the day. Most of the guys had 8:30 classes Monday morning. UGH!!!
On the Road with Eric Skaug
The senior defenseman recaps the Buckeyes’ trip to Minnesota
| Senior Defenseman
Everyone arrives at the Schottenstein Center at 7 a.m. to load up all the gear and then head to the airport to catch our flight to Minnesota.
You know the hockey season has finally begun because all of the card games have started.
I’m looking forward to sleeping on the plane because I didn’t get much sleep the night before. But, that plan was thwarted by the constant twitching of freshman Rod Pelley’s leg against mine as he slept.
We arrive in Minneapolis at 11 a.m. and if it weren’t for (team manager) Doug Geckeler I don’t think we would have ever found our bus. It took us about 20 minutes to walk to the bus from baggage claim. When we all finally get to the bus I think about how nice it is to be a senior. As the freshmen are busy packing all the equipment under the bus, I easily find my seat at the back of the bus, bypassing all of the underclassmen that are fighting for the seat they will have for the rest of the year.
Upon checking into the hotel we are given our room keys and we find out who our roommates are going to be. I end up rooming with (senior defenseman) Pete Broccoli.
Broc and I take a three-hour nap before practice. At 4 p.m. we leave for Mariucci Arena (on Minnesota’s campus) for a quick 45 minute skate.
After the skate we head upstairs for a catered dinner where we get, according to (fifth-year senior) Scott Titus, the best pork chops you’ll ever have in your entire life. The coaches have to cut (senior) Miguel Lafleche off before he eats himself into a coma.
Back at the hotel, Broc and I play a few games of cribbage and then we call it a night.
Saturday – “Game Day”
Wake up call is at 7:45. I slowly get out of bed and head downstairs for breakfast.
After breakfast we went to get our gear at Mariucci and then back to the Xcel Center for our pregame skate. The shoot-around went well. I think everyone is ready to play tonight.
2 p.m. – The first pregame meal of the year. What else could it be but “chicken and pasta”.
When everyone is done eating, head coach (John) Markell says a few words and then it’s back to the room for a couple of hours before the game.
The coaches gave us the option to either walk the five or six blocks to the Xcel Center or to ride over on the team bus at 5:15. Broc and I decide to walk with Doug Geckeler, who we thought knew how to get there. It’s a good think we left early because it took us about 20 minutes, weaving in and out of different concourse walkways, to finally get there.
Playing in front of over 15,000 fans was something fun and exciting. Unfortunately, we ended up taking ourselves out of the game with all of the penalties we took.
After losing 7-2, we head to a postgame meal at Minerva’s. It’s here where (junior Dave) Steckel eats about three dozen chicken wings. After watching that ultimate display of eating I somehow manage to lose my appetite.
We wake up at 7 a.m., pack the bus and head to the airport for our 10 a.m. flight back to Columbus. I think everyone is disappointed about how the game went yesterday. We all know that we can play better than we did yesterday. And we’re going to have to, because the weekend series with Alaska Fairbanks (Oct. 18-19) will be just as tough.
Cell phone talk time of the Buckeye freshmen over the weekend…
Dan Knapp: 9 hours, 47 minutes
Ryan Kesler: 10 hours, 8 minutes