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Oct. 24, 2002

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s ice hockey team (2-2-0, 2-0-0 WCHA) plays host to the No. 2 Minnesota Golden Gophers at 7:05 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the OSU Ice Arena in Columbus, Ohio.

SIZING OHIO STATE
The Buckeyes are 2-2-0 overall and 2-0-0 in the WCHA. They started the season off by defeating Minnesota State, Mankato in two games on the road but faltered when they returned home to New Hampshire.

OSU has already outshot their opponents 108-98 this season. The Buckeyes have had 26 penalties totalling 52 minutes in the box, averaging 6.5 penalties per game.

Sophomore Jeni Creary leads the offense with four goals and five assists. Junior Emma Laaksonen leads the defense with one goal and six assists.

THIS TIME LAST SEASON
Four games into the 2001-02 season Ohio State was 2-1-1. OSU is currently 2-2-0 this season and has its eyes on improvement.

BUCKEYES VS. GOLDEN GOPHERS
Ohio State and Minnesota will be meeting for the 14th time. The Buckeyes trail the all-time series 3-11-0.

The last meeting was March 8, 2002 in the WCHA quarterfinal game, as OSU lost 4-1.

The Buckeyes are 1-5 on their home ice against the Golden Gophers.

SCOUTING MINNESOTA
The Minnesota Golden Gophers are off to their best start in six-year history of the program, a perfect 4-0-0. They defeated Findlay 8-1 and 7-2, Oct. 12 and 13. Minnesota also topped St. Cloud State 10-1 and 8-0, Oct. 18 and 19. The Golden Gophers are ranked No. 2 by the USCHO.com and the USA Today/AHM polls.

Minnesota sits on top of the WCHA standings with a 4-0-0 record. The Golden Gophers rank first in scoring offense, scoring defense and second in the power-play and penalty kill. Individually, Natalie Darwitz leads the league in points (13), while Krissy Wendell is third (11), Kristy Oonincx is fourth (10) and Rhonda Curtin is tied for fifth (9). Jody Horak leads the league in goals against average (0.82), save percentage (.957) and winnng percentage (1.000).

Minnesota’s underclassmen are leading the pack. Darwitz, a freshman, leads the team with 13 points, earning six goals and seven assists. Wendell, a freshman, is not far behind with 11 points (six goals and five assists). Oonincx, a sophomore, has six goals and four assists for the Golden Gophers already this season.

Horak has played in all four game this year. She has allowed only three goals, earning her a 0.82 goals against average.

GOLDEN GOPHERS HEAD COACH
Laura Halldorson enters her sixth season as the head coach of the Golden Gophers. Halldorson was named the AHCA National Coach of the Year and the WCHA Coach of the Year in 2002. She has led the Gophers to the AWCHA tournament in each of her first three seasons and to the 2000 AWCHA title. Halldorson posted 20-win seasons in each of her five seasons at Minnesota. She won the regular-season WCHA title in 2000-01 and swept the WCHA titles in 2001-02.

LAST MEETING AGAINST MINNESOTA
Minnesota’s La Toya Clarke, Kelly Stephens and Jody Horak provided a one-two-three punch, leading the top-ranked Gophers past Ohio State, 4-1, March 8, 2002 in the second of two semifinals at the 2002 Western Collegiate Hockey Association Women’s Final Five in Blaine, Minn.

Minnesota got on the board at the 14:44 mark, taking advantage of its second of two power-play opportunities in the period. With 1:22 remaining in the first, Clarke took a pass from Stephens and beat out an Ohio State defenseman in front of the net. Stephens put the Gophers up, 3-0, at the 8:10 mark.

The Gophers added one more, at 10:06 in the third period. At the 17:12 mark, Jeanne Chapple successfully managed to poke the puck past Horak. Emma Laaksonen and Erin O’Grady recorded assists on the goal.

Shots on goal were even at 29 apiece. Ohio State was unable to convert on two power-play opportunities and held Minnesota scoreless through three-of-four power-play chances.

Melissa Glaser slipped to 15-8-3 on the year with 25 saves and Horak stopped 28-of-23 Buckeye shots, including 17 in the third period.

LAST WIN AGAINST MINNESOTA
OSU’s last victory was March 9, 2001 was the Buckeyes shutout Minnesota 4-0 in the WCHA semifinal game. April Stojak was flawless between the pipes, making 28 saves-including 17 in the third period-and recording her second-consecutive shutout. Corinne Rosen tallied two goals and Shana Frost and Emily Hudak had two assists apiece.

OSU MOVING UP
The Buckeyes are tied with Minnesota and Minnesota-Duluth at the top of the WCHA with four points. Ohio State is 2-0-0 in the WCHA.

WCHA LEADERS
Ohio State players rank among the top in the WCHA.

Point Scoring: GP PPG G-A-P T1. Jeni Creary 2 3.50 3-4-7 T7. Emma Laaksonen 4 1.75 1-6-7

Defense Scoring: GP PPG G-A-P 2. Emma Laaksonen 4 1.75 1-6-7

Goals Against Average: Min. GA GAA 2. April Stojak 119:06 2 1.01

Save Percentage: Saves GA Pct 2. April Stojak 27 2 .949

LAST TIME OUT
NEW HAMPSHIRE – GAME TWO

Ohio State lost to New Hampshire in overtime, 5-4, Saturday in the second game of the two-game series at the OSU Ice Arena.

Ohio State led the Wildcats in the first period. OSU’s Emma Laaksonen scored first goal game and her first on the season 6:18 in the period. The Buckeyes led the Wildcats 2-0. UNH’s Kristi Shaw soon followed scoring their first goal of the game. The period ended with OSU leading UNH, 2-1.

New Hampshire’s Carolyn Gordon scored the only goal of the second period on a power play. Ohio State had one power-play chance and was unable to score. UNH out-shot OSU 13-3 in the second period.

The Wildcats’ Carolyn Gordon took the lead, 3-2 at the beginning of the third period. But, OSU’s Meaghan Mulvaney soon followed tying the game at 3-3. UNH’s Annie Fahlenbock scored the next goal in the period on a power play. Ohio State’s Jeni Creay fought back tying the game at 4-4, forcing the Buckeyes and Wildcats into overtime.

In overtime, Creary took the first shot but UNH’s goalkeeper, Jen Huggon, saved it. New Hampshire’s Gordon came up the middle for the game-winning goal at 3:41 in overtime.

Freshman Natalie Lamme played the full 60 minutes in the net for the Buckeyes, recording 25 saves. UNH’s Jen Huggon played the full 60 minutes, recording 17 saves.

The Buckeyes held UNH on two of its four power-play chances. OSU was 0-for-2 on its power plays. UNH tallied 30 shots and OSU had 21.

NEW HAMPSHIRE – GAME ONE
Ohio State fell to New Hampshire in the home opener, 1-0, Friday in the first game of the two-game series.

New Hampshire’s Kristine Butt scored on a power play 7:45 in the second period. OSU fought back with Emma Laaksonen, Jeni Creary and Meaghan Mulvaney all getting several shots off. The Buckeyes had two power-play chances, but could not get in the net. OSU led UNH 11-7 in shots at the end of the second period.

OSU had several scoring opportunities in the third period. But, the Buckeyes could not get the puck past UNH’s goalkeeper, Jen Huggon. Ohio State pulled its goalkeeper, April Stojak, in an attempt to tie the game with 1:08 remaining. But, Stojak re-entered the game when the Wildcats got a break-away and headed for OSU’s goal with 37 seconds left. Stojak saved the shot and exited the game at 19:34.

OSU’s Stojak played 59:06 of the game, recording 17 saves. She tallied her first loss and is 1-1-0 on the season.

The Buckeyes were 0-for-3 on the power play. They held UNH on three of its four power-play chances. OSU out shot UNH 28-18.

STARS OF THE GAME
Emma Laaksonen was named the No. 3 star of the game Friday and Jeni Creary was named the No. 3 star of the game Saturday by the OSU Sports Information Office.

FIRST GOALS OF THE SEASON
Emma Laaksonen, Christine Patno and Meaghan Mulvaney each tallied their first goal of the season in game two against New Hampshire.

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Ohio State sophomore Jeni Creary was named the WCHA offensive player of the week for the conference for the week ending Oct. 13.

Creary is tied for first in the WCHA in point scoring with seven points and 3.50 points per game in conference games. Creary leads OSU in scoring with seven points after the first weekend of the regular season.

“Jeni had a very solid weekend and generated a lot of scoring opportunities, particularly in our power plays,” Jackie Barto, OSU head coach, said. “Jeni capitalized on her many scoring opportunities.”

OFF TO A STRONG START
Three Buckeyes had two-goal games in the MSU, Mankato series: Jana Harrigan, Jeanne Chapple and Jeni Creary.

SOPHOMORE SENSATION
Sophomore Jeni Creary leads OSU in scoring with nine points. Creary has four goals and five assists already this season.

FABULOUS FROSH
Jana Harrigan has played in four games and recorded three goals and one assist already this season.

LEADING THE D
Emma Laaksonen leads the Buckeye penalty-killing unit as it held MSU scoreless on seven of its eight power plays Oct. 11 and shut out all eight power plays Oct. 12. She leads the team with six assists in four games.

IN THE NET
Ohio State’s goaltenders are senior April Stojak (1-1-0) and freshman Natalie Lamme (1-1-0). Stojak has played 119:06 minutes recording 37 saves, a .949 save percentage. Lamme has played 125 minutes recording 53 saves, a .898 save percentage.

BRAND NEW BUCKEYES
All three Buckeye newcomers saw action against MSU, Mankato, with Jana Harrigan scoring points. Crystal Sayther and Katie Sershen recorded playing time in both games.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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 travels to Bemidji, Minn. when it takes on the Bemidji State Beavers at 8:05 p.m. Friday and 5:05 p.m. EDT Saturday in the John S. Glas Fieldhouse.