Oct. 15, 2002
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The Ohio State men’s hockey team (0-1-0, 0-0-0 CCHA) travels to Fairbanks, Alaska, for a two-game series with the Nanooks of Alaska Fairbanks (1-1-0, 0-0-0 CCHA) this weekend. The squads will face off at 11:05 p.m. EDT Friday (Oct. 18) and Saturday (Oct. 19) in the Carlson Center in Fairbanks. The series will be the first CCHA action for both teams this season.
The OSU vs. Alaska Fairbanks games will not be broadcast on WOSU. The game will be broadcast by KSUA in Fairbanks and can be heard online by going to http://home.gci.net/~uafhockey/radio.html and following the links.
About the Rink
The Carlson Center, with a seating capacity of 4,324, is an Olympic-size rink, measuring 200′ x 100′. Value City Arena and the majority of the rinks in the CCHA measure 200′ x 85′. The Buckeyes also will play on Olympic size ice at Northern Michigan this season.
The Series Vs. Alaska Fairbanks
Ohio State trails the all-time series against Alaska Fairbanks, 12-13-1. In Fairbanks, the Nanooks lead the series, 10-5-0.
The 2001-02 Series
The Buckeyes and Nanooks met three times last season, with UAF winning 2-of-3 games. The squads met in Fairbanks, with UAF sweeping the Buckeyes by scores of 6-3 and 6-1. The teams then met in the quarterfinals of the CCHA Super Six in Detroit, with Ohio State posting a 6-5 overtime come-from-behind win.
The Last Meeting
Ohio State scored the last three goals of the game, including the overtime gamewinner by Chris Olsgard, to come back and defeat Alaska Fairbanks, 6-5, March 15 in the CCHA quarterfinals at Joe Louis Arena. The Buckeyes jumped out to a two-goal lead on tallies by Daymen Bencharski and Miguel Lafleche before the Nanooks scored twice to end the first period tied at two. The squads traded goals in the second, with Bencharski scoring again for OSU. In the third, the Nanooks scored two goals within 20 seconds to go up, 5-3. The Buckeyes got within one, 5-4, when Jason Crain tipped in a Lafleche pass at 10:45. The Nanooks had a goal disallowed at 14:13, because Aaron Voros, the goal scorer, was in the crease, that would have put them up, 6-4. The Buckeyes tied the game at 16:39 when Paul Caponigri skated out from behind the net and stuffed the puck in the net between McKay’s pad and the post. Olsgard scored unassisted 5:01 into the overtime stanza to give the Buckeyes the win.
A Look at the Nanooks
Alaska Fairbanks is 1-1-0 on the year after splitting a two-game series on the road at Alaska Anchorage. UAF lost the first game, 4-2, before rebounding for a 4-0 victory in the finale.
The squad was 22-12-3 last year and finished fourth in the CCHA with a mark of 15-10-3. Among the returning leading scorers are junior Bobby Andrews (16-20-36 in 2001-02), Cam Keith (11-22-36) and sophomore Aaron Voros (18-12-30). In net, goalies Preston McKay and Lance Mayes also return.
The Nanook Coach
Guy Gadowsky is in his fourth season at the helm of the Nanooks. He enters the series vs. OSU with a school and career record of 38-57-14.
The games this weekend will be the first in cluster play for both the Buckeyes and Nanooks. Those teams join Nebraska-Omaha and Miami in a CCHA scheduling cluster this season. Teams in the same cluster face each other four times a season – twice at home and twice on the road – and the other league teams twice.
We’ll Meet Again
The Buckeyes and Nanooks will close the regular-season series with two games at Value City Arena in Columbus Feb. 21 (7:05 p.m.) and 22 (8:05 p.m.).
Scoring vs. the Nanooks
Daymen Bencharski (3-1), R.J. Umberger (2-2-) and Paul Caponigri (1-3) all have posted four career points against Alaska Fairbanks to lead the Buckeyes.
Will History Repeat Itself?
Ohio State opened CCHA play on the road against Alaska Fairbanks in the 1999-00 season. The squads split that series, with the Buckeyes posting a 4-2 win in the opener and the Nanooks rebounding for a 5-1 victory in the finale.
OSU vs. UAF Lately
In the last 10 games between Ohio State and Alaska Fairbanks, the series is tied at five wins each. The Buckeyes stopped a three-game UAF win streak with their victory in the CCHA tournament last season.
The University of Alaska Fairbanks has an enrollment of 8,468. It originally was founded in 1917 as a land-grant college when Alaska still was a territory. Today it is the northern-most Land, Sea and Space Grant institution in the United State. The 2,250 acre campus is situated on a ridge overlooking the Tanana River valley and the city of Fairbanks, with Mt. McKinley on the horizon.
A Little About Fairbanks, Alaska
Fairbanks, Alaska, located 3,029 miles from Columbus, Ohio, is the second largest city in Alaska. It is located in the interior of the state and the population of the city is over 30,000. The city was incorporated Nov. 10, 1903.
What’s a Nanook?
Nanook means polar bear in Inupiaq Eskimo.
OSU’s Last Time Out
The Buckeyes were defeated by No. 1 ranked and defending NCAA champion Minnesota, 7-2, Oct. 12 in the Hall of Fame Game at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn. The Gophers scored the first seven goals of the game, including five power-play tallies, for the win. R.J. Umberger and Lee Spector scored for the Buckeyes.
Lee Spector scored his first career goal against the Gophers. He played in six games last season, posting one assist.
R.J. Umberger scored shorthanded against Minnesota, the second shorthanded tally of his Buckeye career. In the last two seasons, the Buckeyes have combined for just seven shorthanded goals (three in 2001, four in 2002) and no Buckeye has scored more than one in a season. The OSU record for shorthanded goals by one player in a year is six, set by Phil Cadman in 1991, and the team season record is 16, set in 1982.
Following their loss to Minnesota, the Buckeyes fell from the Top 15 in both the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine and uscho.com polls. The Buckeyes now are receiving votes in both polls. Three CCHA schools in the Top 15 – No. 9/6 Michigan, No. 10 Michigan State and No. 14 Northern Michigan.
Goalie Mike Betz made 44 saves against Minnesota, the third highest total in his OSU career. His career high is 58, set on the road against Maine Oct. 27, 2000. Last year, Betz had 45 saves against New Hampshire in the Dodge Dealers of New England Conference Classic Nov. 24, 2001. Betz needs 17 saves to tie Bob Krautsak (1983-86) for 10th all-time in career saves at OSU.
Home Sweet Home
After the trip to face off against Alaska Fairbanks Nanooks, the Buckeyes will open their home slate in Value City Arena with a two-game series against Clarkson. The squads will meet at 7:05 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25 and at 3:05 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 27.
Both Buckeye goals against Minnesota were scored unassisted. Last season, the team had just six unassisted goals. Miguel Lafleche had one in the first game of the season (Oct. 20) and the squad did not have another until 23 games (and three months) later against Yale (Jan. 20). The Buckeyes’ most important goal of the season was scored unassisted, when Chris Olsgard picked up the puck in the neutral zone and scored against Alaska Fairbanks to win the game in overtime in the CCHA quarterfinals.
The Buckeyes were picked fourth in both the CCHA preseason coaches and media polls. The polls, which were identical, had Michigan first.
The complete polls:
2. Michigan State
3. Northern Michigan
4. Ohio State
6. Alaska Fairbanks
7. Notre Dame
8. Western Michigan
9. Ferris State
11. Bowling Green
12. Lake Superior State
Looking for Two
Buckeye junior Scott May has 48 points in his career, just two away from the 50-point mark. In his career, May has 21-27-48 totals in 78 games. He has not missed a game as a Buckeye.
2 x 2 x 2 x 2 …
The Buckeyes have gone 75 regular-season games without a hat trick. Last year, a Buckeye scored two goals in a game 17 times. R.J. Umberger ranked first with five, followed by Paul Caponigri and Daymen Bencharski with three and Dave Steckel with two. Mike McCormick, Pete Broccoli, JB Bittner and Scott May each have one two-goal game. The last Buckeye hat trick was Oct. 21, 2000.
The Buckeyes’ first win this season will be the 600th in program history. OSU is 599-644-86 all-time.
In The Books
Mike Betz ranks eighth in the Buckeyes all-time goalie wins list with 36. His 20 wins last season tied for fourth most in a single season in OSU history with Jeff Maund. It was just the fifth 20-win season for an OSU goalie in program history.
This Summer …
Junior Scott May (seventh round, Toronto Maple Leafs),sophomore John Toffey (ninth round, Tampa Bay Lightning) andfreshman Nate Guenin (fourth round, New York Rangers) all wereselected in the NHL Entry Draft. Junior Mike Betz traveled toTanzania with a group to help build schools, among other volunteeractivities. Freshman goalie Dave Caruso participated in the NHLAtlanta Thrashers Prospects Camp.
In The Hockey News (Oct. 11 edition), the Buckeyes were picked to finish third in the CCHA. In addition, junior R.J. Umberger was predicted second as the league MVP and Mike Betz was No. 3 among the league’s top goalies. Buckeye freshman Ryan Kesler was selected as the No. 1 2003 NHL draft prospect in the league. Umberger was tied for second among the top NHL drafted players.
Senior defenseman Scott Titus will serve as the captain for the Buckeyes this season. Senior defenseman Eric Skaug and junior center R.J. Umberger will be the alternate captains for the squad.
The Leaders Return
Seven of the Buckeyes Top 9 scorers from last season are back for the squad. Among the returnees is R.J. Umberger, who led the squad in goals (18), assists (21) and points (39). Paul Capongri (13-17) and Scott May (12-18) tied for second with 30 points and are back, as is Daymen Bencharski who was fourth with 25 points and ranked second with 15 goals. Dave Steckel, who led the team in penalties (32) and penalty minutes (75) also returns. Goalie Mike Betz, who posted a goals-against average of 2.60 and a save percentage of .900 while playing in every game, also is back.
This season, there are five Buckeyes on the roster who have been selected in the NHL Entry Draft.
Juniors Dave Steckel (1st round, Los Angeles Kings) and R.J. Umberger (1st round, Vancouver Canucks) were selected in the 2001 draft and Nate Guenin (4th round, New York Rangers), Scott May (7th round, Toronto Maple Leafs and John Toffey (9th round, Tampa Bay Lightning) were drafted this past summer. Umberger is the highest draft pick in Ohio State history, as he was selected with the 16th overall pick.
The Results Are In
The NCAA compiled all-time national statistics for Division I hockey over the summer and former Buckeye Paul Pooley is ranked in a number of categories. Pooley is 11th in assists in a season (64), tied for 19th in points in a season (96), tied for 20th in career points (270), 26th in career assists (156) and tied for 28th in career goals (114). Pooley, who played for Ohio State from 1981-84, was the national and CCHA player of the year in 1984.
Fifth-year senior Ryan Smith, who spent the majority of his Buckeye career as a forward, will play defense for the squad this season. In 2001-02, Smith played two games at defense, posting an even rating.
Among the Best
Junior R.J. Umberger ranks fourth in scoring among players returning to the CCHA this season. Last year, the Buckeye ended the year tied for eighth with 39 points. Michigan’s John Shouneyia, who was second last season, is the top returning scorer with 50 points a year ago.
A Look Back
Last season, the Buckeyes ended the year 20-16-4 overall and tied for seventh in the CCHA with a mark of 12-12-4. The team had an outstanding run in the CCHA tournament, upsetting Western Michigan on the road to advance to the CCHA Super Six at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. In the quarterfinals, OSU scored the last three goals of the game, including Chris Olsgard’s overtime winner, to top Alaska Fairbanks, 6-5. The Buckeyes’ season ended with a 2-1 overtime loss to Michigan in the CCHA semifinals.