Feb. 17, 2004

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The No. 12 Ohio State men’s hockey team travels north to face Central Collegiate Hockey Association foe Western Michigan for a two-game series. The Buckeyes (19-13-0, 14-10-0 CCHA) and Broncos (15-13-3, 11-10-2 CCHA) will meet at 7:35 p.m. Friday and 8:05 p.m. Saturday at Lawson Arena in Kalamazoo, Mich. Note the Saturday game time has been changed.

The Buckeyes games at Western Michigan will be broadcast by WOSU Radio (820 AM/ with Neil Sika (play-by-play) and former Buckeye John Mowat (color) on the call.

Ohio State swept Nebraska-Omaha at home by scores of 3-1 and 4-3 last weekend. Western Michigan is coming off a bye week. In their last action (Feb. 6-7), the Broncos split a two-game series at Northern Michigan, falling in the opener, 3-2, and winning the finale, 6-2.

The Buckeyes’ sweep of Nebraska-Omaha moved them into fourth place in the CCHA, one point behind third-place Michigan State, four back of second-place Miami and five behind league-leader Michigan. OSU is one point ahead of Alaska Fairbanks with two games in hand.

Western Michigan is in seventh place with 24 points and one game in hand on the Buckeyes.

Freshman forward Andrew Schembri, from Mississauga, Ontario, was named the Central Collegiate Hockey Association Rookie of the Week, the league announced Monday. Schembri had a team-best three goals and added an assist as the Buckeyes swept CCHA-foe Nebraska-Omaha at home over the weekend.

Against the Mavericks Friday, Schembri scored two goals, including the eventual gamewinner, to earn Perani Cup First Star of the Game honors. Saturday, he had a goal and the primary assist on Scott May’s gamewinning tally, earning second-star accolades. Schembri was +2 on the weekend and was not on the ice for a goal against.

In the Buckeyes’ last four games, four players have scored all 15 goals. Andrew Schembri and Dan Knapp each have five, Scott May has three and Bryce Anderson has two.

Since being put on a line together in the second game at Ferris State (Feb. 7), the trio of Dan Knapp, Scott May and Andrew Schembri has combined for 11 goals, 10 assists and 21 points in three games.

Ohio State trails both the all-time series vs. Western Michigan (51-56-8) and the series in Kalamazoo (21-28-4). However, the Buckeyes have won the last six meetings against the Broncos, including the last four in Lawson Arena. The Buckeyes’ winning streak followed a three-game losing streak to the Broncos.

Three of the last six games between the Buckeyes and Broncos have gone to overtime, with Ohio State winning all three overtime contests.

Ohio State is 7-1-1 in its last nine games at Lawson Ice Arena. The Buckeyes have not played there since going 4-0-0 (regular season and playoff sweeps) in 2001-02. OSU’s only loss in Kalamazoo during the nine-game stretch came Dec. 15, 2000 (5-4).

Western Michigan is 15-13-3 on the year and 11-10-2 in conference play. The squad is averaging 3.2 goals a game, while allowing 3.5 an outing.

Vince Bellissimo leads the Broncos in assists (20) and points (31). Dana Lattery is tied for second in goals with 12 (with Brent Walton and Jeremy Cheyne) and ranks second in points with 30. In net, Scott Foster has played 27 games, starting 25, with a 3.22 goals-against average and .880 save percentage.

Jim Culhane, a 1987 graduate of Western Michigan, is in his fifth year at the helm of his alma mater and has an 84-87-21 both at WMU and in his career.

THE 2002-03 SERIES
Ohio State posted two 3-2 victories over Western Michigan in Value City Arena last season.

In the Feb. 7 contest, Dave Steckel gave OSU the lead after one period with a power-play goal. WMU’s Pat Dwyer tied the game on the only goal of the middle period. In the third, Dana Lattery gave WMU the lead with a goal at 15:19. Rod Pelley tied the game with just 46 seconds remaining with an extra attacker goal. R.J. Umberger then scored in overtime for the Buckeye victory.

On Feb. 8, the teams traded goals in the first period (by Ryan Kesler and Dana Lattery) and there was no scoring in the second. In the third, JB Bittner gave the Buckeyes the lead at 4:09 with a power-play goal before Vince Bellissimo tied the game at 17:25. OSU’s Miguel Lafleche scored just 14 seconds later to give OSU the win. OSU outshot WMU in the game, 47-22.

Dave Steckel leads Ohio State with five goals against Western Michigan, while Doug Andress is first with six assists. Steckel, Andress and Paul Caponigri (4-2) are tied for the lead with six career points each vs. the Broncos.

Senior Scott May has two points in each of his last five games, with three two-assist games (at BGSU Jan. 31, at FSU Feb. 7, vs. UNO Feb. 13), a two-goal night (at FSU Feb. 6) and a 1-1-2 performance (vs. UNO Feb. 14). He leads OSU with 11 multiple-point games on the year.

Freshman Andrew Schembri has a five-game point streak, with 6-3-9 totals during the stretch. He has three consecutive multiple-point outings.

Since shaving his head prior to the Ferris State series Feb. 6-7, Buckeye sophomore Dan Knapp has at least one point in every game. He has 5-4-9 totals during the stretch, including his first career hat trick and a career-best four-point night (at FSU Feb. 7).

Ohio State swept Nebraska-Omaha at home by 3-1 and 4-3 scores. The sweep was OSU’s fifth sweep of a CCHA series this season, as the squad also won two games against Michigan State, Alaska Fairbanks, Bowling Green and Lake Superior State.

Senior Paul Caponigri’s three assists in the first period of the game vs. Nebraska-Omaha Saturday tied his career high, set at UNO March 9, 2001. It also tied the Buckeyes’ season high, set by Sean Collins at Northern Michigan Nov. 8.

In addition, Caponigri’s three helpers in the first tied the Value City Arena record for assists in a period. It was the third time the feat was accomplished; Scott May was the last to do it (Feb. 22, 2003 vs. Bowling Green).

Ohio State tied its season high with three power-play goals against UNO Saturday. The team also had three power-play tallies at Bowling Green Nov. 29. The squad was 3-for-8 with the man advantage vs. the Mavericks.

The Buckeyes’ four goals in the first against UNO also tied the season high for goals in a period. The first four-goal period was in the middle stanza at BGSU Nov. 29.

Nebraska-Omaha’s power-play goal in the first period Saturday ended Ohio State’s streak of power plays stopped at 17. After allowing two power-play goals against Lake Superior State Jan. 17, Ohio State stopped 35-of-38 opponent chances and did not allow a power-play tally in four of the last seven games.

The Buckeyes have performed better than their season average on both the power play (14.9%) and penalty kill (84.9%) in the last five games.

Date Opp. PP PK 1/31 at BGSU 1/7 8/9 2/6 at FSU 2/6 2/2 2/7 at FSU 2/6 8/8 2/13 UNO 0/5 6/6 2/14 UNO 3/8 4/5 Power Play 8/32 (25%) Penalty Kill 28/30 (93.3%)

Dave Caruso has started the last three games in net and has gone 3-0-0 in those contests, with a 1.34 goals-against and .947 save percentage. He has won his last five starts overall, including two shutouts. On the year, Caruso has a 1.91 goals-against average and .926 save percentage. UNO’s goal in the third period Friday ended Caruso’s shutout streak at 142:04.

The Friday night contest against Nebraska-Omaha marked the 150th career game played for Buckeye seniors Scott May and Doug Andress. They are three games shy of the Top 10 list in program history. Stacy Hartnell (1988-91) and Dave Kobryn (1981-84) are tied for ninth with 154 games played each. Mark Anderson is the all-time games played leader with 167 outings in Scarlet and Gray.

Andress is the team’s leader with 138 consecutive games played. He has not missed a game since sitting out the Nov. 28, 2000 game as a freshman.

The only game May has missed was the Notre Dame contest Oct. 11, 2003. That game ended his streak of consecutive games played at 123.

Senior forward Dave Steckel has 97 points in his career. He should become the third Buckeye to hit the 100-point mark this season, joining Paul Caponigri and Scott May. Steckel has 46-51-97 totals in 136 career games.

The Buckeyes are 13-3-0 on Saturday this season and 5-9-0 on Friday. On Sunday, Ohio State is 0-1-0 and the team is 1-0-0 on Tuesday.

Ohio State and Yale are the only Division I men’s teams in the nation to not have a tie. The last Buckeye squad to go an entire season without a tie was in 1971-72.

With 28 points on the year, senior Paul Caponigri is just two away from his fourth 30-point season in a row. He had 31 points as a freshman, 30 as a sophomore and 32 as a junior. Caponigri is the only current Buckeye with 30 points in each of his first three seasons.

20-20 VISION
The Buckeyes are one win shy of their third consecutive 20-win season. The feat has not been accomplished since 1979-81, when the squad won 25 games in both 1979 and 1980 and 24 in 1981.

Freshman Andrew Schembri scored two first-period goals to lead Ohio State to a 3-1 victory over Nebraska-Omaha Friday night in Value City Arena. Schembri scored at 4:11 and 8:08 of the opening stanza, with both goals assisted by Scott May (Dan Knapp had the second helper on the second goal). Knapp scored the only goal of the second, tipping in a Tyson Strachan shot at 11:25. In the third, Kaleb Betts got UNO on the board at the 12:29 mark. In the game, OSU outshot the Mavericks, 27-25.

Saturday, the Buckeyes scored two goals in the first 1:28 (by Schembri on a power play and Bryce Anderson) before the Mavericks cut the lead to one on a power-play goal. Knapp and May then scored power-play goals of their own to give OSU a 4-1 lead after one. UNO scored the only goals of the second to cut Ohio State’s lead to one (4-3). There was no scoring in the third, as OSU held on for the win and the series sweep. For the second consecutive night, the Buckeyes outshot the Mavericks, 27-25.

The Buckeyes have a bye week (Feb. 27-28) before ending the regular season with a home-and-home series vs. rival Miami. Ohio State and Miami will meet at 7:35 p.m. March 5 in Oxford, Ohio, before ending the series at 8:05 p.m. Saturday in Columbus, Ohio.

Ohio State ends the regular season against Miami at home Saturday, March 6 at 8:05 p.m., completing a home-and-home series with the RedHawks. The game marks senior night for the Buckeyes. There will be free Ohio State hockey T-shirts for the first 1,000 fans and you can meet the Buckeye seniors at a postgame autograph session.

Ohio State senior goalie Mike Betz and the team will be holding a fundraising dinner at The Top Steakhouse April 18 to raise money for the Siouxland Tanzania Educational and Medical Ministries (STEMM). Members of the team will serve as waiters, with their tips going to the cause, and live and silent auctions will be held. For more information, call the OSU hockey office at 614-292-0820.

Last year, the event raised more than $9,000. Betz and STEMM used part of the money this past summer to renovate an orphanage. In addition, the group built classrooms for elementary schools and was involved with HIV/AIDS education.