Oct. 28, 1999

%^$The Ohio State hockey team (2-5-0, 1-5-0), in the midst of an eight game stretch against teams that made the 1999 NCAA Tournament, will host defending national champion Maine in a two-game series this weekend. The teams will meet Friday at 7:05 p.m. and Sunday at 2:05 p.m. Both games will be played in luxurious Value City Arena (17,500).%^$

%^$Both of this weekend’s games will be aired live on WOSU Radio (820 AM). Herb Howenstine and former Buckeye John Mowat will call the action. Ohio State hockey games can also now be heard on the internet at the official site of the OSU Department of Athletics –^$

%^$Ohio State is in the midst of a five-game losing streak, the school’s longest since January of the 1996-97 season. That streak ended after six games.%^$

%^$Ohio State and Maine met last season in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. The Buckeyes, appearing in their second consecutive NCAA Tournament at the time, fell 4-2 to the Black Bears in Worcester, Mass., and Maine went on to capture the school’s second national championship in the 1990’s.%^$

%^$The Buckeyes will continue to search for their first-ever win over Maine when the two teams meet this weekend. The Black Bears lead the all-time series 6-0-0. The teams played single games against each other in 1999 (4-2 Maine) and 1992 (9-4 Maine). The other four meetings came via a two-year home-and-home series. The Black Bears swept OSU 10-1 and 5-2 in Orono, Maine in 1989, and notched 10-2 and 6-4 wins over the Buckeyes in Columbus in 1988. Maine has outscored Ohio State 44-15 combined in the six games.%^$

%^$Despite losing All-Americans Steve Kariya and David Cullen as well as star goaltender Alfie Michaud, the Black Bears have reloaded and were ranked No. 2 nationally in the Oct. 18 USCHO poll. Maine has scored 16 goals in just three games this season. Junior Dan Kerluke leads the team with 3-4-7 totals. Barrett Heisten (3-3-6) ranks second on the team in scoring, while Martin Kariya, brother of former Maine stars Steve and Paul Kariya, is tied for third. Fifteen players have recorded at least a point for Maine. The only question mark for the Bears this season may be in net. Sophomores and NHL draftees Mike Morrison (2 gp, 3.50 gaa, .870 sv. pct.) and Matt Yeats (1 gp, 3.00 gaa, .912 sv. pct.) are battling to replace Michaud, who left the school early to sign an NHL free agent contract. Pete Metcalf and Doug Janik, both NHL draftees, are Maine’s top defensemen. Shawn Walsh is in his 16th season behind the Maine bench and will bring a 355-195-32 career record into this weekend. He is 6-0-0 lifetime against Ohio State.%^$

%^$UMaine scored two goals in each period on its way to a 6-3 win over Canisius College in the championship game of the JCPenny Classic in Orono, Maine. The previous night, Maine topped New Brunswick University 6-3 in the opening round of the tournament to advance to the championship game. Dan Kerluke, Barrett Heisten and Peter Metcalf each had two goals combined in the two games. Official statistics will not reflect those stats earned in the game against New Brunswick, a Canadian university.%^$

%^$A speedy Maine team was too much for Ohio State to handle on March 26, 1999, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Steve Kariya scored a goal and added an assist as the Black Bears rolled to a 4-2 win. Jason Crain and Brandon Lafrance each scored goals for the Buckeyes, who trailed just 2-1 entering the final period. Ohio State was outshot by Maine, 34-22. Only seven penalties were called in the game, including only three on Ohio State. It marked the final career game for former Ohio State players Chris Richards, Dan Cousineau, Brandon Lafrance, Neal Rech, Hugo Boisvert, and Jeff Maund.%^$

%^$Maine was ranked No. 3 in the Oct. 18 USA Today/American Hockey Magazine national poll and No. 2 in the USCHO weekly national poll. Ohio State was not ranked in either poll, but debuted at No. 14 in the USCHO preseason poll.%^$

%^$The Buckeyes crashed into the CCHA’s most potent goaltending duo last weekend and were swept by Michigan State, 1-0 and 6-0. MSU’s Joe Blackburn shut out the Buckeyes last Friday, 1-0, despite an excellent effort by Ohio State goalie Ray Aho (19 saves on 20 shots) and the Ohio State defense (limited MSU to just 20 shots on goal). On Saturday, the Buckeyes fell victim to four Spartans special teams goals and MSU goalie Ryan Miller was impenetrable in the 6-0 loss. Aho made 34 saves in the loss. %^$

%^$Ohio State was shut out in back-to-back games last weekend for the first time since November of the 1995-’96 season. That year, the Buckeyes were blanked by Notre Dame, 4-0, on Nov. 11 and then shut out by Western Michigan, 1-0, on Nov. 17. Last weekend marked only the fourth time in school history that OSU has been shut out in two consecutive games.%^$

%^$In 37 years of Ohio State hockey, the Buckeyes have never been shut out in three consecutive games.%^$

%^$Ohio State’s special teams took a hit last weekend, going a combined 0-13 on the power-play and 8-of-12 on the penalty-kill.%^$

%^$When the Buckeyes and Black Bears meet this Friday, it will mark the third time in the last four seasons that Ohio State has faced the defending national champion – Maine this season (’99 champ), Michigan last season (’98 champ), and Michigan again in 1997 (’96 champ).%^$

%^$Ray Aho’s performance against Michigan State in last Friday’s game was extremely impressive. The 5-6 senior stopped 19-of-20 Spartan shots and made several highlight reel saves to keep the Buckeyes in the game. It marked the seventh time in Aho’s career he has allowed one goal or fewer.%^$

%^$Ohio State played its first one-goal game of the year last weekend in the 1-0 loss to the Spartans. Last season, the Buckeyes played in a school-record 16 one-goal games, going 8-8 in those contests.%^$

%^$Ohio State failed to score a power-play goal for the first time this season in last Friday’s 1-0 loss to Michigan State. Jean-Francois Dufour also had his five game point-scoring streak snapped in that game.%^$

%^$even or plus ratings for over three games
%^$Yan Des Gagne…six games
%^$Benji Wolke…..four games%^$

%^$Ohio State head coach John Markell has been adamate about his team staying out of the penalty box this year. Against the Spartans last Saturday, OSU broke a five game stretch in which they had at least 10 penalties in each game. In that game, the Buckeyes registered their lowest penalty total of the year (8) and allowed only five Michigan State power-plays.%^$

%^$Ohio State has not been able to muster a goal in its last 129:25, a span of two-plus games. In the Buckeyes’ last 211:28 of ice time, the team has scored just one goal. Ohio State’s last tally was a power-play goal by Eric Meloche in the third period of an Oct. 16 game against Western Michigan.%^$

%^$Ohio State has enjoyed success the past two seasons despite getting off to slow starts. In the 1997-98 season, the Buckeyes were 9-10-1 at one point before finishing the season with 18 wins in their final 22 games and landing in the NCAA Final Four. Last season, Ohio State was a dismal 1-6-1 after eight games, but rebounded for a 21-win season and a second straight trip to the NCAA Tournament. %^$

%^$MORE FIRST HALF-SECOND HALF ISSUES,br>%^$Combined the past two seasons, Ohio State is 18-16-3 in the months of October, November, and December. After January 1, Ohio State is 30-13-3 combined the past two seasons.%^$

%^$Next season, Ohio State will travel to Orono, Maine to complete the two-year home-and-home series. That guarantees that the Buckeyes and Black Bear will have met for three consecutive seasons.%^$

%^$Ohio State is 11-15-1 all-time against Hockey East members. Maine is the only Hockey East school OSU will meet this season barring a bid to the NCAA Tournament. Ohio State was 0-2-0 last year versus Hockey East foes and 2-4-1 overall against non-league competition. The CCHA went 5-7-1 combined against Hockey East schools last year.%^$

%^$Ohio State and Maine share one definite and one potential common opponents this year. The Buckeyes meet Cornell Jan. 8, while Maine faces Cornell Jan. 2. If things fall into place correctly, Maine could also face Notre Dame in the Denver Cup, an annual holiday tournament.%^$

%^$Ohio State has not not scored a first period goal since an Oct. 8 tally against Alaska-Fairbanks. The Buckeyes are unbeaten at 2-0-0 when scoring first and 0-5-0 when allowing opponents to score first.%^$

%^$Ohio State had its first experience with the new CCHA four-man officiating crews last weekend against Michigan State. There were a total of 38 penalties called last week on both teams combined. Two weeks ago when the Buckeyes faced Western Michigan and a three-man system was in place, there were a total of 45 penalties called on both teams combined.%^$

%^$No, the statistics don’t quite show in the scorebook yet, but regardless – the line of Miguel Lafleche (LW), Jason Selleke (C), and Nick Ganga (RW) has been productive for Ohio State. The trio, pieced together for the first time at the beginning of this year, has been extremely consistent and used their speed to produce numerous odd-man rushes for OSU. The group has put a combined 35 shots on goal this year (Ganga, 14, Selleke, 13, Lafleche, 8).%^$

%^$Who’s producing the offensive chances for Ohio State? Eric Meloche leads the team with 27 shots on goal, and linemate Jean-Francois Dufour ranks second with 19. Three defensemen rank third, fourth, and fifth on that list, due largely in part to playing on the point of the power-play: Andre Signoretti, 18, Ryan Jestadt, 18, Jason Crain, 14.%^$

%^$Senior captain Ryan Jestadt recorded only his second minus rating of the season in game two against Michigan State. Jestadt has registered either a plus or even rating in five of OSU’s seven games this season. Jean-Francois Dufour has been either even or above in six of seven games this year.%^$

%^$Three current Ohio State players have a career point against Maine to their credit: Jason Crain (1-0-1), Yan Des Gagne (0-1-1), and Eric Meloche (0-1-1)%^$

%^$Ohio State is in the midst of an eight-game stretch against four teams that all qualified for the 1999 NCAA Tournament, including Frozen Four participant Michigan State and defending national champion Maine. The Buckeyes were swept by the Spartans last weekend, and will face Maine twice this weekend. The Buckeyes meet Michigan Nov. 5-6. Following the home-and-home series with the Wolverines, the Buckeyes will make the 12-hour bus journey to Marquette, Mich., to square off against nationally-ranked Northern Michigan. Five games of the current eight-game stretch will be played on the road.%^$

%^$Ohio State’s defensemen continue to be a big part of the team’s offense this season. The group, consisting of Ryan Jestadt, Andre Signoretti, Ryan Skaleski, Jason Crain, Scott Titus, and Pete Broccoli, have accounted for 12 of the team’s 38 points (32 percent). OSU defensemen have also accounted for 34 percent (64-of-186) of Ohio State’s total shots on goal this season.%^$

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

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


-GO BUCKS!-%^$