Jan. 17, 2001
(11-10-1, 8-7-1 CCHA)
Friday-Saturday, Jan. 19-20, 7:05 p.m.
Joyce Center (2,713)
Notre Dame, Ind.
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Buckeyes and Fighting Irish face off in Notre Dame, Ind. at 7:05 p.m. Friday and Saturday for the first of four meetings this season. Ohio State (11-10-1, 8-7-1 CCHA) is coming off a split with No. 8 Michigan, while Notre Dame (5-16-4, 3-10-3 CCHA) went 1-0-1 with No. 5 Western Michigan in its last series.
The games vs. Notre Dame can be heard live on WOSU (820 AM) and at ohiostatebuckeyes.com. Herb Howenstine will call the action while John Mowat will provide the color commentary.
The OSU – ND Series
Notre Dame leads the all-time series, 21-14-3, including a mark of 12-5-0 in games played in Notre Dame. However, the Buckeyes have won nine of the last 12 meetings. Ohio State head coach John Markell has a career record of 8-5-1 vs. the Fighting Irish.
The 1999-00 Series
Ohio State and Notre Dame split a two-game series in Columbus last season. The Buckeyes won the first night, 3-1, before the Fighting Irish won in overtime, 2-1, in the finale. In the second game, OSU’s Eric Meloche was awarded a penalty shot with 16 seconds remaining in regulation but missed to send the game to overtime. ND’s Dan Carlson scored the game-winner with less than a minute remaining in overtime.
It’s Been a While
The Buckeyes have not traveled to Notre Dame in over two years. Ohio State lost, 3-0, in the last meeting on the road (Oct. 22, 1998). Only seven of 24 current Buckeyes were members of that squad.
Scouting Notre Dame
The Irish have posted a mark of 5-16-4 overall this season. The squad was 2-2-1 to begin the season but then won just four times in its last 16 outings, including a nine-game winless streak (0-7-2). However, the squad is coming off a 1-0-1 weekend vs. No. 5 Western Michigan. Dan Carlson leads the Irish in assists (16) and points (25). Ryan Dolder ranks first with 10 goals and is second with 22 points. David Iman has tallied four power-play goals. Jeremiah Kimento has started 10 games in goal, posting a 3.30 goals-against average. Tony Zasowski has started 12 games, compiling a 3.70 GAA.
Ohio State and Notre Dame faced off in the last two games played in the OSU Ice Rink, Dec. 4-5, 1998. The Buckeyes posted wins (4-3, 4-1) in both games.
The Notre Dame Coach
Dave Poulin, a four-year starter at Notre Dame, is in his sixth season at the helm of his alma mater. He competed in the National Hockey League for 12 seasons, spending time with the Philadelphia Flyers, Boston Bruins and Washington Capitals. He has compiled a mark of 76-115-26 in his five-plus seasons with the Irish.
ND’s Last Outing
The Fighting Irish went 1-0-1 in a home-and-home series with No. 5 Western Michigan Jan. 12-13. Notre Dame posted a 3-1 win at home the first night, led by Aaron Gill’s two goals. The squads tied, 3-3, the next night in Kalamazoo. Notre Dame’s Ryan Dolder scored a short-handed goal 6:04 into the third period for the final score.
In The League
The Irish rank 11th in the CCHA in goals per game with an average of 2.48 and 12th in goals allowed per game (3.52).
Notre Dame’s special teams have been struggling this season, as it ranks last among CCHA teams in power play percentage (10.4 percent). The squad has stopped 118 of 146 opponent chances with the man advantage (80.8 percent).
Ohio State’s Dave Steckel and R.J. Umberger were teammates with Notre Dame’s Connor Dunlop and Rob Globke on the U.S. Junior National Team that competed in the World Junior Championships. In addition, Steckel, Umberger and Globke, as well as ND’s Brett Ledba and Neil Komadoski, were all teammates on the Under-18 team in the U.S. Development Program last season.
More Former Teammates
Ohio State redshirt sophomore forward Ryan Smith and Notre Dame junior goaltender Jeremiah Kimento were teammates on the Danville Wings of the North American Hockey League prior to college.
The Ratings Are In
Ohio State freshman R.J. Umberger was the fourth-rated North American, and top American and collegiate, skater in the NHL Central Scouting Service Mid-Season Rankings. Teammate Dave Steckel is ranked No. 25, the fifth collegian overall.
Keep It Going
Dave Steckel had an assist on R.J. Umberger’s third-period goal in the second game vs. Michigan to extend his team-best scoring streak to 12 games. He had tallied eight goals and 10 assist for 18 points during the streak.
Ohio State’s Last Outing
The Buckeyes split a two-game home series with Michigan Jan. 12-13. The Buckeyes won, 3-1, the first night, as Miguel Lafleche, Doug Andress and Dave Steckel scored for the Buckeyes. Steckel also added an assist
The next night, Michigan defeated the Buckeyes, 6-2. R.J. Umberger led Ohio State with a goal and an assist in the loss.
The Crowd Goes Wild
The Buckeyes averaged 13,303 fans in the two-game series vs. Michigan last weekend. In the second game, 13,308 fans packed the arena, the fifth-largest crowd in Value City history.
In the Buckeyes’ 10 losses this season, the average margin of victory for the opponent is 1.9. The squad has had five one-goal losses. Ohio State has lost by three or more goals three times this season, suffering its worst loss (four goals) in the second game against Michigan.
Start Me Up
Miguel Lafleche scored the first goal of the game in the first game against Michigan. Of his four goals this season, three have been the opening score of the game. He also tallied first against Cornell and Clarkson in the Everblades College Classic.
On the PP
After going two games without a power-play goal, the Buckeyes have scored with the man advantage in three-consecutive games.
Through 21 games this season, the Buckeyes have tallied 77 goals. In all 36 games last season, Ohio State scored 80 times.
A Year Ago
Through 22 games this season, the Buckeyes are performing better in a number of categories compared to the same number of games last season.
Category 1999-00 2000-01 Record 7-13-2 11-10-1 Goals/game 2.3 3.5 Goals Alld/gm 3.3 2.9 Goals 50 77 Shots 570 645 Shooting % 8.8% 11.9% PP 19/142 21/129 PP % 13.4% 16.3% PK 121/151 105/127 PP % 80.1% 82.7% PIM/game 24.0 20.4
One area that is the same as last season is Jean-Francois Dufour’s scoring. He has led the squad with 24 points in 22 games both this season and a year ago. The only difference is his 10 goals and 14 assists this season, compared to 9 goals and 15 helpers last year.
Jean-Francois Dufour leads the Buckeyes in assists and points and is tied for the goal-scoring lead. He has 10 goals, 14 assists and 23 points. Last season he ranked first on the squad with 35 points (13-22). He also ranks first with five power-play tallies and is first with 66 shots on goal.
The Other Leader
Dave Steckel is tied with Jean-Francois Dufour with 10 goals this season. He leads the team in plus/minus rating (+10) and penalty minutes (48). Steckel also is first in shooting percentage (23.8 percent), converting 10-of-42 shots.
Give Me an “A”
Senior Jaisen Freeman and junior Nick Ganga have been named alternate captains for the rest of the season for the Buckeyes. Senior Jean-Francois Dufour will continue to serve as the team’s captain.
So far this season, nine Buckeyes have recorded 10 or more points: Jean-Francois Dufour (24), Dave Steckel (21), R.J. Umberger (20), Paul Caponigri (17), Nick Ganga (16), Mike McCormick (13), Doug Andress (12) and Scott May (10). At the end of last season only nine Buckeyes had reached double-digits in points and only two (Dufour and Eric Meloche) posted 20 or more for the season.
Offense and Defense
In overall games, the Buckeyes rank third in team offense (3.50 goals per game) and fifth in team defense (2.86 gapg). In league games, Ohio State ranks fourth in offense (3.06gpg) and fifth in defense (2.81 gapg). The squad ranks 18th in the nation in scoring offense and 20th in scoring defense.
The second Western Michigan series (Jan. 5-6) was the first time this season the Buckeyes did not earn at least two points in a two-game conference series. The squad earned four points at Lake Superior (2-0), three points at Ferris State (1-0-1) and two points vs. UAF (1-1), Bowling Green (1-1), Michigan (1-1), Northern Michigan (1-1) and in the first series with WMU (1-1).
Ohio State will end its second season series with a cluster opponent after it faces Notre Dame in its next four outings. The Buckeyes went 1-3 against Western Michigan in its first four-game series with a member of its scheduling cluster. Ohio State will face Miami, the last member of the cluster, in two home-and-home series (Feb. 9-10, Feb. 27 and March 2).
Getting to Know You
The Buckeyes next four games all will be against the Fighting Irish. Following an off-week for Ohio State, Notre Dame will travel to Columbus for a two-game series (Feb. 2-3). Notre Dame plays three games between the two series with the Buckeyes.
In 20 games this season, Daymen Bencharski has not recorded a plus/minus rating below even. He is +6 this season.
That’s All Folks
Reed Whiting posted an assist in the second game against Michigan for his first career point. Every Buckeye who has played this season (not including Scott Titus, who is redshirting and only saw action in one game) has posted at least one point. Ryan Smith and Whiting are the only Buckeyes who have not tallied a goal this season.
By the Classes
The 10 freshmen that have played for Ohio State this season have combined to record almost half of the Buckeyes’ scoring output. The rookies have 93 of OSU’s 203 points (45.8 percent). The senior class is second with 44 points (21.7 percent). The five juniors have 37 points (18.2 percent) and the six sophomores have 29 points (14.3 percent).
The League Standings
The Buckeyes are tied with three other teams (Nebraska Omaha, Miami and Northern Michigan) for fourth place in the CCHA with 17 points each. Those squads are four points out of second place, currently occupied by Michigan and Western Michigan. Notre Dame is in last place in the league, one point out of 11th and two points out of the final playoff berth.
Goals by the Classes
Of the 77 goals Ohio State has scored this season, the freshmen have 38 tallies to rank first. The senior class has tallied 15 goals while the juniors are just behind with 14 goals. The sophomore class has contributed 10 goals this season.
Of the five goals scored against Michigan last weekend, the Buckeyes’ freshmen contributed four. Doug Andress, Dave Steckel, Scott May and R.J. Umberger all tallied for Ohio State.
The Second is Best
Ohio State has scored more goals, and outscored its opponents by a larger margin, in the second period than in any other stanza this season. The squad has 31 tallies in the second stanza and has allowed 21 goals. The Buckeyes have outscored their opponents 18-16 in the first period, 25-24 in the third period and 3-2 in overtime.
Five current Buckeyes (six overall) have posted 10 or more assists this season. Jean-Francois Dufour leads the Buckeyes with 14 assists, while Paul Caponigri, Mike McCormick, Dave Steckel and R.J. Umberger have 11 assists each. At the end of last season, only six Buckeyes had posted 10 or more helpers.
Proving Them Wrong
Ohio State is tied for fourth place in the league standings. In both the coaches and media preseason polls, the Buckeyes were chosen to finish 10th.
Dave Steckel ranks second among CCHA rookies in scoring with 21 points this season. R.J. Umberger is third with 20 points, Paul Caponigri is fifth with 17 points and Doug Andress is 10th (third among freshmen defenders).
Stay Out of the Box
Ohio State is 5-2 when its opponents compile more penalty minutes this season. When the Buckeyes are in the penalty box more than their opponents, the squad is 6-6. The Buckeyes when 0-2-1 when each team had the same number of penalties.
Keeping it Cleaner
The Buckeyes took 18 or less penalty minutes in six of the last eight games, below their season average of 20.4 penalty minutes per game. In the other two games, both against Western Michigan, Ohio State was assessed 38 and 50 penalty minutes.
Jean-Francois Dufour is fourth among CCHA seniors with 24 points. He is tied for 9th in all games and eighth (tied) in conference games in scoring.
Keeping the Shots Down
Ohio State has only allowed more than 30 shots three times in its last 14 games. The Buckeyes are 8-5-1 when allowing 30 or less shots on goal and 3-5 when giving up 31 or more. The Buckeyes have lost just once (4-1) when allowing 11-20 shots on goal.
6 x 6
The Buckeyes have six games left at home and six games left on the road in the regular season. Ohio State is 5-5-0 at home in Value City Arena, 6-3-1 on the road and 0-2-0 on neutral ice.
The Story of the Season
The Buckeyes are 7-2 in the first game of their nine two-game series this season. However, the squad has posted a mark of 2-6-1 in the final game of those series, including one overtime win and one overtime loss.
Dave Steckel and Nick Ganga lead the Buckeyes with two game-winning goals each. Of the Buckeyes’ 11 game-winning tallies this season, freshmen have accounted for six of them, as R.J. Umberger, Chris Olsgard, Scott May and Doug Andress also have GWGs. Andress also tallied the game-tying goal against Ferris State.
Down to the Wire
Three of the Buckeyes’ 10 wins this season have come in overtime. Of those wins, all three game-winners have been scored with less than one minute remaining in the overtime period. Against Maine (Oct. 27), Scott May scored with 48 seconds remaining to lift OSU over the Black Bears, 3-2, in Orono, Maine. On the road at Lake Superior, Dave Steckel tallied with 31 seconds left to give the Buckeyes the win. Pete Broccoli scored with 26 seconds left in overtime against Bowling Green (Nov. 19).
Noting the D
Every current Buckeye defenseman who has played at least two games has an even or better plus-minus rating this season.
Eric Skaug +7 Jaisen Freeman +6 Doug Andress +2 Pete Broccoli +2 Jason Crain +2 Reed Whiting +2
So far this season, the Buckeyes have had 10 total three-point performances recorded by six players. R.J. Umberger leads the way with four. Nick Ganga ranks second with two. Paul Caponigri, Jean-Francois Dufour and Dave Steckel each have had one three-point outing so far this season.
After a week off, the Buckeyes will return to Value City Arena for two more games with Notre Dame. Ohio State and the Fighting Irish will meet at 7:35 p.m. Friday, Feb. 2 and at 7:05 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 3.