Jan. 29, 2001

Ohio State Men’s Hockey
(12-10-2, 9-7-2 CCHA)
Notre Dame
(6-19-5, 3-12-4 CCHA)

Game Nights
Friday, Feb. 2, 2001, 7:35 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 3, 2001, 7:05 p.m.
Value City Arena (17,500)
Columbus, Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Buckeyes and Fighting Irish face off this weekend for two games in Value City Arena. The squads will meet at 7:35 p.m. Friday and at 7:05 p.m. Saturday. Ohio State (12-10-2, 9-7-2 CCHA) and Notre Dame (6-19-5, 3-12-4 CCHA) met two weeks ago, with the Buckeyes winning, 5-3, the first night and the squads tying, 2-2, in the second game.

The Broadcasts
The games vs. Notre Dame can be heard live on WOSU (820 AM) and at Herb Howenstine will call the action while John Mowat will provide the color commentary. The game Saturday will be televised live on The Ohio News Network. Jeff Hogan (p-by-p) and Bill McKenzie (color) will call the action.

The Last Meetings
The Buckeyes and Irish met two weeks ago (Jan. 19-20) in South Bend, Ind. Ohio State posted a 5-3 win in the first game. The squad was led by Dave Steckel and Paul Caponigri who each posted two goals and an assist. The next night, OSU goalie Mike Betz stopped 32-of-34 shots, as OSU and ND tied, 2-2. R.J. Umberger led the Buckeyes with a goal and an assist in the game.

The OSU – ND Series
Notre Dame leads the all-time series, 21-15-4. The Irish hold an 8-10-3 lead in games played in Columbus. The Buckeyes have won nine of the last 14 meetings overall.

The Last Six Meeting 12/4/98 W 4-3 H 12/5/98 W 4-1 H 2/4/00 W 3-1 H 2/5/00 L 2-1(ot) H 1/19/01 W 5-3 A 1/20/01 T 2-2(ot) A

Markell vs. The Irish
Ohio State head coach John Markell has a career record of 9-5-2 vs. the Fighting Irish.

The Story of the Season
The Buckeyes are 8-2 in the first game of their 10 two-game series this season, including a perfect 6-0 on the road. However, the squad has posted a mark of 2-6-2 in the final game of those series, including one overtime win and one overtime loss.

Familiar Faces
Ohio State’s Dave Steckel and R.J. Umberger were teammates with Notre Dame’s Rob Globke on the U.S. Junior National Team that competed in the 2001 World Junior Championships. In addition, Steckel, Umberger and Globke, as well as ND’s Brett Lebda and Neil Komadoski, were all teammates on the Under-18 team in the U.S. Development Program last season.

The 1999-00 Series in VCA
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 did not score to send the game to overtime. ND’s Dan Carlson scored the game-winner with less than a minute remaining in overtime.

Scouting Notre Dame
The Irish have posted a mark of 6-19-5 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).

In league games, Dan Carlson ranks first among the Irish with 20 points (10-10). Carlson also leads the team in scoring overall, posting 29 points on 10 goals and 19 assists. Ryan Dolder is second with 26 points (12-14). Tony Zasowski and Jeremiah Kimento each have played in 15 games this season, while Kyle Kolquist has seen action in six. Kolquist ranks first with a goals-against average of 3.24, followed by Kimento (3.55) and Zasowski (4.08).

ND’S Last Time Out
The Irish split a two-game series with Yale in New Haven, Conn., Jan. 27-28. Notre Dame lost, 8-2, in the first game before rebounding to post a 4-3 win the next day.

The End
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 77-117-26 in his five-plus seasons with the Irish.

In The League
In conference games, the Irish rank 11th in the CCHA in goals per game with an average of 2.16 and eighth in goals allowed per game (3.32). The squad is last in power-play percentage in the league (10.9 percent) and is eighth in penalty killing (81.4 percent).

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.

One More Connection
Ohio State freshman Reed Whiting and Notre Dame rookie Aaron Gill both hail from the same hometown of Rochester, Minn.

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.

The Rookies
Ohio State’s freshmen were responsible for six of seven goals against Notre Dame. The freshmen have scored over half (44-of-84, 52.4%) of the Buckeyes’ goals this season.

The New Leader
Dave Steckel scored his 11th and 12th goals of the season in the first game at Notre Dame to take the team goal-scoring lead for the Buckeyes. He and Jean-Francois Dufour had been tied for most of the season. Dufour scored his 11th goal of the season to remain within one of the scoring lead.

Keep It Going
Dave Steckel extended his scoring streak to 14 games with two goals and an assist in the first game at Notre Dame and a helper the second night. He has been held scoreless just four times in 20 games this season.

Steckel’s Streak
The following are Dave Steckel’s stats in the 14-consecutive games he has scored in this season:

Date Opp. G-A-P 11/4 UAF 1-0-1 11/10 LSSU 1-1-2 11/11 LSSU 1-0-1 11/18 BGSU 1-0-1 11/19 BGSU 0-1-1 11/28 Findlay 1-2-3 12/1 FSU 0-2-2 12/2 FSU 0-1-1 12/14 WMU 0-1-1 12/15 WMU 2-0-2 1/12 UM 1-1-2 1/13 UM 0-1-1 1/19 ND 2-1-3 1/20 ND 0-1-1 Totals: 14 games, 10g, 12a, 22p

At the Helm
John Markell is in his sixth full season at the helm for the Buckeyes. He has led Ohio State to NCAA Tournament appearances in two of the last three seasons, including a berth in the Frozen Four in 1998. Markell, a four-year letterwinner at Bowling Green and one of only five CCHA players to earn first team all-conference honors three times, has a career record of 97-109-18.

Welcome to the Blueline
Ryan Smith, normally a forward for the Buckeyes, was inserted into the lineup as a defenseman against Notre Dame when Reed Whiting was injured. Smith had an even plus/minus rating for the weekend.

On the PP
After going two games without a power-play goal, the Buckeyes have scored with the man advantage in five-consecutive games.

Ohio State’s PP in the last five games: 1/6 WMU 1/8 1/12 UM 1/7 1/13 UM 1/5 1/19 ND 1/3 1/20 ND 1/5 Totals: 5 gms, 5 goals/28 chances (17.9%)

Passing By
Ohio State’s third goal in the first game at Notre Dame marked the 80th tally of the 2000-01 season. That total matches the number of goals the Buckeyes scored all last season (36 games). The Buckeyes currently have 84 goals on the season.

The Leader
Jean-Francois Dufour leads the Buckeyes in assists and points. He has 16 assists and 27 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 68 shots on goal.

The Other Leader
Dave Steckel leads the Buckeyes in goals (12), plus/minus (+11), shooting percentage (24.5 percent) and penalty minutes (50).

Scoring in three or more straight-games
Steckel – 14 games (10-11-21)
Dufour – 4 games (1-4-5)
Umberger – 3 games (2-3-5)
Plus/minus of even or better
Bencharski – 21 games*
McCormick – 20 games
Umberger – 15 games
Des Gagne – 7 games
Smith – 5 games
Whiting – 4 games
May – 4 games
*Has not had a minus rating this season

Almost There
The Buckeyes’ nine conference wins this season ties the win total set by the squad last season. The team’s 20 points are one less than the squad posted one year ago.

What a Combo
The line of Jean-Francois Dufour, Dave Steckel and Paul Caponigri combined for five of Ohio State’s seven goals and five of the Buckeyes’ 10 assists at Notre Dame. Steckel posted two goals and two assists, Caponigri had two goals and one assist and Dufour had one goal and two helpers.

Four Buckeyes have 20 or more points this season: Jean-Francois Dufour (27), Dave Steckel (25), R.J. Umberger (23) and Paul Caponigri (20). Last season only two Buckeyes, Dufour (35) and Eric Meloche (31), posted more than 20 points.

So far this season, eight current Buckeyes (nine total) have recorded 10 or more points: Jean-Francois Dufour (27), Dave Steckel (25), R.J. Umberger (23), Paul Caponigri (20), Nick Ganga (16), Mike McCormick (14), Doug Andress (13) and Scott May (11). At the end of last season only nine Buckeyes had reached double-digits in points.

Following the Notre Dame series, the Buckeyes have now earned at least two points in eight of nine conference two-game series this season. The squad earned four points at Lake Superior (2-0), three points at Ferris State and Notre Dame (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).

The PK
Ohio State’s penalty killing has improved in the last six games, stopping 31-of-36 (86.1 percent) opponent advantages, including a perfect 8-for-8 performance against Michigan.

OSU’s PK in the last five games: 1/5 vs. WMU 6/7 1/6 vs. WMU 5/7 1/12 vs. Michigan 8/8 1/13 vs. Michigan 4/5 1/19 at Notre Dame 6/7 1/20 at Notre Dame 2/2

Staying Out of the Box
The Buckeyes tied their season low with four penalties in the second game at Notre Dame. The squad set the season low for penalty minutes in a game with four penalties for eight minutes at Maine. Against Notre Dame, one of the penalties was a 10-minute misconduct, giving OSU 16 total penalty minutes.

The Last Four
In their last four games, the Buckeyes are 2-1-1. That mark comes after the Buckeyes posted a five-game losing streak. Dave Steckel leads the Buckeyes in goals (three) and points (seven) over the last four outings. As a team, the Buckeyes tallied on 20 percent of their power-play opportunities, while holding their opponents to two goals in 22 chances (90.9 percent) in the last four games.

The Second is Best
The series with the Irish continued the Buckeyes’ trend of outscoring their opponents in the second stanza, as they outscored the Irish, 3-0. 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 34 tallies in the second stanza and has allowed 21 goals. The Buckeyes have outscored their opponents 19-17 in the first period and 3-2 in overtime. Ohio State has scored and allowed 28 goals in the third period this season.

Five current Buckeyes (six overall) have posted 10 or more assists this season. Jean-Francois Dufour leads the Buckeyes with 16 assists, while Paul Caponigri, Dave Steckel have 13 assists each and R.J. Umberger and Mike McCormick have 12 helpers. At the end of last season, only six Buckeyes had posted 10 or more helpers.

Keeping the Shots Down
Ohio State has only allowed more than 30 shots five times in its last 16 games. The Buckeyes are 9-5-1 when allowing 30 or less shots on goal and 3-5-1 when giving up 31 or more. The Buckeyes have lost just once (4-1) when allowing 11-20 shots on goal.

The Stars
The CCHA has implemented a program that awards points to each player selected the first (three points), second (two) or third (one) star of each conference game (as selected by the media in the press box). Goalie Mike Betz leads the Buckeyes with six points. Dave Steckel and Paul Caponigri are tied for second with three points each. Doug Andress has two points and Luke Pavlas and R.J. Umberger are tied for fifth with one point each.

Always There
Six Buckeyes have played in all 24 games so far this season: Jean-Francois Dufour, Nick Ganga, Scott May, Jaisen Freeman, Miguel Lafleche and Pete Broccoli.

Game Winners
Dave Steckel and Nick Ganga lead the Buckeyes with two game-winning goals each. Of the Buckeyes’ 12 game-winning tallies this season, freshmen have accounted for seven of them, as R.J. Umberger, Chris Olsgard, Scott May, Doug Andress and Paul Caponigri also have GWGs. Andress also tallied the game-tying goal against Ferris State.

So Close
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.

Give Me an “A”
Senior defenseman Jaisen Freeman and junior forward 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.

Down to the Wire
Three of the Buckeyes’ 12 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).

The Crowd Goes Wild
The Buckeyes averaged 13,030 fans in the two-game series vs. Michigan, the last home series for Ohio State. In the second game, 13,308 fans packed the arena, the fifth-largest crowd in Value City history.

Don’t Let Up
The Buckeyes are 8-2 in games where they lead entering the third period.

Three Peat
So far this season, the Buckeyes have had 12 total three-point performances recorded by six players. R.J. Umberger leads the way with four. Nick Ganga, Paul Caponigri and Dave Steckel are tied for second with two. Jean-Francois Dufour has had one three-point outing so far this season.

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 +10 Jaisen Freeman +7 Pete Broccoli +3 Doug Andress +1 Jason Crain +1 Reed Whiting +2

Among the Leaders
Three Buckeyes rank among the league’s scoring leaders in conference games. Dave Steckel and Jean-Francois Dufour are tied for eighth with 21 points each, while R.J. Umberger is tied for 13th with 19 points. Mike Betz is sixth among league goaltenders with a 2.63 goals-against average.

OSU in the league
In conference games, the Buckeyes rank fourth in goals scored per game (3.11) and fifth in goals allowed per game (2.78). The squad is sixth in power-play percentage (18.3 percent) and fifth in penalty killing (83.7 percent).

A Cluster
The Buckeyes are ending their second four-game series with an opponent from their league scheduling cluster this weekend vs. Notre Dame. Ohio State was 1-3 vs. Western Michigan in the first four-game series.

Up Next
Next weekend, the Buckeyes and RedHawks will face off in the first of two home-and-home series for the squads this season. Miami will travel to Columbus for a 7:35 p.m. game in Value City Arena Feb. 9 before the squads head to Oxford, Ohio for a 7:35 p.m. tilt in Goggin Arena the next night.