Feb. 7, 2007

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The ninth-ranked Ohio State women’s hockey team (16-10-4, 11-9-4 WCHA) travels to Madison, Wis., for its final road series of the regular season, taking on No. 2 Wisconsin (25-1-4, 19-1-4 WCHA), Feb. 9 and 11. Games begin at 2:07 p.m. Friday and 11:07 a.m. Sunday at the Kohl Center. Wisconsin claimed the 2006-07 regular-season WCHA championship last weekend.

Wisconsin Series History
Ohio State is looking a snap an eight game skid to the Badgers. The Buckeyes have been close with the three pervious meetings decided by one goal. The last victory over Wisconsin was Oct. 23, 2004 with a 4-1 win at OSU Ice Rink. UW leads the all-time series 25-3-5, with an 11-1-2 edge in Madison.

When Last We Met…
The Buckeyes dropped two one-goal decisions to Wisconsin, Oct. 13-14 at OSU Ice Rink. The Badgers won both games by scores of 3-2. Junior forward Mallory Peckels (2g, 1a) and senior defenseman Amber Bowman (3a) led Ohio State with three points each.

Bowman Approaching Century Mark
Senior defenseman Amber Bowman increased her career point total to 97 with a goal and assist at North Dakota. Bowman is three points shy of becoming just the third Buckeye to reach the 100-point milestone. It also would make her the all-time point leader for OSU defenseman, passing Emma Laaksonen (99 points, 2001-04) for the record.

With three points against St. Cloud State (Jan. 19-20), she became just the fifth Buckeye to surpass 90 career points.

Last Time Out: North Dakota
The 10th-ranked Buckeyes recorded their fifth sweep of the season at North Dakota Feb. 2-3, winning 3-2 (OT) Friday and 3-1 Saturday at Ralph Engelstad Arena. After losing the first ever meeting between the two schools in 2004, Ohio State is undefeated against the Fighting Sioux with a 10-0-1 record since, including a seven-game win streak vs. UND.

Junior forward Jody Heywood scored twice vs. the Sioux, including the game-winner with :03.5 seconds remaining in overtime Friday. Junior defenseman Lisa Chesson led all Buckeyes with three points on the weekend. Heywood, Tessa Bonhomme, Amber Bowman and Erin Keys each had two points.

Scouting the Badgers
Wisconsin clinched the 2006-07 regular season championship last weekend with a 19-1-4 league record for 42 points. The Badgers are ranked No. 2 in both of the most recent and USA Today/USA Hockey polls with a 25-1-4 overall record. The lone loss came against Minnesota Duluth, Nov. 24.

The Badgers are led offensively by Sara Bauer with a team-high 52 points and 34 assists. Jinelle Zaugg leads the squad with 21 goals. Goaltenders Jessie Vetter and Christine Dufour have split the majority of time in net. Vetter is 13-1-3 with a 1.05 goals-against-average and .938 save percentage. Dufour is 12-0-1 wit ha 0.92 GAA and .951 save percentage.

Chesson Earns Weekly WCHA Award
Junior defenseman Lisa Chesson was named WCHA Defensive Player of the Week, the Western Collegiate Hockey Association announced Tuesday. It is the first such honor for Chesson in her career and the seventh time a Buckeye has been named conference player of the week this season.

Chesson recorded three points in the sweep at North Dakota, Feb. 2-3, to lead all Buckeyes in scoring in the series. She assisted on the second goal in each game and sealed the victory Saturday with an empty net goal. With a goal and assist, she notched her seventh multiple-point game of the season.

A Helpful Hand
Amber Bowman also recorded her 70th career assist in the North Dakota series. She is now tied for second all-time with Emily Hudak (2000-03). Former Buckeye forward Jana Harrigan (2003-06) holds the record with 92.

Four Bucks Named WCHA Scholar-Athletes
Four Buckeyes were named WCHA Scholar-Athletes, the Western Collegiate Hockey Association announced Feb. 1. Senior goaltender Erika Vanderveer, junior forwards Erin Keys and Mallory Peckels and sophomore goaltender Liana Bonanno were among the 49 selections from the conference’s men’s and women’s teams. It is the first WCHA Scholar-Athlete nod for Bonanno and Keys and the second honor for Vanderveer and Peckels.

Buckeyes up For NCAA Skills Challenge
Seniors Erika Vanderveer and Amber Bowman are finalists for the 2007 NCAA Skills Challenge to take place as part of the Men’s Frozen Four festivities in St. Louis, Mo. Fan voting for the competition at is open until Feb. 12. Buckeye defenseman Sean Collins of the men’s team also is a finalist.

The Big Cheese
In the last eight games, Lisa Chesson (nicknamed “Cheese”) has 12 points on five goals and seven assists. In the 15 games since Nov. 25, she has been held without a point just three times. Chesson is tied for third on the team in points (31), tied for second in assists (20) and ranks fourth in goals (11) – all are career highs. Chesson is tied for second in the league with 20 power play points after picking up another assist with the man-advantage Friday at North Dakota.

Turn Around
Ohio State started this season 2-5-0 with 22 goals allowed in the first seven games (3.1 goals per game). Since then, the Buckeyes are 14-5-4 with 42 goals allowed in those 23 games (1.8 gpg).

At 16-10-4 overall, OSU has already surpassed its win total from the 2005-06 season when the team finished 13-18-5. The Buckeyes are two wins shy of tying their most wins in a season with 18 set in 2000-01 and 2001-02.

Top 3 D in the Nation
Amber Bowman (33 points), Tessa Bonhomme (31) and Lisa Chesson (31) are not only the second, third and fourth highest scoring defenseman overall in the WCHA, respectively, but they also have the second, third and fourth highest point totals by defensemen in the nation. The trio has combined for 95 points, far and away the most by any defensive threesome in the nation. Wisconsin is second with a combined 72 points by their top three scoring defensemen, and St. Lawrence is third with 61.

Blueliners Running Away with WCHA Lead
Overall as a unit, the Buckeyes lead the WCHA in defenseman scoring with 109 points on 33 goals and 76 assists. Wisconsin is second with 83 defenseman points, followed by Minnesota with 56 and Minnesota Duluth with 41. OSU defensemen have recorded 51 percent of the teams assists and 36 percent of the goals.

Thirty Something
Heading into the 2006-07 season, only 12 Ohio State players had ever reached the 30-point mark in a season. This year, four Buckeyes – Erin Keys (37), Amber Bowman (33), Tessa Bonhomme (31) and Lisa Chesson (31) – have surpassed the 30-point milestone. The point totals by Bowman, Bonhomme and Chesson are three of the Top 5 season totals for OSU defensemen. The record for points in a season by a blueliner is 40 set by Kelli Helcisak in 2000-01.

Dynamic Defensive Duo
The defensive tandem of Tessa Bonhomme and Amber Bowman have totaled 17 points in the last eight games, and 40 points in the last 18 games. After both were held without a point for just the third time this season Jan. 27 vs. Minnesota Duluth, Bonhomme and Bowman each had a goal and assist the following series at North Dakota.

Man Up – Part I
OSU is 34-of-159 (21.4 percent) this season with the man-advantage, with 14 more PP goals through 30 games this year than the team scored in the entire 36-game 2005-06 season. Ninety-nine of the Buckeyes’ 240 points this season – or 41 percent – have been scored on the power play. The Buckeyes’ power play ranks third overall in the WCHA and 10th in the nation.

Man Up – Part II
Defensemen Lisa Chesson and Amber Bowman lead the Buckeyes and are tied for second overall in the WCHA with 20 power play points. Chesson is tied with Erin Keys with eight PP goals, while Bowman has a Buckeye best 17 assists. Keys and Tessa Bonhomme are tied for third on the squad with 16 points while on the man-advantage.

Best of the Blueliners
Amber Bowman, Tessa Bonhomme and Lisa Chesson are all climbing the Ohio State records for career points by a defenseman. Bowman is second all-time with 97 points, followed by Bonhomme in fourth with 78 and Chesson in fifth with 57. Emma Laaksonen (2001-04) hold the record with 99 points.

She’s a Brick … Wall
Senior goaltender Erika Vanderveer held Minnesota Duluth to just one goal Jan. 27 in a 1-1 overtime tie making 20 saves. It was the 12th time this season Vanderveer has held opponents to one goal or less. Overall, she has a 1.92 goals-against-average and .930 save percentage, eighth-best in the nation.

One for the Books
Nine Buckeyes have already recorded career-highs in scoring this season. The top six OSU scorers have all posted career highs in points, with four of them recording career highs in goals: Erin Keys (17), Tessa Bonhomme (13), Morgan Marziali (12) and Lisa Chesson (11).

Up Next
Ohio State concludes the 2006-07 regular-season with a home series against Minnesota State, Feb. 16-17. Games begin at 7:07 p.m. Friday and 4:07 p.m. Saturday at OSU Ice Rink. Prior to the game Saturday, the Buckeyes will honor its five seniors: Amber Bowman, Katie Maroney, Lacey Schultz, Krysta Skarda and Erika Vanderveer.