Oct. 18, 1999

%^$The Ohio State hockey team (2-3-0, 1-3-0), after being swept by Western Michigan last weekend, will try to snap a three game losing streak when it battles Michigan State in a two-game series starting Friday night at 7:06 p.m. The teams will face off again Saturday at 7:05 p.m. Both games will be played in Munn Ice Arena (6,170). %^$

%^$Ohio State will make its first of three regular season appearances on Fox Sports Net Detroit this Friday against the Spartans. At the time of this release, it had not been determined if Fox Sports Net Ohio would carry the game. Josh Lewin (play-by-play) and Billy Jaffe (color) will handle the commentating duties, while Jim Blaney will report from rinkside. Fox Sports Net Detroit reaches 2.4 million homes in Michigan and northwest Ohio. The package will also be made available to Fox Sports Net affiliates across the nation. %^$

%^$Both of this weekend’s game will be aired live on WOSU Radio (820 AM). Herb Howenstine and former Ohio State and NHL goaltender Bill McKenzie will call the action. Ohio state hockey games can also now be heard on the internet at^$

%^$Ohio State head coach John Markell will face off against his former mentor this weekend when the Buckeyes face Michigan State. Spartan benchminder Ron Mason coached Markell for four seasons at Bowling Green from 1976-79. During that span, the Falcons captured three CCHA championships and Markell netted 236 career points.%^$

%^$Although a strong rivalry has developed over the past three years, the Spartans still hold a dominant 62-12-15 edge in the all-time series with Ohio State. The Buckeyes have won just twice (Feb. 4, 1994 and Jan. 5, 1997) in 35 years in East Lansing, Mich. In the last 10 meetings, however, Ohio State holds a 5-4-1 advantage over MSU. No other team in the CCHA has fared as well against Michigan State in their last 10 games as Ohio State. The teams split the three games in last year’s series, 1-1-1. This weekend’s games will mark the 80th and 81st games between OSU and MSU%^$

%^$After dropping their season opener on the road at Colorado College, Michigan State rebounded with a sweep of Nebraska-Omaha last weekend. The Spartans put 11 goals on the board in last weekend’s wins. Despite the loss of All-American Mike York, Michigan State was picked to win the CCHA in the preseason media poll. The Spartans return 16 letterwinners, including All-American defenseman Mike Weaver. Shawn Horcoff and Rustyn Dolyny lead the team in scoring with 0-4-4 totals. The Spartans boast one of the strongest goaltending duos in the country in junior Joe Blackburn (3.30, .872) and freshman Ryan Miller (2.02 .927). The pair has split time in net through three games this year. Ron Mason, college hockey’s winningest all-time coach, is in his 21st year behind the Spartan bench.%^$

%^$Ohio State and Michigan State last met on Nov. 13, 1998 in the cozy OSU Ice Arena. The Buckeyes scored three goals in an eight-minute second period span on their way to a 3-2 win. OSU goalie Jeff Maund made 35 saves on 37 MSU shots. All three of the Ohio State goals in that game were scored by current OSU players – Andre Signoretti, Jean-Francois Dufour, and Louie Colsant. Adam Hall and Shawn Mather each scored for Michigan State. The win extended OSU’s home winning streak to 11 games. Former Spartan Mike York also registered his 100th career assist in the game.%^$

%^$It started two seasons ago with a thrilling double-overtime CCHA Championship game and has boiled strongly ever since. The Ohio State-Michigan State rivalry has been one of the most closely watched in the CCHA of late. Consider this:
%^$* Ohio State scored more goals against Michigan State last year than any other CCHA team in league games (8).
%^$* Ohio State scored more goals in a single game (4) in Munn Ice Arena last year than any other team that visited MSU. In fact, OSU’s four goals in that game marked the most scored by a visiting team in Munn since Nov. 1, 1997.
%^$* Ohio State tied with Michigan and Ferris State as having the CCHA’s best league record against the Spartans last year (1-1-1).
%^$* Two years ago, Ohio State twice knocked off Michigan State when the Spartans were the No. 1-ranked team in the country, including once in the NCAA Tournament.
%^$* The team’s split last season’s series down the middle (1-1-1) and OSU holds a slim 5-4-1 advantage in the last 10.
%^$* Ohio State and Michigan State were the only two schools in the CCHA to boast Hobey Baker Memorial Award finalists last year (OSU’s Hugo Boisvert and MSU’s Mike York).%^$

%^$Ohio State struggled on both ends of the ice and was swept by Western Michigan 4-2 and 5-1 in Value City Arena last weekend. The Buckeyes took a 2-1 lead into the third period of Friday’s game, but three unanswered Bronco goals sealed the game. Ryan Jestadt and Vinnie Grant each scored for the Buckeyes in the first game, and Ray Aho stopped 25-of-28 WMU shots in goal. Western Michigan came out firing in the series finale, tagging OSU freshman goaltender Peter Wishloff for five goals. Eric Meloche lit the lamp for OSU late in the third period of the 5-1 loss. Wishloff, making his first collegiate start, made 23 saves on 28 WMU shots.%^$

%^$Combined in the two games last weekend, Ohio State converted on 2-of-14 (.143) power-play attempts and thwarted 12-of-16 (.750) opponent power-plays.%^$

%^$Although it hasn’t been dynamic, it has been consistent. The Ohio State power-play unit has scored at least one goal in each of OSU’s five games thus far. The unit has converted on 5-of-36 attempts (.139) and ranks seventh in the league. Eric Meloche (3-0-3) and Jean-Francois Dufour (1-2-3) are tied for the team lead in power-play points.%^$

%^$any streak over three games
%^$Jean Francois Dufour – five games

%^$even or plus ratings for over three games
%^$Yan DesGagne – five games
%^$Nic Boileau – five games

%^$”We have to stay out of the penalty box if we want to be successful. It’s as simple as that,” head coach John Markell said of this year’s Buckeyes. Ohio State has been whistled for double-figure penalties in each of the last four games. Opponents have had 37 power-play attempts against OSU in five games this year, more than any other team in the CCHA. The Buckeyes lead the league with 116 total PIM’s, and are averaging 26.80 penalty minutes per game.%^$

%^$OSU has not scored a goal in the first period of a game since an Oct. 8 tally against Alaska-Fairbanks (a span of three games). Ohio State’s last six goals have come in either the second or third periods. The Buckeyes are 2-0-0 when scoring first, and 0-3-0 when the opponent scores first.%^$

%^$If history repeats itself, Ohio State will be able to get back on the winning track this weekend. The Buckeyes, currently riding a three-game losing skid, did not lose four straight games at any point last season. No Buckeye team has lost four consecutive games since a stretch between Dec. 12, 1997-Jan. 3, 1998 when OSU was swept on the road by Lake Superior and Michigan. Following that four-game streak, however, Ohio State went on a 10-game unbeaten streak and won 16 of its next 18 games.%^$

%^$Ray Aho recorded his 100th save of the year Friday night in only his fourth game. Last year while serving as the backup goaltender to Jeff Maund, Aho had just 119 saves the entire season. He currently leads OSU with a 2.74 goals against average and a .913 save percentage.%^$

%^$Aho is the projected starter in goal for the Buckeyes this weekend. In his three-year career, Aho has recorded five 40-save games, one of which came against the Spartans. On Jan. 25, 1997, Aho stopped 44-of-46 Michigan State shots in a 3-2 Ohio State win in Munn Ice Arena. In that two-game weekend series against the Spartans, Aho stopped 78-of-83 (.940) MSU shots and earned CCHA Defensive Player of the Week honors.%^$

%^$Freshman Nic Boileau recorded his second career point Friday night, and has not registered a minus rating in a game so far this season. He is +2 overall.%^$

%^$Ohio State set a school record last season by making 16 television appearances, further evidence of the program’s popularity surge in Columbus. The Buckeyes went 8-7-1 in those games.%^$

%^$”We have the hardest six games of any team in the nation coming up,” OSU head coach John Markell told the Columbus Dispatch after Saturday night’s loss to Western Michigan. In the next three weeks, OSU faces three 1999 NCAA Tournament teams and two of the four teams that advanced to last year’s NCAA Frozen Four. The Buckeyes battle Michigan State this weekend, Maine Oct. 29 and Oct. 31 and Michigan Nov. 5-6. Things don’t get any easier following the home-and-home series with the Wolverines. The Buckeyes will then make the 12-hour bus journey to Marquette, Mich., to square off against nationally-ranked Northern Michigan.%^$

%^$Entering the season, the Ohio State coaching staff knew their experienced defensemen would have to be a big part of the offense as well. Through five games, the OSU defensemen (Ryan Jestadt, Andre Signoretti, Ryan Skaleski, Jason Crain, Scott Titus, and Pete Broccoli) have accounted for 12 of the team’s 38 points (32 percent). OSU defensemen have also accounted for 37 percent (53-of-146) of Ohio State’s total shots on goal this season.%^$

%^$With the new CCHA scheduling format, Michigan State and Ohio State will not meet again in the 1999-00 regular season. At the conclusion of this year, Michigan State and Northern Michigan will be the only two CCHA teams that are yet to play in immaculate Value City Arena, Ohio State hockey’s 17,500-seat, $110 million home.%^$

%^$Ohio State sophomore Scott Titus and Michigan State sophomore Adam Hall were former teammates on the US National Under-18 team. Last year in their CCHA debut season, Hall was named to the conference’s all-Rookie team and Titus was an honorable mention all-Rookie team selection.%^$

%^$Eric Meloche is Ohio State’s career leading scorer against MSU with 1-4-5 totals. Andre Signoretti (3-1-4) ranks second. Eleven current Buckeyes have notched at least one point against the Spartans in their career.%^$

%^$After five games last year…
%^$…Andre Signoretti had just one point. This season he has 0-5-5 totals.
%^$…Eric Meloche had zero points and was out with an injury. This year he has 3-0-3 totals and is tied for the league lead in power-play goals (3).
%^$…Jean-Francois Dufour had one 1-1-2 totals.. This year he leads the team 3-3-6 totals.
%^$…Ryan Jestadt had zero points. This year he is averaging a point per game with 1-4-5 totals.

%^$Ohio State captain Ryan Jestadt celebrated his 23rd birthday with an assist on Eric Meloche’s power-play goal last Saturday night against Western Michigan.%^$

%^$US College Hockey Online released its annual preseason national poll two weeks ago. The Buckeyes received 14 votes in the poll, the 14th most of any school in the country. Boston College topped the poll with 26 of 40 first-place votes. Maine grabbed the No. 2 spot in the poll. Three CCHA teams are ranked in the top 10 – Michigan State (3rd), Michigan (5th), and Northern Michigan (9th).%^$

%^$Senior Ryan Jestadt and junior Andre Signoretti were named captains of the 1999-00 OSU hockey team. There will be no assistant captains on this year’s squad. Jestadt, a defenseman from West ern Springs, Ill., led all CCHA defensemen in goals scored in league games last season (eight). Signoretti, a defenseman from Manotick, Ont., was a second team all-CCHA selection last season and is best remembered by Ohio State fans for scoring the overtime game-winner in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 1998, sending the Buckeyes to the Frozen Four.%^$

%^$Ohio State is one of only eight schools in the country that have qualified for the last two NCAA Tournaments. The others are New Hampshire, North Dakota, Michigan, Colorado College, Clarkson, Boston College, and Michigan State.%^$

%^$Ohio State has had seven freshmen earn some type of all-Rookie team honors (either first team or honorable mention) the past three seasons, more than any other school in the conference. OSU joins Notre Dame as the only school to place someone on the all-Rookie team for three consecutive seasons (Jason Crain, 1999, Jeff Maund, 1998, Hugo Boisvert, 1997).%^$