Nov. 29, 2006

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s hockey team (4-7-3, 4-4-2 CCHA) continues its road swing with a two-game conference series Dec. 1-2 at No. 12 Michigan State (6-6-1. 4-4-1 CCHA). Games begin at 7:05 p.m. both Friday and Saturday at Munn Ice Arena in East Lansing, Mich.

This is the third-consecutive weekend away from Columbus for the Buckeyes, who played in the Rensselaer/Bank of America Holiday Tournament last weekend after sweeping Bowling Green Nov. 17-18.

The Broadcast
The Buckeyes’ games at Michigan State will be broadcast by WOSU Radio (820 AM/ with Neil Sika (play-by-play) and former Buckeye Luke Pavlas (analysis) on the call.

The game Saturday will be televised in Michigan by Comcast East Lansing. Both games will be on livestats available through GameTracker.

Last Time Out
Ohio State played in the 56th Annual Rensselaer/Bank of America Holiday Tournament over the Thanksgiving weekend. The Buckeyes rallied with a four-goal third period vs. RPI for a 5-5 overtime tie in the third-place game Nov. 25. Ohio State fell to Colgate by a score of 4-2 in the first-round matchup Nov. 24. Senior defenseman Sean Collins led the Buckeyes offensively with a three-goal, two-assist weekend to earn a place on the All-Tournament team.

A Buckeye Snapshot
Ohio State is fifth in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association standings with a 4-4-2 league record. The Buckeyes are 4-7-3 overall after completing November with a 2-3-3 record. The Buckeyes are led offensively by a pair of defensemen. Junior Jason DeSantis continues to lead in assists with 13 and is tied with senior blueliner Sean Collins with 14 points. Three players are tied for the team lead with five goals: Collins, Tommy Goebel and Corey Elkins.

Joseph Palmer has started 10 games this seasons, including the last six of the last seven, and has a 3.19 goals-against-average, while Nick Filion has four starts with a 4.78 GAA.

You Look Familiar
Buckeye junior Tommy Goebel returns to Michigan State where he played his first two collegiate seasons. He transfered to Ohio State prior to the 2005-06 season and redshirted that season because of NCAA transfer rules. Goebel, a native of Parma, Ohio, totaled 21 goals and 32 assists for 53 points in 76 games as a Spartan.

Ohio State vs. Michigan State
The Buckeyes are 3-1-0 in the last four games in East Lansing after a seven-game (0-6-1) winless streak in Munn Ice Arena. The teams last met for a series at MSU Feb. 18-19, 2005. OSU fell in the first game of that series, 6-3, before winning 5-1. Michigan State leads the all-time series by a 72-19-7 margin, including a 39-5-1 mark in East Lansing.

The Last Meeting
Ohio State and Michigan State split their lone series last season, with both games taking place in Columbus. The teams first met Nov. 15, with the Buckeyes winning 3-2. The Spartans took game two by a score of 4-3, Feb. 9.

Working Overtime
The Buckeyes played in their fourth overtime game of the season Saturday vs. RPI, skating to a 5-5 tie with the Engineers. OSU is 0-1-3 in extra sessions this season. Only five of Ohio State’s 39 games last season went into overtime, with all five ending in ties. The most overtime games the Buckeyes have played in a season are 10 in back-to-back seasons (2000-01, 2001-02).

Scouting the Spartans
Michigan State is ranked No. 12 in both the and USA Hockey/USA Today polls released Monday. The Spartans are 6-6-1 overall with a 4-4-1 mark in the CCHA to tie for sixth in the league.

It has been a tale of two seasons for the Spartans with a record of 5-0-1 at home and 1-6-0 on the road. The Spartans are coming off of two losses in the annual College Hockey Showcase, falling 5-4 at Minnesota (Nov. 24) and 2-0 at Wisconsin (Nov. 25).

The MSU offense is led by a trio of sophomore forwards. Tim Kennedy has the team-high in points (15) and goals (9), five of which have come on the power play. Justin Abdelkader is second in points (12) with a team-high eight assists. Tim Crowder is third with 11 points (5g, 6a).

Sophomore goaltender Jeff Lerg has played the majortiy of time in the Spartan goal with a 6-6-1 record, 2.92 GAA and .888 save percentage.

Michigan State is lead by head coach Rick Comley in his fifth year at the helm. He is 97-66-17 with the Spartans and 694-542-88 in 34 years as a head coach.

Collins Earns Back-to-BAck CCHA Nods
Sean Collins was named CCHA Offensive Player of the Week, the Central Collegiate Hockey Association announced Monday. It is the second-consecutive week Collins has been recognized by the league after earning the defensive player of the week award Nov. 20.

Collins led the Buckeyes with five points on three goals and two assists in the Rensselaer/Bank of America Holiday Tournament Nov. 24-25. He scored two goals Saturday vs. RPI, one of which was one the power play, and added an assist. His three points were a single-game season high. Collins’ first goal on the power play opened the scoring for Ohio State. He then scored at 8:50 as part of the OSU rally in the third period to tie the game at 4-4, and assisted on the go-ahead goal at 16:56 for a 5-4 lead. The Buckeyes ended with a 5-5 tie with the Engineers. The two lamplighters tied his career high for goals in a game.

Against Colgate Friday, Collins factored into both OSU goals, assisting on the first one and scoring the final one while on the power play in the 4-2 loss. For his play against the Red Raiders and Engineers, he was named to the All-Tournament team.

Offensive Defenseman
Ohio State has one of the most offensively productive defensive units in the CCHA. Seven Buckeye defensemen have combined for 44 points to tie Nebraska-Omaha for the most points by defensemen in the league. Below is a list of overall defenseman scoring in the CCHA by team:

1. Ohio State 44 points Nebraska-Omaha 44 3. Miami 40 4. Alaska 39 5. Michigan 35 6. Lake Superior State 31 7. Notre Dame 27 8. Michigan State 24 9. Northern Michigan 23 Ferris State 23 11. Bowling Green 18 12. Western Michigan 13

Scoring from the Blue Line…
The defensive duo of junior Jason DeSantis and senior Sean Collins leads the Buckeyes in points with 14 each. DeSantis has a team-high 13 assists while Collins is tied for the lead with five goals.

DeSantis has only been held without a point four times this season while Collins has come on of late with five goals and six assists in the last seven games for a total of 11 points in November.

The pair is tied for second in overall defenseman scoring in the CCHA and tied for seventh in the NCAA in blueliner scoring with 1.00 points per game.

A Helping Hand
Jason DeSantis has an assist in six of the last seven games, including one in both games at the Rensselaer/Bank of America Holiday Tournament last weekend. His team-leading 13 assists are tied for fourth highest in the CCHA and lead all league defensemen. He ranks 16th in the NCAA with 0.93 helpers per game.

Through 14 games this season, DeSantis has more than doubled his career assist total. He entered 2006-07 with just nine helpers through his first two seasons.

On a Tear
After picking up his first two points as a Buckeye with a goal and assist vs. Western Michigan (Nov. 9), sophomore forward Corey Elkins followed with a hat trick at Bowling Green (Nov. 17) and a two-point performance Friday vs. Colgate in the Rensselaer/Bank of America Holiday Tournament.

Elkins had a goal and assist against Colgate for his third multi-point performance in the last six games. He finished with the second-highest point total for a Buckeye in the month of November with 5-2–7. All seven points are the first of his career.

Against Bowling Green, Elkins scored one goal in the first period and two of the last three OSU goals in the third. His three goals were scored against three different Falcon goaltenders (Jimmy Spratt, Eddie Neville and Phil Greer).

Collins Named CCHA Defensive P.O.W.
Sean Collins was named CCHA Defensive Player of the Week for Nov. 20. It is the first player of the week honor for a Buckeye this season and the fifth CCHA weekly award for Collins in his career.

Collins scored his first two goals of the season and added an assist in Ohio State’s sweep at Bowling Green (Nov. 17-18). He had a power play goal Friday in the 9-3 win and followed with a goal and assist in the 4-1 victory Saturday for his second multiple-point game of the season. He completed the series with a plus-4 rating.

Collins also was a key member on the OSU penalty kill that was 18-for-20 vs. Bowling Green, including a perfect 7-for-7 mark in game two.

We’re Going Streaking
Sean Collins is on a four-game goal streak and also has tallied three assists in those games for a total of eight points. Senior forward Kenny Bernard and junior Jason DeSantis recorded assists in both games last weekend for two-game point streaks. Bernard has had a point in five of the last six games (3g, 3a) while DeSantis has notched one in six of the last seven (7a).

Get Shorty
Junior Matt McIlvane scored while on the penalty kill Saturday at Rensselaer for yet another Ohio State shorthanded goal. The Buckeyes have scored six through 14 games this season to tie with Miami and Minnesota for the most in the nation.

Kenny Bernard leads the team with two shorthanded goals (both scored Nov. 9 vs. Western Michigan). McIlvane, Mathieu Beaudoin, John Dingle and Tommy Goebel have also scored goals while on the penalty kill.

Bernard and Beaudoin are tied for eighth in the OSU record books for career shorthanded goals with five apiece.

Break Out the Brooms
The two-game series at Bowling Green Nov. 17-18 was the first time Ohio State played in a road series at BGSU since Oct. 26-27, 2001. The sweep was the first time the Buckeyes have won both games of a series at Bowling Green since Feb. 29-March 1, 1980 (W 5-3, W 7-6 OT).

Offensive Outburst
The nine goals scored by the Buckeyes Nov. 17 at Bowling Green were the most in a game since the team defeated Miami Oct. 21, 2004 by the same 9-3 score. The six-goal margin was the largest since OSU topped Western Michigan 7-0, Jan. 29, 2005.

The 13 OSU goals scored in the Bowling Green series were the most in a series since scoring 14 in a two-game home series vs. Illinois-Chicago, Dec. 13-14, 1991. It was the Buckeyes’ largest goal total in consecutive games since 2000, when the team defeated Findlay 1-0 Nov. 28 and followed with a 6-1 win at Ferris State Dec. 1.

Three’s Company
Senior forward Kenny Bernard scored two shorthanded goals vs. Western Michigan Nov. 9, tying the OSU individual record for shorthanded goals in a game. It was just the third time a Buckeye has tallied two SHG in a game, along with Dave Steckel (Nov. 29, 2003 at Bowling Green) and Paul Pooley (Feb. 14, 1981 at Bowling Green).

75 and Counting
With two goals and an assist vs. Western Michigan Nov. 9, senior forward Andrew Schembri reached the 75-point mark of his career. He added two assists Friday at Bowling Green for career totals of 31 goals and 46 assists. He is the leading scorer on the current OSU roster, followed by classmates Sean Collins (24-50-74) and Mathieu Beaudoin (42-30-72).

Three’s a Crowd
Eight Buckeyes have combined for nine three-point performances this season. Matt McIlvane has posted two three-point games while Kenny Bernard, Sean Collins, John Dingle, Corey Elkins, Dominic Maiani, Mathieu Beaudoin and Andrew Schembri have each recorded one. In 39 games last season, Ohio State had a player tally three points just six times.

A Few Firsts
* Buckeye junior Zach Pelletier’s goal vs. Minnesota (Oct. 20) was the first of his Buckeye career and came in his 28th game.

* Freshman goalie Nick Filion made his first career start vs. the Gophers and had his first regular-season playing time for the Buckeyes. He made a Buckeye season-high 36 saves in the game.

* Junior John Dingle recorded his first shorthanded goal Oct. 28 in a 4-2 win at Northern Michigan.

* Sophomore Corey Elkins notched his first goal, first assist and first multiple-point game Nov. 9 vs. Western Michigan.

* Freshman defenseman Kevin Montgomery registered his first point as a Buckeye with a goal Nov. 17 at Bowling Green. He then tallied his first OSU assist Nov. 25 at Rensselaer.

Up Next
Ohio State faces in-state rival Miami in a home-and-home series Dec. 8-9 before breaking for finals. The Buckeyes open the series with a 7:05 p.m. game Friday at Value City Arena. The RedHawks host the second game Saturday in Miami starting at 8:05 p.m.

The Buckeyes will then be off until Dec. 29-30 when they host Minnesota Duluth, Miami and Bowling Green in the Ohio Hockey Classic at Nationwide Arena in Downtown Columbus.