Oct. 2, 2002

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Columbus, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s ice hockey team plays host to the Toronto Varsity Blues in an exhibition game at 1:05 p.m. Saturday at the OSU Ice Arena. Statistics from the game will not count in regular season totals.

The Broadcast
Saturday’s game will be broadcast live by The Underground: The Ohio State University’s only student run radio station.

For the first time ever, the student home of the Buckeyes will be broadcasting a Game of the Week. Men’s and women’s soccer, women’s ice hockey, women’s basketball and lacrosse will be featured during the 2002-03 season as the Game of the Week.

The game can be heard on UNITS cable channel 4 or at

Scouting Toronto
Toronto is led by head coach Karen Hughes who is entering her 10th season with the Varsity Blues. Hughes led the team to a CIAU National Championship in the 2000-01 season. Hughes also serves as the head coach of Canada’s Under-22 National Women’s team.

Buckeyes vs. Varsity Blues
Ohio State and Toronto will meet for the third time Saturday. Their last meeting was Oct. 6, 2001 in Columbus, Ohio. The Buckeyes lost 3-1 to Toronto. Jeni Creary scored OSU’s only goal.

2002-03 Preview
The Ohio State Buckeyes are on the road to a successful season under the direction of fourth-year head coach Jackie Barto. The roster has experienced players at every position. The 18 letterwinners returning include nine forwards, seven defenders and two goaltenders. Barto also recruited an impressive freshman class of four players for this season. Eight of the letterwinners are seniors who have been at Ohio State since the beginning of the women’s ice hockey program four years ago. They have seen the team develop and compete successfully at the national level.

“I would like to see our team make some strong improvements from the start of our year to the end and become better as a team every time we take the ice,” Barto said. “Also, I would like to see our team focus on the basics of our game and be able to be very strong fundamentally. I believe if we can do the fundamentals and if we are dedicated to getting better every time we take the ice we will be a team to be reckoned with.”

The Inaugural Class
The eight returning seniors bring a lot to the hockey program this season, since they have seen the program grow and mature from the beginning of its inaugural season in 1999-00.

“I want them to leave Ohio State knowing they are going to forever be an important part of our program,” Barto said. “What they did here in their four years will be something that will be here forever because they will always be a part of our program in the present and in the future.”

Between the Pipes
Ohio State returns three strong goaltenders this season: senior April Stojak, junior Melissa Glaser and redshirt freshman Natalie Lamme.

“Goaltending will be a key in the success of our team this year,” Barto said. “We are experienced and we have very good talent and athleticism. The goaltenders have potential to create a very competitive situation where they are going to be able to push each other day in and day out.”

Stojak played in 15 games, including 11 starts, and compiled a season-high 34 stops in a 3-2 overtime loss to Minnesota-Duluth (Jan. 26) in the 2001 season. Glaser earned the starting spot between the pipes after the first St. Cloud series, starting 26 games. She recorded a 15-8-3 (.635) mark, .903 save percentage and five shutouts. Lamme’ is coming off a red shirt year, in which she developed her skills, without having the pressures of playing immediately.

On The Blue Line
The Buckeyes’ commitment to defense and their work ethic will show this season. Returnees include seniors Emily Hudak, Lindsey Steblen, Christine Patno, Katie Frohreich, junior Emma Laaksonen, sophomores Jaclyn Haines, Monica Kolb and newcomer Katelyn Sershen.

“We are going to be experienced defensively this season,” Barto said. “As a team we have become very committed to the defensive side of the puck. Our defensemen will bring a wealth of experience and knowledge and will play an integral part in our success this season.”

Leading the OSU defense this season is Laaksonen. She was named to the 2002 All-WCHA Second Team and was a finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award. She finished eighth in scoring (21 points) among WCHA defensemen despite seeing action in only 25 games while she competed at the 2002 Winter Olympics for Finland. Hudak finished second on the team with 28 points and first on the team with 22 assists. Steblen is coming off her best season as a junior and looks to build upon her results. She played in all 37 games, set a career high for assists in a season (seven) and finished with eight points on the year.

“Our defense plays with a lot of intensity and they understand the importance of the defensive side of the puck,” Barto said. “Important to our team will be our defensive zone and being very stingy, intense and competitive.”

The Buckeye Attack
Top returning forwards to the Buckeye offense include juniors Heather Farrell and Jeanne Chapple and sophomores Jeni Creary and Jennifer Desson. Other Buckeyes returning to the offense include seniors Katie Frohreich, who is capable of seeing action on the blue line, Shana Frost, Carrie Gill and Lindsey Ogren, juniors Melissa Pirie and Erin O’Grady and sophomore Meaghan Mulvaney. Crystal Sayther and Jana Harrigan are the newcomers to the OSU offense this season.

“I am excited about the potential of our forwards this year,” Barto said. “We combine good size, quickness, aggressiveness and the ability to create offense. Essential to our offense will be the forwards playing the whole ice and creating some good offensive opportunities for us. Our forwards are aggressive and we want to capitalize on our opponents mistakes.”

Last season, Creary was named WCHA Rookie of the Year and to the 2002 All-WCHA First Team and was a finalist for the Patty Kazamaier Memorial Award. She led the team with 26 goals, 44 points and 164 shots. Desson finished second on the team with 13 goals and third with 24 points. Farrell tallied 12 goals and 11 assists for 23 points in 2002.

“The excitement going into this season is going to be huge,” Barto said. “We want our fourth year to be very successful. Improving the team requires learning from the past, moving forward and having an enjoyable season.”

The Road to Duluth
The Buckeyes play every WCHA team four times during the season, a two-game trip on the road and a two-game series at home. OSU will be playing two of the 2002 NCAA Frozen Four teams, Minnesota and Minnesota-Duluth.

“The WCHA has come so far in three years and is going to be even better than last year,” Barto said. “It is the most competitive women’s hockey leagues in the country. Which means we have to be very prepared and focused for every league game. But, it is going to make us the best team we can be in the long run.”

The non-league games also are important and the opponents are strong. OSU takes on Providence, Connecticut and Mercyhurst at home this season. Away opponents include Dartmouth, St. Lawrence, who both ranked in the Top 10 last year, and Princeton.

“I think our schedule is a step up from last year,” Barto said. “It is going to be a challenge for us and will make us a better team. Every game we go into this season we will need to be extremely competitive.”

The 2002 WCHA Championship will be held March 6-8 in Engelstad Arena at the University of North Dakota. The Buckeyes goal is to make it to the 2002 NCAA Frozen Four March 21 and 23 in Duluth, Minn.

“The excitement going into this season is going to be huge,” Barto said. “We want our fourth year to be very successful. Improving the team requires learning from the past, moving forward and having an enjoyable season.”

Follow the Buckeyes Online
Information on the Ohio State women’s ice hockey team is available online at the official website of Ohio State Athletics, For up-to-the-minute women’s ice hockey scores, statistics and standings around the league and the nation, check out The official website of the WCHA is

Up Next
The Buckeyes open the 2002-03 regular season and WCHA play on the road Oct. 11-12 with a two-game series against Minnesota State, Mankato at All Seasons Arena in Mankato, Minn.