Dec. 27, 2002

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The No. 11-ranked Ohio State men’s hockey team (12-4-1, 9-2-1/2nd CCHA) will return to action Saturday in the first round of the third annual Everblades College Classic. The Buckeyes will face Massachusetts (10-6-0, 4-5-0 Hockey East) at 4:05 p.m., with a matchup between No. 1/2 Maine (13-1-2, 5-0-1 Hockey East) and No. 3 Cornell (10-1-0, 5-1-0 ECAC) at 7:35 p.m. The first-round winners will face off at 7:35 p.m. Sunday in the championship game. The consolation game will be held at 4:05 p.m. Dec. 29. All games will be played in TECO Arena in Estero, Fla., home of the Florida Everblades of the East Coast Hockey League.

The Broadcast
The Buckeyes’ games in the Everblades College Classic will not be broadcast by WOSU. Fans can listen to OSU’s game vs. Massachusetts by going online to and following the links. Maine ( and Cornell ( also will have Internet broadcasts.

Look Out
OSU junior center R.J. Umberger is one point away from the 100th point of his Buckeye career. Umberger enters the tournament with 45-54-99 totals in 86 games.

On Fire
R.J. Umberger has posted seven goals, four assists and 11 points in his last four games, an average of 2.75 points per game. In those outings, he has three two-goal games, including three gamewinning goals. The Honors Roll In
Junior R.J. Umberger and freshman Ryan Kesler were honored as CCHA players of the week after their performances in OSU’s two-game sweep of Nebraska-Omaha. Umberger was named the league’s offensive player of the week for the second consecutive week after leading the squad with four goals, including both gamewinners. Kesler received rookie of the week accolades for the second time after posting two gamewinning assists and a +3 rating.

A Look at UMass
The Minutemen enter the tournament with an overall record of 10-6, including a mark of 4-5-0 in Hockey East. UMass Beat Princeton, 4-3 in overtime, Dec. 12 in its last action. The squad is led by Tim Turner, who has 17 points and is tied for the team lead (with Greg Mauldin) with nine goals. In net, Gabe Winer has started 12 games, posting a goals-against average of 2.77 and a save percentage of .877.

Don “Toot” Cahoon is in his third season at the helm. He has a school record of 26-52-6 and a career ledger of 206-221-42 in 15 years.

The Series
The game will be the first ever between the Buckeyes and Minutemen. OSU is 12-20-2 all-time against schools in Hockey East.

A Look at the Big Red
Cornell enters the tournament ranked third in the country in both national polls with a mark of 10-1-0. The team is 5-1-0 in the ECAC. Ryan Vesce leads the squad in scoring with 8-9-17 totals. Stephen Baby is second on the team with 15 points and first with 13 assists.

The squad will be without its top goalie, David LeNeveu, who was the only NCAA student-athlete named to the Canadian Junior National Team that will compete in the World Junior Championships. LeNeveu leads the NCAA in goals-against average (1.18) and is tied for first in save percentage (.942). No other goalie has seen action for the Big Red yet this season.

Mike Schafer is in his eighth year at the helm for Cornell and overall. He has a career mark of 136-84-24.

The Series
The series between the Buckeyes and Big Red is tied, 4-4. Cornell posted a 3-1 victory over the Buckeyes in Columbus earlier this season.

A Look at the Black Bears
Maine enters the tournament ranked No. 1/2 in the nation with a record of 13-1-2 overall and 5-0-1 in Hockey East. The squad is led in scoring by Martin Kariya, who has 5-16-21 totals. Colin Shields ranks first in goals with 13. Frank Howard has seen action in seven games in net, posting a goals-against average of 1.54 and a save percentage of .938. Jim Howard has played in 10 games with a gaa of 1.58 and a save percentage of .942. Howard, as well as Greg Moore, will miss the tournament while with the U.S. Junior National Team at the World Junior Championships.

Tim Whitehead is in his second season as the head coach of the Black Bears. Last season, as the interim head coach, he led the squad to the NCAA Frozen Four and a record of 26-11-7. Whitehead’s career record now stands at 115-107-20 in seven seasons.

The Series
OSU trails the all-time series with Maine, 1-10-0. Last season, the Black Bears posted a 6-2 win over the Buckeyes in the Everblades College Classic. OSU’s lone win over Maine came Oct. 27, 2000 in Orono, Maine. OSU’s Mike Betz made a career-high 58 saves in the game and then-freshman Scott May scored in overtime to give OSU a 3-2 victory.

Markell vs. the Opposition
Ohio State head coach John Markell is 0-0-0 against Massachusetts, 2-3-0 against Cornell and 1-5-0 against Maine all-time.

The Tournament
This marks the third year of the Everblades College Classic. Ohio State, Maine and Cornell have been in the tournament each year, with a different school rounding out the four-team field each year. Clarkson of the ECAC was in the tourney the first year, with the CCHA’s Northern Michigan competing last season.

OSU in the Classic
The Buckeyes are 1-3-0 all-time in the Everblades College Classic. The first year (2000), OSU lost to Cornell, 5-6 in overtime, and Clarkson, 6-7. Last season, the Buckeyes were defeated by Maine (6-2) before shutting out Cornell in the consolation game, 2-0.

At The Holidays
The Buckeyes are 13-11-2 in holiday tournament games since 1980. The last time Ohio State claimed a holiday tournament title was in 1995, when the Buckeyes defeated Colgate and Clarkson to capture the Syracuse Invitational.

Hot At The End
The Buckeyes ended the first part of their season on a four-game winning streak after sweeping conference foes Miami and Nebraska-Omaha in Columbus. In those four games, the Buckeyes averaged 4.0 goals per game, while allowing just 1.2 a contest.

The tournament features three of the top defensive teams in the nation. According to, Cornell is first in team defense, allowing just 1.36 goals a game, followed by Maine at No. 2 (1.56 goals/game). OSU ranks sixth, allowing an average of 2.24 goals a contest.

You’ll Be Missed
Buckeye freshman Ryan Kesler will miss the Everblades tournament after being named to the U.S. National Junior Team that will compete in the World Junior Championships Dec. 26-Jan. 5 in Nova Scotia. Fans can listen to the games the U.S. is involved in by logging on to

A New Look
Buckeye juniors R.J. Umberger and Dave Steckel will be competing in the Everblades College Classic for the first time this season. The duo missed the tournament the last two years while competing in the World Junior Championships.

A Quick Recap – OSU Sweeps UNO
In their last time out, the Buckeyes swept conference foe Nebraska-Omaha in Columbus by scores of 4-1 and 3-1. The first night, OSU, led by R.J. Umberger’s two goals, beat Nebraska-Omaha, 4-1. OSU led 1-0 after the first period and 2-0 after the second on Umberger’s goals. In the third, the Mavericks cut OSU’s lead to one on Micah Sanford’s goal with 10 minutes remaining. OSU regained its two-goal edge less than five minutes later, as Paul Caponigri scored at the 14:46 mark. Dave Steckel ended the scoring with 35 seconds remaining, as he stole the puck deep in the Mavericks’ zone and put the puck past UNO keeper Dan Ellis.

In the second game, OSU again jumped out to a two-goal lead, as Rod Pelley and Umberger scored less than six minutes into the game. The Mavericks got on the board late in the first period on a goal by Scotty Turner to cut OSU’s lead to 2-1. That score stood until Umberger put the game out of reach with a 4-on-4 goal at the 13:47 mark of the third period. Umberger again led the Buckeyes with two goals, while Doug Andress and Dan Knapp each posted two assists.

Among the Best
The Buckeyes’ penalty killing has been outstanding all season, as the squad has allowed just 11 goals on 99 opportunities (.889). After allowing five power-play tallies in their season opening game against Minnesota, OSU has allowed opponents just six goals in 88 opportunities (93.2%). OSU has given up a power-play goal in just seven games this year.

OSU’s PK in the last five games: 11/23 at FSU 8/8 12/6 vs. Miami 5/5 12/7 vs. Miami 7/8 12/13 vs. UNO 2/2 12/14 vs. UNO 3/4 Totals 25/27 (92.6%)

Shutting Them Down
The Buckeyes are allowing opponents just 2.2 goals per game this season. The squad has held opponents scoreless once, to one goal five times and to two goals in three games. The squad has allowed four or more goals in just two games this year.

The Buckeyes have outshot their opponents in 13-of-17 games this season. The squad is 11-1-1 when posting more shots on goal than the opposition. The squad has held opponents to 20 or less shots in eight games this season, including each of the last four outings.

In Net
Mike Betz ranks fifth all-time for goalie wins at OSU with 46, one behind Steve Jones in fourth place. Bill McKenzie is OSU’s all-time leader with 54 wins. Betz is in eighth place all-time with 2,183 saves. John Dougan is in seventh place with 2,215 and Dan Stergiou is the all-time leader with 3,261.

The Buckeyes have at least one power-play tally in 12 of their last 13 games and in four consecutive.

OSU’s power play in the last five games: 11/23 at FSU 0/5 12/6 vs. Miami 1/5 12/7 vs. Miami 4/11 12/13 vs. UNO 1/3 12/14 vs. UNO 1/5 Totals 7/29 (24.1%)

The Buckeyes have five two-game sweeps already this season, as they have won two games against Clarkson, Lake Superior State, Michigan State, Miami and Nebraska-Omaha. Last year, the squad had four such sweeps during the regular season.

The Leaders
R.J. Umberger leads the Buckeyes in goals (13) and points (23) this season. Scott May is first with 16 assists. Miguel Lafleche, Dave Steckel, Daymen Bencharski and Umberger all have three power-play goals to rank first and Umberger leads the team with four game-winning goals. Steckel and Ryan Kesler lead the team with +8 ratings and Umberger ranks first with 87 shots on goal. Paul Caponigri is first on the team with 31 penalty minutes and Nate Guenin leads the squad with 15 penalties.

Moving Up
The Buckeyes moved into second place in the CCHA, one point behind first-place Ferris State, with their sweep of UNO. Ohio State is three points ahead of Northern Michigan and four in front of fourth-place Miami. Michigan stands six back of the Buckeyes with two games in hand.

In The League
The Buckeyes are 9-2-1 in the CCHA this season. The squad opened league play undefeated (5-0-1) in its first six games before getting swept on the road by Ferris State. OSU rebounded, however, posting home sweeps of Miami and Nebraska-Omaha.

Steady Throughout
The Buckeyes have outscored their opponents in every period this season. Its biggest scoring margin is the third period, when it has posted 25 goals and allowed 13. The squad has 20 first-period tallies and 15 in the middle stanza.

A Definite Improvement
Through 17 games this season, the Buckeyes have recorded 20 power-play goals. Last season, the squad scored just 23 power-play markers in 40 games. This year’s squad is producing on 21.3 percent of its chances (20/94), while the team last year scored on just 12.4 percent (23/186).

An Omen?
The Buckeyes are 8-0-1 when scoring first this season, and just 4-4-0 when allowing the first goal.

When They Score, Good Things Happen
Ohio State has just one loss (10-1-0) when Paul Caponigri and/or Scott May tallies at least one point in a game this season. The duo is tied for the team lead with 10 points each on the power play this season.

A Curse?
The Buckeyes have not recorded a hat trick since Oct. 21, 2000 vs. Niagara, a stretch of 91 consecutive games. This season, the Buckeyes have had nine two-goal games. Last year, the squad had a player score twice in a game 17 times.

Up Next
The Buckeyes will play two non-conference games before returning to league play against Bowling Green (Jan. 16-17). Ohio State will take on Princeton Jan. 3 in Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh in a neutral-site game before facing Findlay Jan. 7 in Value City Arena. The Jan. 3 gametime has been moved to 5:05 p.m. (from 8:05 p.m.) because of the Buckeye football team’s appearance in the BCS national championship game, the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, that night.