Feb. 4, 2004

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The No. 13/14 Ohio State men’s hockey team travels to Big Rapids, Mich., to face Ferris State for a two-game CCHA series this weekend. The Buckeyes (16-12-0, 11-9-0 CCHA) and Bulldogs (13-12-3, 8-11-1 CCHA) will meet at 7:35 p.m. Friday and at 7:05 p.m. Saturday at R.L. Ewigleben Ice Arena (2,493/pronounced A-VAH-glave-in).

The Buckeyes’ games at Ferris State will be broadcast by WOSU Radio (820 AM/ Neil Sika will call the play-by-play, while former Buckeyes John Mowat (Friday) and Scott Titus (Saturday) will provide commentary.

Ohio State beat Bowling Green on the road, 4-3, last Saturday. Last weekend, Ferris State split a two-game series with Western Michigan. Each team won at home, with the Bulldogs winning Friday, 4-1, before the Broncos won Saturday, 3-2.

The Buckeyes are tied for fifth place in the CCHA with 22 points in 20 games. OSU is one point behind both Michigan State (20 games played) and Alaska Fairbanks (22 gp). Michigan (18 gp) is five points ahead of the Buckeyes, while first-place Miami (20 gp) is six points ahead.

Ferris is in ninth place in the CCHA with 17 points in 20 games.

Buckeye senior forward Dave Steckel was named the Central Collegiate Hockey Association Offensive Player of the Week, the league announced Monday. Steckel had a team-best three points to lead the squad to a 4-3 win at Bowling Green last Saturday.

Against the Falcons, Steckel tied the game at one in the first period, assisted on Andrew Schembri’s power-play goal that gave the Buckeyes the lead later in the period and then had the first assist on Thomas Welsh’s third-period gamewinner. Steckel earned Perani Cup First Star of the Game honors and was +1 in the game. The win gave the Buckeyes’ a sweep of the regular-season series vs. Bowling Green. Steckel scored two goals in Ohio State’s win at Bowling Green Nov. 29, 2003.

This marks the second time this season Steckel has been named the league’s offensive player of the week. He also received the honor Oct. 6 after the season-opening Lefty McFadden Invitational.

This weekend, all 12 CCHA teams will be involved in league play. Bowling Green travels to Nebraska-Omaha, Michigan goes to Alaska Fairbanks, Ohio State is at Ferris State and Western Michigan is at Northern Michigan. Michigan State plays at Lake Superior State Thursday before the Spartans and Lakers face off in Joe Louis Arena in Detroit Saturday. The final series is Notre Dame and Miami; the Irish and RedHawks meet Friday in Oxford, Ohio, and Saturday in Cincinnati.

Following its win over Bowling Green, Ohio State moved up in the national polls. After a week out, the team reentered the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine poll at No. 14 and it moved up two spaces to No. 13 in the poll. In the INCH Power Rankings, the Buckeyes remain on the bubble.

Ohio State leads the all-time series with Ferris State, 48-32-10, but trails the series in Big Rapids, Mich., 19-22-3. In the last 10 meetings, the Bulldogs lead, 5-4-1. The Buckeyes are trying to stop a two-game losing streak to Ferris after being swept last season (Nov. 22-23), losing 4-2 and 2-1 in overtime.

This marks the fifth consecutive season Ohio State has made the trip to Big Rapids, Mich., to face Ferris State. The Buckeyes are looking to stop a five-game (0-4-1) winless streak on the road vs. Ferris State. The squad’s last win in Big Rapids was Dec. 1, 2000.

In all, eight of the last 10 meetings between the Buckeyes and Bulldogs have been at Ferris State’s home rink. OSU is 2-5-1 in the last eight meetings at Big Rapids.

OSU AT FSU – NOV. 22-23, 2002

The Buckeyes were swept on the road at Ferris State Nov. 22-23. In the first game, the squad gave up three unanswered goals, resulting in a 4-2 CCHA loss. FSU jumped out to a 1-0 lead just 1:31 into the game with a power-play goal. The Buckeyes then took a 2-1 lead on goals by R.J. Umberger and Dave Steckel. FSU rebounded with a goal by Phil Lewandowski less than two minutes after Steckel had scored, tying the game at two. The Bulldogs’ Derek Nesbitt scored the lone goal of the second period and then put the game out of reach with a goal late in the third period.

In the series finale, the Bulldogs took a 1-0 lead at the 13:50 mark of the second period on a Jeff Legue goal. OSU tied the game in the third when Rod Pelley scored, assisted by Chris Olsgard and Nate Guenin. The teams battled through the rest of the period, but the score remained tied, sending the game to overtime. In the extra stanza, Derrick McIver scored at the 1:05 mark, giving the Bulldogs the win and the two-game sweep of the Buckeyes.

Paul Caponigri leads the Buckeyes with five goals and nine points against the Bulldogs. Caponigri and Dave Steckel are tied for the lead with four assists each.

Ferris State, the defending CCHA regular-season champion, is 13-12-3 on the year and stands at 8-11-1 in the CCHA to hold down the ninth spot.

Brett Smith leads Ferris State in goals (12), assists (17) and points (29). Derrick McIver is second with 10 goals, while Greg Rallo is second with 14 assists. In net, 2003 All-American Mike Brown has started all 28 games, with a 2.99 goals-against average and .896 save percentage.

Bob Daniels, a 1982 graduate of Michigan State, is in his 12th season at the helm. He has a career and Ferris State ledger of 193-219-36.

Ohio State will play six of its last nine regular-season games on the road. The Bowling Green win began a three-game stretch which ends at Ferris State this week. After a two-game home series with Nebraska-Omaha, OSU travels for two games at Western Michigan before opening a home-and-home with Miami on the road in Oxford. The Buckeyes are 7-4-0 on the road this season.

In road games this season, Ohio State is scoring 3.5 goals an outing, while allowing 2.3. Both numbers are better than the squad’s overall marks so far this season of 3.0 goals scored and 2.5 goals allowed. Senior Paul Caponigri (8-4) and Dave Steckel (5-7) lead the way with 12 points each on the road. Scott May is just behind with 3-8-11.

With an assist in the win over Bowling Green Saturday, Doug Andress took the team assist lead with 16 (Nate Guenin is one behind with 15). The 16 assists tie Andress’ career high, set both as a freshman in 2001 and as a junior last year. Andress has an assist in five of the last six games.

Junior Thomas Welsh, a defenseman who has converted to forward, scored the gamewinning goal against Bowling Green Saturday. It was Welsh’s second career goal; his first was Nov. 2, 2001 against Nebraska-Omaha and also was the gamewinner. Welsh had been held to 45 games in his career because of two knee injuries.

Two Buckeye freshmen have come on strong since the mid-season break. Bryce Anderson has six of his seven points on the season since the break, including 1-4-5 in his last five games. Andrew Schembri has a point (3-3-6) in six of the 10 games since the break.

Buckeye senior Chris Olsgard has a goal in two of his last three games after going 16 games without a tally. He scored in the opening game vs. Michigan State and in the win over Bowling Green.

Buckeye freshman Tyson Strachan had an assist and was a team-best +2 in the win over Bowling Green. It was his first helper since Oct. 17 at Michigan State, while the +2 rating was his best since Oct. 11 vs. Notre Dame.

The Buckeyes have lost just one time when Scott May scores a point, going 11-1-0 when he gets on the scoresheet. The squad also is 11-1-0 when Nate Guenin has a point. JB Bittner has the most wins when scoring a point, with a 13-2-0 ledger.

Thomas Welsh was the 19th Buckeye to score a goal this season when he tallied against Bowling Green. Of the 21 Buckeye skaters, 19 have at least one tally; freshmen Sean Collins and Dave Barton are the only Buckeyes without a goal on the year.

Ohio State is 9-3-0 following a loss so far this season. The squad has three two-game losing streaks this year and they came in sweeps against Miami, Michigan and Michigan State.

Senior forward Dave Steckel had three points, on a goal and two assists, against Bowling Green to bring his career total to 97. 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 132 career games.

The Buckeyes improved to 11-3-0 on Saturday with their win over Bowling Green. The squad is 4-8-0 on Friday, 0-1-0 on Sunday and 1-0-0 on Tuesday.

Following Alaska Fairbanks’ tie at Notre Dame, Ohio State and Yale are now the only Division I men’s teams in the nation to not have a tie.

Buckeye defenseman Doug Andress is tied for third in the nation among defensemen with 16 assists. Nate Guenin is tied for seventh with 15 helpers.

This season, the score after the first period has been a good indicator of the final result for the Buckeyes. Ohio State is 9-1-0 when leading after one and 1-6-0 when trailing after the first. When tied after one, Ohio State is 6-5-0.

When leading after two, OSU is a perfect 14-0-0. When trailing going into the final stanza, Ohio State has not come back to win, going 0-9-0. When tied after two, the Buckeyes are 2-3-0.

This season, all 21 Buckeye skaters have at least one point, while 19 have at least one goal. Ten Buckeyes have double-digits point totals. In 43 games last season, 14 Buckeyes had 10 or more points.

This season, 10 Buckeyes have 10 or more points, while two others have nine. Paul Caponigri 13-10-23) leads the way, followed by Dave Steckel (13-9-22) and Scott May (8-13-21), Dan Knapp (4-13-17), Nate Guenin (2-15-17) and Doug Andress (1-16-17), JB Bittner (11-5-16), Rod Pelley (7-6-13), Andrew Schembri (6-6-12) and Matt Waddell (2-8-10). Daymen Bencharski (3-6) and Sean Collins (0-9) are just outside with nine points each.

Senior goalie Mike Betz, who already owns the program records for career wins, career shutouts, shutouts in a season and single-season goals-against average, is close to another record. Betz is just 82 saves shy of Dan Stergiou’s record for career saves (3,261). Betz has 3,179 saves as a Buckeye.

The Buckeyes’ game at Western Michigan Saturday, Feb. 21 has been moved to 8:05 p.m. to avoid a scheduling conflict with the Broncos’ men’s basketball team, whose game against the College of Charleston will be televised live on ESPN2 at 4 p.m.

The Buckeyes return home to play host to Nebraska-Omaha for a two-game series. The Buckeyes and Mavericks, who have not met since Ohio State swept UNO in the first round of the 2003 CCHA playoffs, will face off at 7:05 p.m. Friday, Feb. 13 and Saturday, Feb. 14.

The Feb. 13 contest vs. the UNO Mavericks will feature free Hockey Brutus Bobbleheads for the first 1,000 fans courtesy of Huntington Banks. In addition, it will be Buck a Brat night and fans can enjoy Johnsonville Brats for $1 (while supplies last). Lastly, AAA cardholders can receive a ticket to the game for $4 by showing their AAA card at the game. The Feb. 14 game will be a Frozen Four Pack night, where fans can get four tickets, four hot dogs, four sodas and four popcorns for only $40.

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.