COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 9/10-ranked Ohio State men’s hockey team gets its 2020-21 campaign underway at No. 11 Minnesota this week. The Buckeyes and Golden Gophers will meet at 8:30 p.m. ET Monday and Tuesday in 3M Arena at Mariucci in Minneapolis, Minn.
Both games will be televised by BTN, with Fred Pletsch and Dan Kelly on the call. Ohio State radio, with Herb Howenstine and Buckeye alum Brendon Kearney, will have the games on 1460 AM and online at 971thefan.com. Live stats will be available. All links will be on the men’s hockey schedule page on OhioStateBuckeyes.com.
- The Big Ten has announced the men’s hockey schedule through the end of 2020. Ohio State is scheduled for 10 games – six at home and four on the road.
- After opening the year at Minnesota, the Buckeyes begin their home slate vs. Michigan State Saturday-Sunday (Nov. 28-29), followed by home games against Wisconsin Dec. 3-4. A series at Notre Dame is set for Dec. 12-13 and the final series of 2020 is a non-conference matchup vs. Arizona State Dec. 17-18 in Columbus.
- The 2020-21 campaign consists of 24 conference games for each Big Ten team, plus an additional four contests per school against Arizona State hosted at Big Ten venues. The 2021 Big Ten Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament will be held March 18-20, 2021.
- The schedule for the remaining 18 games for each school will be released by the Big Ten in the near future.
- The Ohio State University Department of Athletics has determined family members of the players and coaching staffs of teams competing this fall will not be permitted into any university sporting event. This decision aligns with the Columbus Department of Health’s stay at home advisory, which was issued Nov. 18. The Department of Athletics will continue to work with state and local health officials on protocols and adjustments for hosting events during the pandemic.
In the B1G
- Ohio State is the last Big Ten team to get its 2020-21 schedule underway.
- Minnesota and Michigan are both 2-0-0 in league play, sweeping Penn State and Wisconsin, respectively.
- The Badgers are 2-2-0 after opening the year with a sweep at Notre Dame.
- Michigan State has yet to play a league game but was 1-0-1 against Arizona State in its first action of the campaign. The Wolverines opened their year with two wins against the Sun Devils.
In the Rankings
- Ohio State started the year 10th in both the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls. The squad moved to No. 9 in the USCHO.compoll Nov. 16, staying at No. 10 in the USA Today rankings.
- The Buckeyes ended each of the last four years in the Top 15 of both polls, including No. 10 at the end of 2019-20. Ohio State is the only B1G team to end the season in the Top 15 of the national polls each of the year four years.
- Ohio State has been ranked in the Top 15 of both polls since Nov. 27, 2017.
- The squad has been at the least receiving votes in each poll since the preseason polls to start 2016-17. In that stretch, the team has been in the USCHO Top 20 all but three weeks in October 2017 (receiving votes the first three polls) and in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Top 15 poll each set of rankings since being in the ‘receiving votes’ category in the first nine polls of 2017-18.
Leading the Buckeyes
- Senior Austin Pooley has been voted the Buckeyes’ captain for 2020-21, while senior Grant Gabriele and juniors Quinn Preston and Gustaf Westlund will serve as the team’s alternate captains.
- Pooley, who was an alternate captain as a junior, is the first Central Ohio native to be a captain for the Buckeyes. He is the second Pooley to wear the ‘C’ at Ohio State, joining his uncle, Paul (a two-time captain in 1982-83 and ’83-84).
- In the Big Ten preseason coaches poll, Ohio State was projected to finish tied for third with Notre Dame, behind Minnesota and Michigan. Wisconsin was predicted to finish fifth, followed by Michigan State and Penn State.
- Tommy Nappier, the 2019 Big Ten Goalie of the Year, was voted Second Team Preseason All-Big Ten, while Quinn Preston and Gustaf Westlund were both honorable mention choices.
Buckeyes vs. Gophers
- The series between Ohio State and Minnesota dates to 1968 but 38 of the 44 games have been since 1999.
- In Minneapolis, the Gophers have the edge, 17-2-3, and Minnesota leads in Big Ten regular season games overall, 17-6-5.
- Last year, the Gophers won the season series, 2-1-1. Minnesota swept the series in their arena in January (6-3, 4-1). In Columbus in December 2019, Ohio State won in overtime (3-2) before the teams skated to a 1-1 overtime tie, with a Gopher 3×3 goal.
The Buckeye Roster
- Ohio State returns 19 players from the 2019-20 squad, adding eight newcomers (five freshmen, three sophomores).
- The Buckeye roster is comprised of six seniors, four juniors, 11 sophomores, a redshirt freshman and five true freshmen.
- Ohio State is third among Big Ten teams in both average height (6’0.33) and average weight (188.44). The Buckeyes are the second-oldest team in the league, averaging 21.79 years of age.
- The top returning goal scorer for Ohio State is Quinn Preston, who was second on the team last year with 15 tallies. Preston and Gustaf Westlund tied for third on the team in points a year ago and are the Buckeyes’ leading returning scorers.
- Tommy Nappier enters his senior year eighth among NCAA goalies with 33 career wins, ranking second in save percentage (.934) and fourth in goals-against average (1.92) among active goalies.