CCHA TOURNAMENT FIRST ROUND OHIO STATE at LAKE SUPERIOR STATE Friday, March 4 – 7:35 p.m. Saturday, March 5 – 7:05 p.m. Sunday, March 5 – 7:05 p.m. (if necessary) Taffy Abel Arena – Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.
FOLLOW ALONG Television – CBS College Sports (Friday) Audio Broadcast – WBNS 1460 AM/OhioStateBuckeyes.com Live Stats – LSSULakers.com In-game Updates – Twitter.com/OhioState_MHKY
OHIO STATE VS. LAKE SUPERIOR STATE – THE SERIES 2010-11: Tied 1-1-0 at Ohio State 1, Lake Superior State 1 OT (Feb. 18) at Ohio State 5, Lake Superior State 2 (Feb. 19) 2009-10: Tied 1-1-0 Overall Series: Lake Superior State leads 70-55-10 In Columbus: Ohio State leads 29-28-6 In Sault Ste. Marie: Lake Superior State leads 42-26-4 Neutral Site: No meetings Postseason: Lake Superior State leads 9-5-0 In Overtime: Ohio State leads 10-8-6 Last 10: Ohio State leads 5-4-1
BUCKEYE SLAPSHOTS • Ohio State is opening the CCHA tournament on the road for the fourth time in the last 10 years. The squad has had a CCHA playoff series go to three games each of the last four years. • Ohio State is 5-9 all-time vs. Lake Superior State in the postseason but won the last series between the teams in 1998. • The Buckeye senior class ranks sixth (tied) in scoring in the nation this season, combining for 139 points. Seniors Sergio Somma, John Albert and Peter Boyd all have joined the Ohio State ‘Century Club” this year and each now ranks eighth (tied) in OSU history with 157 career games played. • Junior Cal Heeter is first in the NCAA in minutes played, third with 877 saves and 10th in save percentage (.923).
DROP THE PUCK The Ohio State men’s hockey team opens postseason action this weekend, heading to Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., for a CCHA first-round matchup with Lake Superior State. The Buckeyes ((15-16-4, 10-14-4-2/9th CCHA) and Lakers (10-15-9, 8-12-8-5/8th CCHA) will meet in the best of three series in Taffy Abel Arena, with the winner advancing to the league quarterfinals. Faceoff is set for 7:35 p.m. Friday and 7:05 p.m. Saturday and Sunday (if necessary).
CATCH THE ACTION The game Friday will be televised nationally by CBS College Sports. Dave Starman and Matt Shepard will call the action, with Shireen Saski rinkside.
WBNS Radio will carry all Buckeye postseason action. The games can be heard on 1460 AM in Columbus and for free on OhioStateBuckeyes.com. Herb Howenstine and Ohio State volunteer assistant coach Layne LeBel will be on the call.
Live stats can be accessed from LSSULakers.com or CCHA.com. In-game updates also are on Twitter.com/OhioState_MHKY.
THE SETUP All 11 teams in the CCHA qualify for postseason action. The teams that finish 1-5 earn first-round byes, with teams 6-8 hosting teams 9-11 in best-of-three series. The Top 3 teams host the three first-round winners, with the fourth seed hosting No. 5 in the quarterfinals. The four winners from the quarterfinal best-of-three series earn a spot in the CCHA Championship at Joe Louis Arena.
The first-round matchups include No. 8 Lake Superior State hosting No. 9 Ohio State, No. 7 Alaska hosting No. 10 Michigan State and No. 6 Northern Michigan hosting No. 11 Bowling Green.
No. 4 Western Michigan will host No. 5 Ferris State in the quarterfinals. Michigan won the regular-season title and is the No. 1 seed, followed by No. 2 Notre Dame and No. 3 Miami. The winners of the first round are reseeded before the quarterfinals.
LAST TIME OUT Ohio State was 0-1-1 at home against Ferris State last weekend to close out the regular season.
The teams tied the opener, 2-2, Thursday night with the Bulldogs prevailing in the shootout, 1-0. Shane Sims gave the Buckeyes a first-period lead before the Bulldogs scored back-to-back goals at 10:59 of the second and 2:38 into the third to take the lead. Sergio Somma tallied in the third to tie the game, scoring just over a minute after the Bulldogs took the lead. Cal Heeter had 34 saves in the game, including 20 in the second period. The Buckeyes are now 3-1-4 in overtime and were 2-2 in shootouts this season.
Friday, the teams were scoreless in the first and Ferris State opened the scoring with a power-play goal in the second. Somma tied the game at 10:33 of the third but FSU’s Kyle Bonis scored with 1:58 remaining to put the Bulldogs back on top and FSU sealed the win with an empty net goal. Heeter had 31 saves in the contest.
BUCKEYE SNAPSHOT Ohio State is 15-16-4 this season and 10-14-4-2 in CCHA action. The team is averaging 2.66 goals a game while allowing 2.43. On the power play, the Buckeyes are 25-for-150 (16.7 percent) and on the penalty kill the team is 123-for-149 (82.6 percent).
Senior forward John Albert is first on the team with 34 points and 22 assists, ranking third with 12 goals. Senior forward Sergio Somma is second with 33 points and leads the squad with 19 goals. Junior forward Danny Dries is second in goals (14) and third in points with 26. Senior forward Peter Boyd is fourth with 10 goals and 25 points and tied for second in assists with senior defenseman Shane Sims with 15 each. Sims leads the blueliners in scoring with 18 points.
In net, junior Cal Heeter has started all 35 games, with a 2.28 goals-against average and .923 save percentage and is third in the NCAA with 942 saves.
NOTING THE BUCKEYES IN THE PLAYOFFS • Ohio State is 44-58-4 all-time in CCHA tournament play, with a 15-15-0 ledger in conference first-round play. • This is the first time Ohio State is opening the tournament on the road since a three-game series at Northern Michigan in 2008. The squad posted two-games sweeps in the OSU Ice Rink each of the last two years. The squad is 11-38 all-time in playoff games on the road. • Four of the Buckeyes’ last six CCHA playoff series have gone to three games. The squad faced Northern Michigan in 2007 and ‘08, winning game one before losing the next two, with the 2007 series in Columbus and the 2008 series in Marquette, Mich. The team fell in three games at Alaska in 2009, rallying to tie the series before suffering a 1-0 loss in game three. The Buckeyes went to three games with top seed Miami a year ago in the quarterfinals, dropping the first game before winning game two in overtime. Game three went to the RedHawks, 2-1. • This is the first time Ohio State is the tournament’s No. 9 seed. • Ohio State has two CCHA postseason titles, winning the inaugural tournament crown in 1972 in St. Louis Arena in St. Louis, Mo., and claiming the CCHA Super Six title in 2004 at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. Current video coordinator JB Bittner was captain of that squad. • Junior Kyle Reed is first for the Buckeyes with 11 points in the postseason. Senior Sergio Somma is first with four goals, followed by classmates K. Reed, Peter Boyd and C.J. Severyn with three each. Chris Reed, who had four assists in a playoff game last year, has a team-best nine assists, followed by K. Reed with eight and senior John Albert with seven. In all, 18 Buckeyes have skated in at least one postseason game, with six playing in 14 contests.
BUCKEYES VS. LAKERS Ohio State and Lake Superior State met two weeks ago in Columbus. The teams tied the opener, 1-1, before the Buckeyes won game two, 5-2. Ohio State trails the all-time series with the Lakers, 55-70-10. The teams last played in Sault Ste. Marie last season, splitting two games (LSSU 3-2, OSU 4-3). After an 0-19-3 stretch against the Lakers Nov. 13, 1992-Dec. 13, 1997, Ohio State is 22-7-3 in the last 32 meetings, with three of the losses in overtime.
BUCKEYES VS. LAKERS IN THE POSTSEASON The Buckeyes are 5-9 against Lake Superior State in the postseason. The teams last met in 1998, a two-game sweep by the Buckeyes in Columbus (2-1, 6-0) on their way to the CCHA championship game and first Frozen Four appearance. That was the only postseason meeting in Columbus between the teams. The squads last faced off in the Soo in the playoffs in 1996, when the Lakers won 4-3 in overtime and 8-2. Ohio State won a playoff series in three games at LSSU in 1987, coming from a game down for 4-2 and 8-4 victories. LAKER LECTURE Lake Superior State is 10-15-9 this year and finished conference play 8-12-8-5 to earn the No. 8 seed to open the tournament. The squad is looking to end a three-game losing streak after it was swept by Miami last weekend (8-1, 4-1).
The Lakers average 2.29 goals a game while allowing 3.03. The power play is at 16.6 percent (25-for-151), while the penalty kill is at 79.3 (92-for-116).
Senior Rick Schofield is first on the team with 14 goals, 16 assists and 30 points. Sophomore Domenic Monardo is second in goals (12), assists (14) and points (26). Senior Will Acton has also hit the 20-point mark with eight goals and 13 assists for 21 points.
In goal, freshman Kevin Kapalka has played in 24 games, with a 9-10-8 ledger, 2.34 goals-against average and .922 save percentage.
Jim Roque, a four-year letterwinner at Lake Superior State, has been the head coach at his alma mater since June 2005. He served three stints as an assistant coach for the Lakers – from 1988-91, in 1994-95 and from 2001-02 until he was hired as the head coach. He was on the staff when Lake Superior State won the 1988 NCAA Championship. FLASHBACK The Buckeyes were 1-0-1 against Lake Superior State just two weeks ago (Feb. 18-19) in Value City Arena. In the opener the teams tied 1-1, with John Albert scoring the lone goal for the Buckeyes and Ben Power tying the game in the second period. The game went to a shootout, with the Lakers winning 1-0 in three rounds to earn the extra point in the CCHA standings.
In the series finale, the Buckeyes allowed two goals in the first 1:07 but then responded with five unanswered for a win. Corey Toy opened the scoring, with Sergio Somma tying the game in the second period and Danny Dries putting Ohio State ahead (2-1) at 12:00 of the second stanza. Chris Crane (power play) and Peter Boyd (empty net) added insurance markers in the third.
BETWEEN THE PIPES Buckeye junior goalie Cal Heeter leads the country in minutes played (1074:39) and is third with 942 saves. He now ranks 17th nationally with a 2.28 goals-against average and is 10th with a .923 save percentage. He ranks 10th in Buckeye history for single-season minutes played, with his season goals-against and save percentage among the Top 6 for a Buckeye.
Heeter played in his 50th game as a Buckeye vs. Notre Dame Jan. 29 and made his 50th career start Feb. 11 at Michigan. He has two shutouts this season and has held opponents to two or less goals 19 times.
Heeter is on the ballot for the fan vote for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award, the trophy bestowed to the top player in college hockey each year. Fans can visit http://go.osu.edu/hobeyvoteforcal each day to cast a vote for Heeter
GOALS FOR NO. 44 Senior Sergio Somma has a goal in each of his last three games and leads the squad with a career-high 19 tallies this season. He is second on the team with a personal-best 33 points, his first career 30-point year after two 20-point campaigns.
Somma ended conference play tied for fifth in goals (14) and tied for eighth in points (26). He leads the CCHA with 10 power-play goals in all games, tying for fifth nationally. He is third (tied) among conference players in goals and is eighth (tied) in points.
He had three points in the win over Lake Superior State Feb. 18 to hit the 100-point mark for his career.
Somma’s goal at Michigan Feb. 12 was the 50th of his career. He is the first Buckeye with 50 career goals since Paul Caponigri (53) and Dave Steckel (50) in 2003-04. He now has 53 goals and 50 assists, the first Buckeye to hit 50 in both categories since Paul Caponigri (53g, 79a) and Dave Steckel (50g, 55a) in 2003-04.
Somma has nine points in his last seven games combined, with a three-point night vs. Lake State Feb. 18 and two-point games against Michigan State Feb. 5 and Michigan Feb. 11. He has a team-high nine multiple-point games this season.
THE SENIORS Ohio State has nine seniors (eight skaters) on the squad, including four of the Top 5 scorers. The group of Sergio Somma, John Albert, Peter Boyd and Shane Sims has combined for 44 goals, 66 assists and 110 points, with each playing in all 35 games. The other skaters in the class (C.J. Severyn, Chris Reed, Kyle Reed and Corey Toy) have a 9-19-28 line together, each playing in at least 26 games.
In all, the Buckeye seniors have 1139 points, an average of 3.97 a game, to rank sixth (tied) in the NCAA in points by seniors per team.
NO. 15 John Albert leads the Buckeyes with 22 assists and 34 points and is third with a career-high 12 goals. He has at least 20 points in each of his four years skating for the Scarlet and Gray, with at least 30 in each of his last three years.
Albert has a point in all but 12 games this year and has gone back-to-back games without a point just twice (Nov. 12-13 at Michigan State and Feb. 24-25 vs. Ferris State).
Albert leads the current Buckeyes with 124 career points. He has 91 career assists, just five shy of tying for 10th in program history.
Albert ended CCHA play tied for eighth in points (26) and assists (16). He ranks seventh among league players in points and assists overall.
DE-FENSE! Ohio State is 13th in the NCAA, allowing just 2.43 goals a game. The squad, and Cal Heeter, have held their opponents to two or less goals in seven of the last nine games and gave up two goals, plus an empty netter, last Friday vs. Ferris State. It is the lowest goals-against total for the team since the 2005-06 squad allowed 2.36 goals an outing.
WEARING THE SCARLET AND GRAY Senior John Albert, Peter Boyd and Sergio Somma all played in their 157th career game at Ohio State last Friday vs. Ferris State. The trio are now tied with five other Buckeyes for eighth in program history in career games played.
Shane Sims played in the 150th game of his last Friday vs. Ferris State. Chris Reed has skated in 148 games for the Buckeyes.
Mark Anderson is the program’s leader with 167 games as a Buckeye from 1985-88. The last Buckeyes to play at least 150 games were Matt McIlvane (156) and Johann Kroll (153), who finished their careers in 2008.
LET’S BOWL! The Buckeyes spent Tuesday afternoon not on the ice, but at the lanes. The coaches surprised the team with a trip to the bowling alley, where the squad was split into teams. The Black Team – comprised of Chris Crane (the high-scorer on the day), Chris Reed, Brandon Martell and C.J. Severyn – took home the trophy. Visit OhioStateBuckeyes.com for photos from the outing.
SO CLOSE Ten of the Buckeyes’ 16 losses this season have been by one goal. The team’s two-goal losses at Western Michigan, vs. Michigan State and at home against Ferris State included empty-net tallies. The squad has two four-goal losses, with a 4-0 defeat at Michigan State that included an empty-net score, and lost by three, including an ENG, vs. Alaska Nov. 27.
LOOKING FOR OFFENSE The Buckeyes have been held to three or less goals 11 times in the last 14 games and is now averaging 2.66 goals a game on the year. The team has been held to four or fewer goals in a series five times since returning to action in January.
ON THE PK After holding its opponents scoreless on the power play in five-consecutive games, the Buckeyes have now given up one extra-man tally in each of the last three games (14 opportunities combined).
GETTING IT DONE LATE … The Buckeyes are outscoring their opponents in the third period, 42-29, this season. The squad has 48 goals in the first and second periods combined (19 in the first, 29 in the second after a five-goal second vs. Army Jan. 2), and have 45 in the third period (40) and overtime (3) combined. The squad scored a season-high five third-period goals against Miami Jan. 8.
Ohio State leads all CCHA teams in goals scored in the third period and is the only league team with three overtime wins this year. Alaska and Bowling Green each have two overtime victories.
THE CENTURY CLUB Seniors John Albert and Peter Boyd both hit the 100-point mark in the first half of the season and were joined by classmate Sergio Somma in February. They are the first Buckeyes to join the Century Club since 2008.
Boyd had three assists and points in the series with Michigan Dec. 3-4 to hit the 100-point mark in his career. Albert hit triple digits vs. Alabama-Huntsville Nov. 6. Somma had three points vs. Lake Superior State Feb. 19, with an assist for his 100th point. The last Buckeye team to have more than one player pass the 100-point mark was in 2004 (Paul Caponigri, Scott May and Dave Steckel). With Albert, Boyd and Somma, there now are 55 members of the Ohio State ‘Century Club.’
Albert is first for the current Buckeyes with 124 points, the most for a Buckeye since the 2004 squad when Caponigri had 132 and May had 117. Boyd has 113 points as a Buckeye. Somma leads the current Buckeyes with 53 career goals, while Albert is first with 91 assists for the Scarlet and Gray. Boyd has 38 goals and 75 assists to rank second in both categories among current Buckeyes.
THE ROOKIES Four Buckeye freshmen have skated in at least 31 games this season, with each posting at least six points as they have combined for a 15-28-42 line. Forward Alex Szczechura (7g, 6a) leads the rookies with 13 points, followed by defenseman Curtis Gedig with 12 points on 12 assists. Forward Chris Crane (4g, 6a) has 10 points and Alex Lippincott (4g, 4a) has eight. Travis Statchuk has been limited to 20 games because of injury and has a goal and three assists for four points. Rookie Brendan Arniel played his first game as a Buckeye vs. Alaska Nov. 27.
NEW JERSEY DEVILS = OHIO STATE EAST? Former Buckeye David Steckel was traded to the New Jersey Devils Monday, the NHL trade deadline. He joins former teammate Rod Pelley, who is in his third full season with the Devils. Steckel and Pelley both played at Ohio State in 2002-03 and 2003-04, winning the CCHA postseason tournament together. They look to become the second duo of former Buckeyes to play for the same NHL team this season, joining RJ Umberger and Nate Guenin who skated for the Columbus Blue Jackets earlier this year.
Buckeye freshman defenseman Curtis Gedig is a draft pick of the Devils. Former Buckeye goalie Dave Caruso is in the Devils’ farm system and currently plays for the team’s AHL squad in Albany. THE 20 – AND 30 – POINT CLUBS Two Buckeyes, seniors John Albert and Sergio Somma, have crossed the 30-point mark this year, while two others, junior Danny Dries and senior Peter Boyd, have hit the 20-point mark. Albert is first on the squad with 34 points, followed by Somma with 33, Dries with 26 and Boyd with 25.
Somma has a team-best nine multiple-point games, with Albert and Dries tied for second with six.
Albert and Boyd both now have at least 20 points in all four of their seasons with the Buckeyes, with Albert posting three 30-point campaigns. Somma has crossed the 20-point mark three times. Dries has posted at least 20 points in each of his first three collegiate seasons.
BUCKEYE THIS AND THAT • Sergio Somma is first in the CCHA and tied for sixth nationally with 10 power-play goals. Among CCHA power-play leaders, Dries (5-7-12), Somma (10-2-12) and Albert (2-10-12) are tied for seventh. • The Buckeyes are 12-0 when scoring four or more goals this year, but 3-16-4 when held to three or less. • Every Buckeye skater that has played at least two games this season has at least one point. Eighteen have scored a goal, with 21 recording at least one assist. • Shane Sims leads the Buckeyes with 77 recorded blocked shots; Corey Toy is second with 41, followed by Curtis Gedig with 36. John Albert leads the forwards with 31 recorded blocks. • Danny Dries has a team-high four game-winning goals each this season and has one of the team’s three game-tying tallies. • The Buckeyes are 5-1-2 when leading after the first period, but 5-9-1 when even after 20 minutes. It is 5-6-1 when trailing after the first stanza. • Ohio State is 3-1-4 in overtime this season, with wins against Michigan State, Michigan and Bowling Green and a loss at Alaska. The squad won shootouts vs. both Alaska and Western Michigan before losing a shootout against both Lake Superior State and Ferris State. Alex Szczechura has two of the overtime winners, with Danny Dries recording the other. • Ohio State and its opponents are exactly even in assists per game (4.29), penalties per game (5.2) and power-play goals per game (.7) this season. • The Buckeyes are 8-2-2 when scoring first this campaign but 7-14-2 when allowing the first tally.
BECOME A FAN AND A FOLLOWER Keep up with the Buckeyes on the internet. Weekly and special releases, statistics, biographies and more can be found on OhioStateBuckeyes.com, the official site of Ohio State athletics. The team has an official facebook page – facebook.com/OhioStateMensHockey, as well as a twitter feed – twitter.com/OhioState_MHKY. To receive weekly email updates about the team, email BuckeyeHockeyReport@buckeyes.ath.ohio-state.edu.
UP NEXT The winner of the series between the Buckeyes and Lakers will advance to the CCHA quarterfinals, held at either No. 1 Michigan, No. 2 Notre Dame or No. 3 Miami.