Dec. 10, 2002

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The No. 12-ranked Ohio State men’s hockey team (10-4-1, 7-2-1/t-3rd CCHA) plays host to Nebraska-Omaha (7-7-2, 5-5-0/t-8th CCHA) for two games this weekend in its last series before going on a two-week break. The Buckeyes and Mavericks will face off at 7:05 p.m. Friday and at 8:05 p.m. Saturday in Value City Arena. The Buckeyes are coming off a two-game sweep of Miami at home, while the Mavericks won two games at Lake Superior State in their last time out.

The game Saturday will be broadcast live on WOSU (820 AM) and online at with Herb Howenstine (play-by-play) and former Buckeye John Mowat (color) on the call. Both games will be broadcast by OSU Student Radio and can be heard online at Live stats will be available online at

The all-time series between Ohio State and Nebraska-Omaha is tied, 4-4-1. In Columbus, OSU leads, 2-1-1.

R.J. Umberger was honored as the CCHA’s Offensive Player of the Week Monday after leading the Buckeyes with seven points in their two-game sweep of Miami. In the series opener, he had a hand in all four Buckeye goals, posting two goals and two assists and tying his career high of four points set against Notre Dame Feb. 3, 2001. In the series finale, he had a goal and two assists for three points.

With seven points last weekend, R.J. Umberger now has 95 points in his OSU career, just five shy of the century mark. In all, 46 Buckeyes have recorded 100 or more points in their careers. Umberger has 41-54-95 totals in 84 games as a Buckeye.

Junior Chris Olsgard scored the game-winning goal against Miami Saturday, the third gamewinner of his career. In all, three of Olsgard’s nine career goals as a Buckeye have stood as gamewinners. He scored the overtime goal in OSU’s CCHA quarterfinal game against Alaska Fairbanks last season and his first game-winning tally was against Ferris State his freshman year.

The Buckeyes are tied for third place in the CCHA with 15 points in 10 games with two games in hand on the first and second place teams. Ferris State stands in first with 20 points in 12 games, while Northern Michigan has recorded 16 points in 12 CCHA contests to rank third. Miami is tied with the Buckeyes for third place with 15 points in 12 games.

Ohio State and Nebraska-Omaha are the only CCHA teams in league action this weekend. In-conference play will return Jan. 3, 2003 with three league series.

The Buckeyes and Mavericks met for a two-game series in Columbus last season (Nov. 2-3, 2001). OSU posted a 1-0 win in the first game, with Thomas Welsh scoring the lone goal of the game on the power play and Mike Betz recording the shutout in net. The Buckeyes were defeated in the second game, 4-1. Daymen Bencharski scored for OSU in the game.

Paul Caponigri (2 goals, 4 assists) and Doug Andress (6 assists) are tied for the team lead with six points each against UNO. R.J. Umberger is third with five points, including four assists.

Nebraska-Omaha enters the series with the Buckeyes on a five-game unbeaten streak, including sweeping Lake Superior State on the road last weekend. The squad is 7-7-2 overall and stands in a tie for eighth place in the CCHA with a mark of 5-5-0. Andrew Wong and Greg Zanon are tied for the team lead with 18 points and in assists with 14 each. David Brisson ranks first with nine goals on the year. In net, Dan Ellis, a second-round draft pick of the Dallas Stars, has played in 15 games, posting a goals-against average of 3.08 and a save percentage of .892. Last season, Zanon earned second team All-America honors and Ellis and Zanon were named to the All-CCHA second team.

Mike Kemp, a 1975 graduate of Gustavus Adolphus, is in his sixth season at the helm of the Mavericks. He has a school and career record of 91-99-19. Kemp is the only coach in school history, as the varsity program was formed in the 1998-99 season.

Five of the nine games between the Buckeyes and Mavericks have been decided by one goal, including an overtime win for each team in the first round of the 2001 CCHA tournament in Omaha.

The Buckeyes and Mavericks will face off for two games in Omaha, Neb., later this season. OSU and UNO will meet Jan. 24 and 25 in the Omaha Civic Auditorium. OSU is 2-3-0 all-time in Omaha, with all five games coming in the 2000-01 season.

The Buckeyes’ game vs. Princeton scheduled for 8:05 p.m. Friday, Jan. 3, 2003, at Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh has been moved to 5:05 p.m. The time change was made to avoid a conflict with the Buckeye football team’s appearance in the BCS national championship game. The Tostitos Fiesta Bowl kicks off at 8 p.m. (EST) in Tempe, Ariz., and will be televised live nationally by ABC-TV.

OSU head coach John Markell announced the signing of four student-athletes to NCAA National Letters of Intent to enroll in Ohio State and play hockey for the Buckeyes beginning in the 2003-04 season. Defensemen Kyle Hood (Osoyoos, British Columbia) and Matt Waddell (Armstrong, British Columbia) and forwards David Barton (Calgary, Alberta) and Kenny Bernard (Sarnia, Ontario) comprise the recruiting class. Barton is a left-shot centerman that plays for the Calgary Canucks of the Alberta Junior Hockey League. Bernard, a left-shot winger, competes for the Sarnia Blast team in the Western Ontario Junior B league. Hood is a right-shot defenseman that plays for the River City Lancers in the United States Hockey League. Waddell, a left-shot defenseman, plays for the Vernon Vipers of the BCHL.

The Buckeyes have been outstanding at home so far this season, posting a mark of 7-1-0. The squad is averaging 4.1 goals per game, while holding opponents to 2.0 goals an outing. OSU has scored on 24.5 percent of its power play chances and its penalty-killing unit has stopped 93.3 of its opponents’ chances.

With two wins over the weekend, Mike Betz moved into fifth place all-time for goalie wins at OSU with 44. He ranks ninth all-time in saves with 2,150, just four back of eighth-place Roger Beedon (2,154).

The Buckeyes scored a season-high four power-play goals in the second game against Miami. For the weekend, the team was 5-for-16, scoring on 31.2 percent of its chances. The squad has at least one power-play tally in 10 of its last 11 games, scoring on 24.6 percent of its chances (16/65) in those games.

Ryan Kesler was named to the U.S. National Junior Team that will compete in the World Junior Championships Dec. 26-Jan. 5 in Nova Scotia. He will be the third Buckeye to compete for the U.S. in the tournament, as R.J. Umberger and Dave Steckel, both NHL first-round draft picks, were selected to the team each of the last two seasons.

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

The Buckeyes’ penalty killing has been outstanding all season, as the squad has allowed just 10 goals on 93 opportunities (.892). The squad ranks fifth in the nation (according to and second in the CCHA in all games in penalty killing. Ohio State leads the conference in penalty killing in CCHA games, stopping 56-of-59 opportunities (94.9 percent).

The Buckeyes lead the CCHA in team defense in conference games, allowing just 1.90 goals per contest. The squad has allowed three or more goals in a CCHA game just three times this year. It has held opponents to no goals once, one goal three times and two goals in three games.

The Buckeyes swept No. 11 ranked Miami in Value City Arena last weekend, posting 4-0 and 5-3 wins. In the first game, R.J. Umberger recorded two goals and two assist and goalie Mike Betz made 19 saves to lead OSU to a 4-0 shutout victory. After a scoreless first period, the Buckeyes took a 2-0 lead on goals by Umberger and Ryan Kesler in the second stanza. The Buckeyes put the game out of reach in the third, as Umberger scored his second goal of the game at the 2:36 mark and Dave Steckel ended the scoring with a power-play tally at 8:39.

Special teams were the story of game two, as OSU scored four power-play goals and one shorthanded and held Miami scoreless on 7-of-8 power play chances in a 5-3 win. In the second game, Miami scored the lone goal of the first period before the Buckeyes tied the game in the second on an Umberger power-play tally. The game opened up in the third, as the teams combined for six goals. Miguel Lafleche staked OSU to its first lead of the game just 33 seconds into the third period. The RedHawks tied the game with an even-strength goal at 4:58. OSU again took the lead, as Dave Steckel stole the puck in front of the Miami net on the penalty kill and scored. The RedHawks responded quickly, however, as Mike Kompon scored just 37 seconds later. Chris Olsgard regained the OSU one-goal lead with a goal at the 14:23 mark and Scott May put the game out of reach with a goal with less than a minute remaining.

OSU’s blanking of Miami last weekend was the first ever for the Buckeyes against the RedHawks in 94 games. It marked the first shutout of the year for Mike Betz and the Buckeyes. Betz now has seven shutouts in his OSU career.

R.J. Umberger leads the Buckeyes in goals (9) and points (19) this season. Scott May leads the Buckeyes with 14 assists. Miguel Lafleche, Dave Steckel and Daymen Bencharski all have three power-play goals to rank first and Umberger, Ryan Kesler and Lafleche are tied with two game-winning goals each. Steckel leads the team with a +6 rating, while Umberger ranks first on the squad with 75 shots on goal. Paul Caponigri is first on the team with 29 penalty minutes and Nate Guenin leads the squad with 13 penalties.

The Buckeyes held Miami, a team that entered the series averaging more than 39 shots per contest, to just 19 shots on goal in each game last weekend. On the season, OSU’s opponents are averaging 25.9 shots on goal per game.

The Buckeyes have outshot their opponents in 11-of-15 games this season. The squad is 9-1-1 when posting more shots on goal than the opposition. The squad has held opponents to 20 or less shots on goal in six games this season.

The Buckeyes will take a two-week break before returning to action Dec. 28-29 in the Everblades College Classic at TECO Arena in Estero, Fla. Ohio State will face Massachusetts in the first round, with Maine and Cornell squaring off in the other first-round matchup.