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Oct. 10, 2002

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Columbus, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s ice hockey team opens its regular season and WCHA play against Minnesota State, Mankato at 7:05 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the All Seasons Arena in Mankato, Minn.

Season Opener
The game Friday against MSU, Mankato will mark Ohio State’s and MSU, Mankato’s 2002-03 season opener. Ohio State is 2-1 in season opening games all-time, winning the last two. This is the first time OSU has faced MSU, Mankato at the start of its season.

Scouting MSU, Mankato
The Mavericks return 13 players, including nine letterwinners, from the 2001-02 season. Junior goaltender Shari Vogt enters her third season the starter owning school career records for games played, saves and save percentage. Mankato’s blue line is extremely young with one senior, three sophomores and three freshmen. The top forwards to watch are sophomores Kearstin Solberg and Elaine Topolnisky. Solberg finished 6-7-10 and Topolnisky finished 3-5-8 in the 2001-02 season.

MSU, Mankato defeated the North York Junior Areos, 6-1, Saturday in an exhibition game. Senior Tristin Stephenson scored the first goal of the game for the Mavericks and sophomore Melanie Salatino scored two goals. Junior Shari Vogt and Senior Katie Beauduy split time in the net and combined for 15 saves.

Buckeyes vs. Mavericks
Ohio State and Minnesota State, Mankato are meeting for the 13th time. The Buckeyes are undefeated against the Mavericks 11-0-1 in the all-time series and OSU has won the last six games. Their last meeting was Feb. 16, 2002 in Columbus, Ohio, when the Buckeyes defeated the Mavericks, 2-0. Mankato Head Coach
Jeff Vizenor recently was named the new Minnesota State, Mankato head coach. Vizenor previously served as the assistant coach of the Wisconsin women’s ice hockey team for one season. Prior to Wisconsin, Vizenor recorded a 34-13-5 record in two years at St. Mary’s University in Winona, Minn.

Trips to Mankato
OSU will be making its fourth trip to Mankato, Minn. The Buckeyes are 5-0-1 in All Seasons Arena, the home of the Mavericks.

Last Time Out
Ohio State shut out Toronto, 4-0, in an exhibition game Saturday at the OSU Ice Arena. Sophomore Jeni Creary (So., Shell Lake, Saskatchewan/Notre Dame) led the Buckeyes with two goals. freshman Jana Harrigan (Fr., Burlington, Ontario/Mississauga Jr. Chiefs) and junior Heather Farrell (Jr., Perth, Ontario/Pomfret/Connecticut Polar Bears) recorded one goal each. OSU was 1-for-4 on the power play. The Buckeyes held the Varsity Blues scoreless on all eight of their power-play chances. Senior April Stojak (Sr., Kent, Ohio/Shattuck-St. Mary’s) and freshman Natalie Lamme (Fr., Hibbing, Minn./Hibbing) combined for the shutout in the OSU goal. Stojak played the first 31:37 recording 17 saves. Lamme played the last 28:23 recording 13 saves.

OSU Captains
The captains for the 2002-03 season are Emily Hudak and Lindsey Ogren. Emma Laaksonen and Jeanne Chapple were named the alternate captains.

Last Meeting Against MSU
The No. 9 Ohio State women’s hockey team shut out visiting Minnesota State, Mankato, 2-0, Feb. 16, 2002 at the OSU Ice Rink. Jayne Bucksa recorded her first career goal and Jeni Creary scored the gamewinner on the power play. The Buckeyes improved to 15-11-4 overall (8-10-3 in the WCHA).

The date marked the 40th Anniversary of the OSU Ice Arena. OSU recorded the highest attendance (1,127) in the history of the women’s program. Former Ohio State and NHL goalie Bill McKenzie and current OSU Ice Arena manager Duke Johnson participated in a ceremonial opening faceoff as part of the festivities surrounding the 40th anniversary of the rink.

2002-03 Returnees
Ohio State returns 18 letterwinners for the 2002-03 season including nine forwards, seven defenders and two goaltenders. Nine of the letterwinners are seniors who have been at Ohio State since the beginning of the women’s ice hockey program four years ago.

The Recruits
Jackie Barto, OSU head coach recruited an impressive freshman class of three players for this season: Katelyn Sershen, Crystal Sayther and Jana Harrigan.

New Assistant Coach
Catherine Hanson recently was added to the OSU women’s ice hockey staff as an assistant coach. Hanson is a 1998 graduate of Providence College, where she received a degree in psychology and a minor in German.

Her responsibilities include developing the OSU defense, coordinating the recruiting process and assisting with daily practices and games.

Hanson began her coaching career as an assistant ice hockey coach at Colgate University during the 1999 season. This past year, she was an assistant coach at Wayne State University.

She also worked at the 2001 USA Hockey Mid-American District Camp in Kent, Ohio and the 2002 USA Hockey Girls 14/15 Development Camp in Rochester, N.Y.

2002-03 Preview
The Ohio State Buckeyes are on the road to a successful season under the direction of fourth-year head coach Jackie Barto. The roster has experienced players at every position. The 18 letterwinners returning include nine forwards, seven defenders and two goaltenders. Barto also recruited an impressive freshman class of three players for this season. Nine of the letterwinners are seniors who have been at Ohio State since the beginning of the women’s ice hockey program four years ago. They have seen the team develop and compete successfully at the national level.

“I would like to see our team make some strong improvements from the start of our year to the end and become better as a team every time we take the ice,” Barto said. “Also, I would like to see our team focus on the basics of our game and be able to be very strong fundamentally. I believe if we can do the fundamentals and if we are dedicated to getting better every time we take the ice we will be a team to be reckoned with.”

The Inaugural Class
The nine returning seniors bring a lot to the hockey program this season, since they have seen the program grow and mature from the beginning of its inaugural season in 1999-00.

“I want them to leave Ohio State knowing they are going to forever be an important part of our program,” Barto said. “What they did here in their four years will be something that will be here forever because they will always be a part of our program in the present and in the future.”

Between the Pipes
Ohio State returns two strong goaltenders this season: senior April Stojak and redshirt freshman Natalie Lamme.

“Goaltending will be a key in the success of our team this year,” Barto said. “We are experienced and we have very good talent and athleticism. The goaltenders have potential to create a very competitive situation where they are going to be able to push each other day in and day out.”

Stojak played in 15 games, including 11 starts, and compiled a season-high 34 stops in a 3-2 overtime loss to Minnesota-Duluth (Jan. 26) in the 2001 season. Lamme’ is coming off a red shirt year, in which she developed her skills, without having the pressures of playing immediately.

On The Blue Line
The Buckeyes’ commitment to defense and their work ethic will show this season. Returnees include seniors Emily Hudak, Lindsey Steblen, Christine Patno, Katie Frohreich, junior Emma Laaksonen, sophomores Jaclyn Haines, Monica Kolb and newcomer Katelyn Sershen.

“We are going to be experienced defensively this season,” Barto said. “As a team we have become very committed to the defensive side of the puck. Our defensemen will bring a wealth of experience and knowledge and will play an integral part in our success this season.”

Leading the OSU defense this season is Laaksonen. She was named to the 2002 All-WCHA Second Team and was a finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award. She finished eighth in scoring (21 points) among WCHA defensemen despite seeing action in only 25 games while she competed at the 2002 Winter Olympics for Finland. Hudak finished second on the team with 28 points and first on the team with 22 assists. Steblen is coming off her best season as a junior and looks to build upon her results. She played in all 37 games, set a career high for assists in a season (seven) and finished with eight points on the year.

“Our defense plays with a lot of intensity and they understand the importance of the defensive side of the puck,” Barto said. “Important to our team will be our defensive zone and being very stingy, intense and competitive.”

The Buckeye Attack
Top returning forwards to the Buckeye offense include juniors Heather Farrell and Jeanne Chapple and sophomores Jeni Creary and Jennifer Desson. Other Buckeyes returning to the offense include seniors Katie Frohreich, who is capable of seeing action on the blue line, Shana Frost, Carrie Gill and Lindsey Ogren, juniors Melissa Pirie and Erin O’Grady and sophomore Meaghan Mulvaney. Crystal Sayther and Jana Harrigan are the newcomers to the OSU offense this season.

“I am excited about the potential of our forwards this year,” Barto said. “We combine good size, quickness, aggressiveness and the ability to create offense. Essential to our offense will be the forwards playing the whole ice and creating some good offensive opportunities for us. Our forwards are aggressive and we want to capitalize on our opponents mistakes.”

Last season, Creary was named WCHA Rookie of the Year and to the 2002 All-WCHA First Team and was a finalist for the Patty Kazamaier Memorial Award. She led the team with 26 goals, 44 points and 164 shots. Desson finished second on the team with 13 goals and third with 24 points. Farrell tallied 12 goals and 11 assists for 23 points in 2002.

“The excitement going into this season is going to be huge,” Barto said. “We want our fourth year to be very successful. Improving the team requires learning from the past, moving forward and having an enjoyable season.”

The Road to Duluth
The Buckeyes play every WCHA team four times during the season, a two-game trip on the road and a two-game series at home. OSU will be playing two of the 2002 NCAA Frozen Four teams, Minnesota and Minnesota-Duluth.

“The WCHA has come so far in three years and is going to be even better than last year,” Barto said. “It is the most competitive women’s hockey leagues in the country. Which means we have to be very prepared and focused for every league game. But, it is going to make us the best team we can be in the long run.”

The non-league games also are important and the opponents are strong. OSU takes on Providence, Connecticut and Mercyhurst at home this season. Away opponents include Dartmouth,

St. Lawrence, who both ranked in the Top 10 last year, and Princeton.

“I think our schedule is a step up from last year,” Barto said. “It is going to be a challenge for us and will make us a better team. Every game we go into this season we will need to be extremely competitive.”

The 2002 WCHA Championship will be held March 6-8 in Engelstad Arena at the University of North Dakota. The Buckeyes goal is to make it to the 2002 NCAA Frozen Four March 21 and 23 in Duluth, Minn.

“The excitement going into this season is going to be huge,” Barto said. “We want our fourth year to be very successful. Improving the team requires learning from the past, moving forward and having an enjoyable season.”

Follow the Buckeyes Online
Information on the Ohio State women’s ice hockey team is available online at the official website of Ohio State Athletics, ohiostatebuckeyes.com. For up-to-the-minute women’s ice hockey scores, statistics and standings around the league and the nation, check out www.collegehockeystats.com. The official website of the WCHA is www.wcha.com.

Up Next
Ohio State returns to Columbus for its home opener against New Hampshire Oct. 18-19 at the OSU Ice Arena.