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Oct. 15, 2002

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s ice hockey team returns to Columbus for its home opener against New Hampshire at 7:05 p.m. Friday and 4:05 p.m. Saturday at the OSU Ice Arena in Columbus, Ohio.

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
The Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) announced Ohio State sophomore Jeni Creary has been named the offensive player of the week for the conference for the week ending Oct. 13.

Creary leads 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.”

BUCKEYES VS. WILDCATS
Ohio State and New Hampshire will be meeting for the seventh time. The Buckeyes trail the all-time series 1-6-0. OSU defeated UNH, 4-3, in game one of the two-game series (Oct. 19 and 20) last season. The Buckeyes lost in overtime, 3-4, in game two.

SCOUTING NEW HAMPSHIRE
New Hampshire finished the 2001-02 season with a 19-12-5 record including a 11-6-4 mark in the ECAC Eastern League. New Hampshire is competing in the Women’s Hockey East Association this season. The Wildcats competed in the ECAC Eastern League a year ago and were in the ECAC from 1984-2001. UNH returns 20 letterwinners, including all three goaltenders and six defensemen from last year’s squad. Leading scorer and Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award candidate Kira Misikowetz has been lost to graduation, but the other 10 skaters who recorded double digits in points return for the 2002-03 season. Overall, the 17 returning skaters accounted for 86 of 102 goals and 125 of 157 assists, which is 211 of 259 points.

UNH dominated play and generated a 53-13 shot advantage to defeat Vermont, 4-0, Friday. Kristine Butt, Debbie Bernhard, Allison Edgar and Kristen Thomas recorded one goal each.

UNH HEAD COACH
The Wildcat squad is led by first-year head coach Brian McCloskey, who was an associate head coach with the UNH men’s hockey team from 1999-2002. McCloskey, who earned a B.A. in international relations at Dartmouth in 1977, had been the UNH men’s hockey top assistant and recruiting coordinator for a total of 10 seasons as he was an associate coach from 1992-97 and 1998-2002.

OSU MOVING UP
The Buckeyes moved to the top of the WCHA conference standings with four points this week after two games.

WCHA LEADERS
Ohio State players lead the charts in every conference category.

Point Scoring: GP PPG G-A-P 1. Jeni Creary 2 3.50 3-4-7 2. Emma Laaksonen 2 2.50 0-5-5 3. Jana Harrigan 2 1.50 3-0-3 Jeanne Chapple 2 1.50 2-1-3 Emily Hudak 2 1.50 0-3-3

Defenseman Scoring: GP PPG G-A-P 1. Emma Laaksonen 2 2.50 0-5-5 2. Emily Hudak 2 1.50 0-3-3

Goals Against Average: Min. GA GAA 1. April Stojak 60:00 1 1.00 Natalie Lamme 60:00 1 1.00

Save Percentage: Saves GA Pct 1. Natalie Lamme 28 1 .966 2. April Stojak 20 1 .952

LAST TIME OUT
MSU – GAME TWO

Ohio State defeated MSU, 3-1, Saturday. The Buckeyes lead the series 13-0-1 all-time.

“I am pleased with our team’s effort this weekend,” Jackie Barto, OSU head coach, said. “Going into a two-game series on the road is always tought but we managed to over come MSU’s home court advantage. I am especially pleased with the performance of our special teams.”

Jeni Creary tallied two goals including the game-winning goal. Jana Harrigan scored on a power play 7:24 in the third period.

Natalie Lamme played the full game in net, recording 28 saves.

The Buckeyes were 2-for-5 on the power play. They shut out MSU on all eight of its power-play chances.

MSU – GAME ONE
OSU defeated MSU, 6-1, Friday in game one of the two-game series. Junior Jeanne Chapple recorded two goals against the Mavericks.

“We improved as a team over the course of the game,” Jackie Barto, OSU head coach, said. “One of our goals is to improve every time we take the ice. The victory was a balanced effort by the whole team.”

Jana Harrigan and Chapple recorded two goals each. Jeni Creary and Shana Frost tallied one goal each.

The Buckeyes were 5-for-7 on the power play. They held the Mavericks on seven of their eight power-play chances. OSU finished the game with 27 shots and nine penalties. Mankato had 21 shots and eight penalties.

Senior April Stojak recorded her first win of the season. Stojak played all 60:00 recording 20 saves.

LAST MEETING AGAINST NEW HAMPSHIRE
Seconds made all the difference, as the Ohio State women’s hockey team fell to No. 6 New Hampshire, 4-3, Oct. 20, 2001 in overtime at the Whittemore Center. UNH’s Steph Jones scored the game-tying and game-winning goals for the Wildcats, the equalizer coming with just 36 seconds remaining in the third period and the game winner with 55 seconds to go in overtime.

Ohio State dominated play in the first period, causing more turnovers than UNH, winning more battles in the corners and picking up most of the loose pucks. At 10:13, Creary put the Buckeyes on the board. Desson found Shana Frost who located Creary in front of the Wildcat net. Creary flicked a shot to the upper left corner.

UNH scored two goals in the first half of the second stanza. The first UNH goal came at 5:01 in the second. The Wildcats took a 2-1 lead when Kira Misikowetz scored a power-play goal at 9:27. Ohio State took advantage of its fourth power-play opportunity of the game. Erin O’Grady got a pass off to Desson, who took a shot on net from UNH goalie Jen Huggon’s left side. Jeanne Chapple was ready for the rebound and fired off a shot into the open net at 11:30. The score remained tied at two going into the second intermission.

Emma Laaksonen scored what nearly was the game winner at 12:33 in the third. Creary lingered to the right of the UNH net before sending a perfectly-placed pass to Laaksonen who tapped in her first goal of the season. The Buckeyes held onto their lead until 19:24 in the third, when Jones launched a shot into OSU goalie April Stojak’s glove. Stojak was unable to hold on and the puck bounced out and into the back of the net, sending the game into overtime.

Jones’ second goal of the game won it for UNH with 55 seconds to go in the five-minute sudden victory overtime period.

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 seven points after the first weekend of the regular season. Creary recorded one goal and three assists as she dominated the MSU defense in the opener. She led the Buckeyes with two goals and one assist Saturday in the 3-1 win. At the end of the first period, Emily Hudak and Emma Laaksonen set Creary up for a shot into the right corner of the net. Creary recorded her second goal of the game late in the second period from an assist by Laaksonen. She ended the series with 13 shots.

FABULOUS FROSH
Jana Harrigan has played in two games and recorded three goals already this season. Harrigan scored two goals Friday and one goal Saturday.

LEADING THE D
Emma Laaksonen leads the team with five assists in two games. Laaksonen recorded three assists Friday. She led the Buckeye penalty-killing unit as it held MSU scoreless on seven of its eight power plays. Laaksonen tallied two assists Saturday and shut out all eight power plays.

IN THE NET
Ohio State’s goaltenders are senior April Stojak and freshman Natalie Lamme. Stojak started game one against MSU, Mankato, recording 20 saves and the win. Lamme started game two making 28 stop.

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.

STARS OF THE GAME
Jeni Creary was named the No. 1 star of the game Friday by the MSU and OSU Sports Information Offices.

Craig Roberts, U.S. College Hockey Online WCHA Women’s Correspondent, named Creary the No. 1 and Emma Laaksonen the No. 2 star of the game Saturday.

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 takes on No. 2 Minnesota at 7:05 p.m. Oct. 25 and 26 at the OSU Ice Arena in Columbus, Ohio.