Nov. 16, 2006

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s hockey team has signed five student-athletes to National Letters of Intent for the 2007-08 season, head coach John Markell announced Thursday. The five recruits include two Ohio natives and one from Pennsylvania, New York and Virginia. Four of the five currently play in the United States Hockey League (USHL), while the fifth is a member of the U.S. National Development Team.

John Albert, a native of Concord, Ohio, is in his second year with the U.S. National Team Development Program. The 5-feet-10-inch, 179-pound left-shooting forward is a member of the U.S. National Under-18 team this season. Albert has scored 12 points in 16 games with his nine assists tying for third-highest on the team. Albert and the U-18 team most recently competed in the 2006 Four Nations Tournament where he recorded an assist. In the 2005-06 season with the U-17 team, Albert had 46 points on 16 goals and 30 assists in 55 games to finish second on the team in scoring. The U-17 team won the North American Hockey League North Division regular-season championship. Albert also helped Team USA earn the silver medal at the 2006 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge where he recorded nine points (1g, 8a) in seven games. The team finished first at the 2005 Four Nations Challenge and the Vlad Druzilla Tournament.

“John is a very talented play-making center,” Markell said. “He has a history of producing offensively. His experience with the U-18 team should make an impact with us next season. He has put up numbers comparable with other Buckeyes who have come out of the Nation Team Development Program.”

Hilliard, Ohio-native Patrick Schafer is a 5-10, 180-pound right-shooting forward in his second season with the Omaha Lancers of the USHL. He is the first Columbus native to join the Ohio State men’s hockey team during Markell’s 12-year tenure. Schafer is a teammate of fellow OSU signee Corey Toy. In his first season with the Lancers, Schafer played in 36 games with four goals and five assists for nine points. He has added an assist through 12 games this season. “We are excited to add our first local guy to the team,” Markell said. “Patrick is a high-energy player who will provide a spark on the ice and add depth to the forwards.”

Shane Sims, of East Amherst, N.Y., is a 6-1, 195-pound defenseman in his second season with the USHL’s Des Moines Buccaneers. Sims helped Des Moines win the 2006 Clark Cup, the national championship of Tier 1 junior hockey, and was named to the USHL All-Rookie team for his efforts. In 59 games last season, he scored 10 goals and added 12 assists to finish second on the team in defenseman scoring. Thirteen of his 22 points were on the power play, including seven goals. Sims was selected in the fifth round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Islanders. He has six points (3g, 3a) through 11 games this season with the Buccaneers and recently was named USHL/Bankers Trust Defensive Player of the Week (Nov. 7).

“Shane is a complete defenseman,” Markell said. “He played a key role on a championship team as a rookie. He has a big shot and good vision. He will be a great addition to our team in special team situations.”

Sergio Somma, a 5-9, 184-pound forward from Pittsburgh, Pa., is in his second season with the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL. In 2005-06, Somma was fourth on the team in scoring with 46 points and tied for third with 20 goals. Eight of his goals were on the power play and he totaled 22 points with the man-advantage. Through 11 games this year, Somma leads the Gamblers with nine goals and ranks third with 12 points. He has a USHL-best seven power play goals.

“Sergio has a great shot,” Markell said. “He is a prolific goal scorer and will add to our power play. He has the possibility of making an impact right away with the Buckeyes.”

Defenseman Corey Toy is a 6-0, 200-pound native of Fairfax, Va., who currently plays for the Omaha Lancers with Schafer. Toy is in his third season at Omaha and has totaled five goals and 15 assists for 20 points in 111 career games with the Lancers. A defensive defenseman, he has a career rating of plus-17 with 163 penalty minutes.

“Corey is a prototypical defensive defenseman. He is very physical,” Markell said. “We are looking for him to step in and have an impact physically. He has played a pivotal role with the Lancers and is constantly matching up against opponents’ best offensive players.”