Jan. 3, 2001

Ohio State
(10-7-1, 7-4-1 CCHA)
No. 5 Western Michigan
(14-3-2, 7-2-2 CCHA)

Game Nights
Friday-Saturday, Jan. 5-6, 2001
Value City Arena (17,500)
Columbus, Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio State men’s hockey team, which has lost three-consecutive games, looks to get back on track when it plays host to No. 5 Western Michigan this weekend. The squads will meet at 7:35 p.m. Friday and at 7:05 p.m. Saturday. The Buckeyes (10-7-1, 7-4-1 CCHA) are coming off two losses in the Everblades College Classic, while Western Michigan (14-3-2, 7-2-2 CCHA) posted two wins in the Silverado Shootout.

The Broadcasts
Both games this weekend can be heard live on WOSU (820 AM) and at Herb Howenstine will call the action while John Mowat will provide the color commentary.

The game Saturday will be televised by The Ohio News Network. Jeff Hogan (P-B-P) and former Ohio State and NHL goaltender Bill McKenzie (color) will call the action.

Home Sweet Home
This weekend, the Buckeyes are returning to Value City Arena for the first time since a 10-0 win over Findlay Nov. 28. Ohio State spent all of December on the road, playing two games each at Ferris State and Western Michigan before traveling to Florida for the Everblades College Classic. The squad went 2-3-1 during December.

The OSU-WMU Series
The Broncos lead the all-time series with the Buckeyes, 54-45-8. Ohio State holds a one-game lead against Western Michigan in Columbus, 27-26-4. Last season WMU swept the Buckeyes, 4-2 and 5-1, in Value City Arena.

The League Standings
Western Michigan enters the series alone in second place in the CCHA standings with 16 points and a 7-2-2 mark in 11 games. The Buckeyes are tied for third (wit Michigan and Miami) with one less point (15) and a 7-4-1 record in 12 games. Michigan State stands alone in first place with 21 points and a 9-1-3 record in 13 games. Markell vs. the Broncos
Ohio State head coach John Markell has a record of 6-9-2 all-time against Western Michigan.

The Last OSU-WMU Meeting
Ohio State and Western Michigan split a two-game series Dec. 14-15 in Kalamazoo, Mich., in the last CCHA action for both teams.

In the first game against WMU, R.J. Umberger posted two goals and an assist and Andre Signoretti added three assists to lead Ohio State to a 5-2 win.

The next night, Umberger again posted three points, but it was not enough, as WMU defeated Ohio State, 5-4. The Buckeyes had a 4-2 lead but allowed three-consecutive goals to help WMU to the win.

In the first game between Ohio State and Western Michigan earlier this season, a total of 106 penalty minutes were called. The Buckeyes were whistled for a season-high 50 minutes, while the Broncos had an OSU opponent-high 66. Each team was assessed 21 penalties. The next night saw fewer infractions called. OSU had nine penalties for 18 minutes, while WMU had 11 for 22 minutes.

Scouting the Broncos
Western Michigan has won three-consecutive games after a two-game losing streak. The Broncos had an 11-game unbeaten streak earlier in the season.

The squad has four of the top six scorers in the league. Mike Bishai ranks first with 42 points, David Gove is second (39), Steve Rymsha is fourth (32) and freshman Jeff Campbell is sixth (26). Rymsha and Gove are tied for the league goal-scoring lead with 16 goals each. Bishai leads the CCHA with 30 assists.

Jeff Reynaert has played the majority of games in goal for the Broncos. He has compiled a 2.81 goals-against average and has a .903 saves percentage in 18 games.

WMU’s Last Outings
In the Silverado Shootout in Duluth, Minn., Western Michigan posted two wins. The squad shutout Colgate, 2-0, the first night before beating Merrimack, 8-1, in the second game. Forward Mike Bishai was named the MVP of the tournament, while goalie Jeff Reynaert and forwards David Gove and Steve Rymsha all earned all-tournament honors.

At the Top
The Broncos lead the CCHA in goals per game (4.74) and in power-play percentage (24.2 percent).

The Bronco Coach
Jim Culhane, a Western Michigan alumni, is in his second season at the helm for the Broncos. He currently owns a mark of 26-27-7 after the squad went 15-25-5 last season.

Recapping the Tourney
Ohio State lost to Cornell and Clarkson in the Everblades College Classic, Dec. 27-28 at TECO Arena in Estero, Fla. The Big Red posted a 6-5 overtime win over Ohio State in the first round. The Buckeyes had a 3-1 lead but Cornell scored three-consecutive goals to go up, 4-3. The teams traded goals, as Paul Caponigri tied the game 10:24 into the third period. The Big Red then scored just 1:38 into the overtime period.

The next night, Clarkson recorded a 7-6 win. The Buckeyes again had a two-goal lead, but the Golden Knights tallied four-consecutive goals for a 6-4 lead. Ohio State’s Jaisen Freeman and Scott May each tallied to tie the game at six. Clarkson’s Jean Desrochers scored what proved to be the game-winning goal at the 10:41 mark of the third.

Tourney Honors
Paul Caponigri earned Everblades College Classic all-tournament honors after posting three points in the two games. He tallied a goal against Cornell before recording a goal and an assist against Clarkson.

Chipping In
In the two games during the Everblades College Classic, 16-of-18 Ohio State forwards or defensemen, as well as goalie Mike Betz, posted at least one point. Five Buckeyes recorded three total points: Paul Caponigri (2-1), Daymen Bencharski (2-1), Scott May (1-2), Jean-Francois Dufour (0-3) and Nick Ganga (0-3). Only T.J. Latorre and Jason Crain did not record a point.

Away From Home
Ohio State freshmen Dave Steckel and R.J. Umberger, who are tied for second on the Buckeyes in scoring, missed the Everblades College Classic and will more than likely miss the two games with Western Michigan. The tandem was named to the U.S. Junior National Team that is competing in the World Junior Championship in Russia, Dec. 26, 2000-Jan. 5, 2001.

The U.S. team went 3-1 in pool play and before falling to Canada, 2-1, in the quarterfinals. Umberger and Steckel each have played in all five games for the U.S. Umberger scored two goals in the U.S.’s 7-2 win over Slovakia. The squad also defeated Kazhakstan, 9-1, and Sweden, 3-1. Its only loss was to the Czech Republic, 4-2.

Leader of the Bucks
Jean-Francois Dufour leads the Buckeyes in goals, assists and points. He has 10 goals, 12 assists and 22 points. Last season he ranked first on the squad with 35 points (13-22).

Among the CCHA Leaders
Jean-Francois Dufour is tied for eighth in scoring in the CCHA. His 10 goals are tied for 10th, while he is tied for seventh with five power-play goals. In league games, Dufour is seventh with 16 points and is tied for fifth with nine goals.

So far this season, eight Buckeyes have recorded 10 or more points: Jean-Francois Dufour (22), Dave Steckel (18), R.J. Umberger (18), Paul Caponigri (17), Nick Ganga (14), Andre Signoretti (13), Mike McCormick (12) and Doug Andress (10). At the end of last season only nine Buckeyes had reached double-digits in points.

10+ Part Two
Five Buckeyes have posted 10 or more assists this season. Jean-Francois Dufour leads the Buckeyes with 12 assists, while Paul Caponigri and Mike McCormick have 11 helpers each. R.J. Umberger and Andre Signoretti have 10 assists each. At the end of last season, only six Buckeyes had posted 10 or more helpers.

An Impressive Showing
Daymen Bencharski scored his first collegiate goal against Cornell and followed that performance with a goal and an assist against Clarkson for his first career multiple-point game. He had posted two assists in 14 games before entering the tournament.

This season, every Buckeye who has played in at least two games had recorded at least one point. Seventeen Buckeyes have tallied at least one goal.

The Good…
The Buckeyes are averaging five goals per game in their last four outings.

And the Bad
Also in the last four games, the Buckeyes also are averaging five goals allowed per game.

In the League
The Buckeyes rank third in the CCHA with 3.83 goals per game and are fourth with an average of 2.78 goals allowed per game. The squad is sixth in both power-play (17.3) and penalty-killing (82.0) percentage.

Mr. Consistent
Jean-Francois Dufour has been held scoreless only two times in the last 13 games, including seven multiple-point games. He has 7-12-19 totals in those 13 games. He is currently on a four-game scoring streak.

No. 10
Mike McCormick has set a career-high for points in a season with 12 after recording an assist against both Cornell and Clarkson. The junior has a four-game scoring streak and has scored seven points (1-6) in his last six games. McCormick, who entered the season -12 for his career, is +5 this season and has not had a minus rating in the last 15 games.

Hot Shots
Three Buckeyes have scored on 20 percent or more of their shots this season. Paul Caponigri leads the squad with a 26.1 percent shooting percentage (6 goals/23 shots). Dave Steckel is second (25.7, 9/35 shots) and Nick Ganga ranks third (23.1, 9/39).

A Plus
Jason Crain is +7 in his last three games, including two-consecutive +3 performances. He has been even or better in the last eight games.

So far this season, the Buckeyes have not allowed a short-handed goal. Ohio State has tallied three times while a man down. Miguel Lafleche, Nick Ganga and Jean-Francois Dufour each have a short-handed goal.

The D
Every Buckeye defenseman who has played at least two games has an even or better plus-minus rating. Eric Skaug and Jaisen Freeman each are at +9, followed by Pete Broccoli (+4), Jason Crain (+4) and Doug Andress (+1).

More On the D
So far this season the Buckeyes’ defensemen have posted 42 points, 23 percent of Ohio State’s scoring output. The D also has contributed 15 goals. Andress ranks first with four. Jaisen Freeman, Jason Crain, Eric Skaug and Pete Broccoli each have tallied twice this season.

In all games combined, the Buckeyes have outscored their opponents in every period. The squad holds a 16-15 edge in the first stanza, 28-15 advantage in the second, 22-18 in the third and 3-2 in overtime.

Still a Strong Start
The Buckeyes had not recorded 10 wins before January 1 since the 1985-86 season, when the squad went 11-11 from Oct. 11-Dec. 29.

We Score More
So far this season, the Buckeyes have seven games in which they scored five or more goals. Last season, the squad scored five or more goals just three times.

By the Classes
The nine freshmen that have played for Ohio State this season have combined to record almost half of the Buckeyes’ scoring output. The rookies have 84 of OSU’s 183 points (45.9 percent). The three member senior class is second with 42 points (23.0 percent). The five juniors have 34 points (18.6 percent) and the six sophomores have 23 points (12.6 percent).

Goals by the Classes
Of the 63 goals Ohio State has scored this season, the freshmen have 34 tallies to rank first. The senior classes has tallied 15 goals The juniors are just behind with 13 tallies. The sophomore class has contributed seven goals this season.

After playing six-consecutive road games, the Buckeyes will play their next four games at home in Value City Arena. In all, 10 of Ohio State’s last 16 games will be played in Columbus.

A Streak to End
After going undefeated in five consecutive games (4-0-1), the Buckeyes have now lost three-straight games for the first time this season.

Rolling Along
Paul Caponigri has only been held scoreless two times in the last 11 games. He had a five-game scoring streak broken in the first game against Western Michigan and started another scoring streak, currently at four games, in the next outing. Since not scoring in the first three games of the season, he has not been held scoreless for more than one game.

Roommate Connection
Ohio State roommates Daymen Bencharski and Scott May had good chemistry playing on the same line together in the Everblades College Classic. May assisted on both of Bencharski’s goals and Bencharski assisted on May’s tally against Clarkson.

More On Value City Arena
The Buckeyes’ home rink, Value City Arena, is the largest on-campus collegiate hockey facility in the country. It will be the host of the NCAA Frozen Four in 2005.

It’s Even
The Buckeyes and their opponents each have been assessed 155 penalties this season. Ohio State has compiled 361 penalty minutes, while opposing squads have 345 minutes. The Buckeyes are 5-4 when taking more penalties than their opponents and 5-2 when the other team has more penalties. OSU is 0-1-1 when the penalties are even.

On the Power Play
The Buckeyes were held scoreless on the power play against Clarkson. It was just the second time in the last 10 games the squad did not tally with the man advantage. Ohio State’s power-play advantage has improved to 17.3 percent after producing at 21.7 percent in the last 10 games.

Stop this Trend
The Buckeyes have scored four, five and six goals, respectively, in their last three games. In that same span, OSU’s opponents have scored one more goal per game (5, 6 and 7, respectively). Ohio State is 0-3 in its last three outings.

A Good Trend
The Buckeyes have earned at least two points in all five CCHA series they have played in this season. The squad has earned 11 points in three road series (1-1 at NMU, 2-0 at LSSU, 1-0-1 at FSU, 1-1 at WMU). At home, the Buckeyes split their two series (1-1 vs. UAF and BGSU).

At Home
Since moving to Value City Arena, the Buckeyes have posted a mark of 21-14-3 at home. In CCHA games, Ohio State is 14-11-3 in VCA.

No. 44
Defenseman Eric Skaug has only had one game with a minus rating in his first 11 games this season. He has posted two +3 performances.

Start Us Up
Miguel Lafleche scored the first goal in both games in the Everblades College Classic.

On The Board
Jaisen Freeman scored against both Cornell and Clarkson for his first two goals of the season.

Down to the Wire
Three of the Buckeyes’ 10 wins this season have come in overtime. Of those wins, all three game-winners have been scored with less than one minute remaining in the overtime period. Against Maine (Oct. 27), Scott May scored with 48 seconds remaining to lift OSU over the Black Bears, 3-2, in Orono, Maine. On the road at Lake Superior, Dave Steckel tallied with 31 seconds left to give the Buckeyes the win. Pete Broccoli scored with 26 seconds left in overtime against Bowling Green (Nov. 19).

Proving Them Wrong
Ohio State is tied for third place in the league standings. In both the coaches and media preseason polls, the Buckeyes were chosen to finish 10th.

Ohio State broke an eight-game streak of games in which it outshot its opponent against Clarkson. The Buckeyes were outshot, 34-33, by the Big Red and 40-26 against Clarkson. Ohio State is 8-2-1 when putting more shots on goal than their opponents and 2-5 when being outshot.

On The PK
After not allowing a power play goal in eight of the first 16 games this season, Clarkson and Cornell each scored three goals with the man advantage.

Three Ohio State freshmen were ranked in the NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau report for November. Center R.J. Umberger was ranked as the No. 1 college prospect, followed by center Dave Steckel at No. 9. Goalie Mike Betz was ranked first among collegiate goalies.

Three Peat
So far this season, the Buckeyes have had 10 total three-point performances recorded by six players. R.J. Umberger leads the way with four. Nick Ganga ranks second with two. Paul Caponigri, Jean-Francois Dufour and Dave Steckel each have had one three-point outing so far this season.

Up Next
The Buckeyes stay home for their next home game series. The squad will face Michigan in two-game series, Friday-Saturday, Jan. 12-13. Faceoff is set for 7:35 the first game and 7:05 p.m. the next night.