Ohio State Men's Hockey Team Travels to Face No. 2 Miami in Valentine's Day Matchup

Go Buckeyes!
Go Buckeyes!

Go Buckeyes!

Feb. 14, 2006

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The Ohio State men's hockey travels to Oxford, Ohio, to face No. 2 Miami at 7:35 p.m. Tuesday in Goggin Ice Arena.

The Buckeyes will wrap up the week with a two-game home series with Ferris State this weekend, hosting the Bulldogs at 7:05 p.m. Friday and 8:05 p.m. Saturday in Value City Arena in Columbus.

The Broadcast
The Buckeyes' game vs. the RedHawks will be broadcast by WOSU Radio (820 AM/wosu.org). Neil Sika (play-by-play) and former Buckeye John Mowat (analysis) will call the action.

Live stats from the game can be accessed from the men's hockey schedule page at ohiostatebuckeyes.com.

Last Time Out
The Buckeyes lost two games last week, falling to Michigan State, 4-3, Feb. 9 in Columbus and to Wisconsin, 4-2, Feb. 11 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis.

The RedHawks were off last weekend. The team last played Feb. 3-4, splitting a two-game home series with Alaska Fairbanks. The Nanooks won the first game (4-3), before the RedHawks rebounded for a 2-1 victory.

A Look at the Buckeyes
The Buckeyes, looking to stop a three-game losing streak, are 14-14-4 on the year and 10-11-2 in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association to stand in a tie for seventh place.

The Buckeyes are averaging 2.6 goals a game and rank fifth in the country in scoring defense, allowing 2.12 goals an outing.

Sophomore forward Tom Fritsche leads the Buckeyes with 10 goals, 16 assists and 26 points. Junior forward Andrew Schembri is tied for second on the team with 18 points, is second with nine goals and fourth with nine assists. Injured forwards Domenic Maiani (5-13-18) and Mathieu Beaudoin (8-8-16) are tied for second and tied for fourth on the team in points, respectively. Junior defenseman Sean Collins leads the blueliners and is tied for fourth on the team with 16 points, including seven goals. Collins, sophomore defenseman Johann Kroll and junior forward Kenny Bernard are tied for the team lead with +16 marks this season.

In net, senior Dave Caruso has started 29 games, with a 1.91 goals-against average and .922 save percentage.

John Markell, a 1979 graduate of Bowling Green, is in his 11th full season at the helm of the Buckeyes. He has a career and school ledger of 214-187-36.

In the League
The Buckeyes enter the game with the RedHawks with 22 points in 23 league games to stand in a tie for seventh place with Northern Michigan with a game in hand on the Wildcats. The Buckeyes are one point back of sixth-place Ferris State (24 games played/23 points). OSU is four points behind fourth-place Lake Superior State and Nebraska-Omaha, who each have 26 points in 24 games. Michigan State is in third place (24 gp/28 points), Michigan is in second (24 gp/29 points) and Miami is in first (23 gp/36 points).

The Buckeyes have a one-point lead on ninth-place Alaska Fairbanks and Notre Dame (24 gp/21 points each).

The CCHA has changed the playoff format for this season. The Top 4 teams receive first-round byes, while teams 5-8 host 9-12 in first-round, best-of-three series. Those series winners advance to face the Top 4 teams (with the teams reseeded). The four second-round winners advance to the CCHA Championship at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.

A Look Back - Wisconsin 4, Ohio State 2
The Buckeyes were defeated by Wisconsin, 4-2, last Saturday (Feb. 11) outdoors at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis., in front of a crowd of 40,890.

The Badgers took a 1-0 lead just 23 seconds into the game when Adam Burish scored. The Buckeyes had an apparent goal disallowed at the 5:34 mark, when the referees ruled the net had come off the moorings before the shot went in.

OSU tied the game at 1 when Dave Barton tallied at 11:11 of the second period. The Badgers regained the lead on a Kyle Klubertanz power-play goal with just over three minutes left in the second.

In the third, Andrew Joudrey pushed the UW lead to two (3-1) with a goal seven minutes in. Sam Campbell scored at 15:57 of the final period to make it a one-goal game, but the Badgers' Robbie Earl sealed the win with an empty-net goal with 58 seconds remaining.

OSU was outshot in the game, 31-20. The Buckeyes were scoreless on seven power-play chances and held the Badgers scoreless on 6-of-7 opportunities.

Buckeyes vs. RedHawks
Ohio State leads the all-time series with Miami, 55-48-8, including a 6-2-2 ledger in the last 10 meetings. In Oxford, Ohio, however, the Buckeyes trail, 19-30-3.

OSU vs. MU This Season
The game Tuesday will be the fifth meeting of the season between the Buckeyes and RedHawks. After the RedHawks won the first two games, posting 3-1 and 4-1 wins Nov. 4-5 in a home-and-home series, the squads tied, 1-1, Dec. 30 in the Ohio Hockey Classic championship game at Nationwide Arena. In the last meeting, OSU shut out Miami, 3-0, Jan. 10 in VCA.

A Familiar Foe
Ohio State and Miami have been joined together as "rivalry partners" by the CCHA for scheduling purposes and are scheduled to face each other in the regular season four times each year.

The game Tuesday marks the 19th time the Buckeye seniors will face off against the RedHawks. Since 2002-03, the seniors' first season, Ohio State is 10-6-2 vs. Miami.

Success vs. the RedHawks
Buckeye senior forward Rod Pelley has a team-best eight goals and 13 points in a team-high 18 games vs. Miami. Senior forward Dan Knapp is second in points with 10, while senior defenseman Nate Guenin has a team-high seven helpers vs. the RedHawks, including four this season.

A Valentine's Day Affair
Ohio State and Miami have met once before on Valentine's Day, with the Buckeyes winning, 4-2, Feb. 14, 1984, in Columbus.

A Look Back - OSU 3, Miami 0
Ohio State scored once in each period and goalie Dave Caruso stopped all 24 RedHawk shots, as the Buckeyes downed No. 3-ranked Miami, 3-0, Jan. 10 in Value City Arena.

John Dingle got the Buckeyes on the board just 2:01 into the game, putting in the rebound of a Sean Collins shot. In the second, Tom Fritsche scored at 10:19 when he banked the puck in off a RedHawk defender. In the third, Domenic Maiani completed a tic-tac-toe passing play with Sam Campbell and Fritsche.

Maiani and Fritsche each ended the game with two points on a goal and an assist, while senior Nate Guenin had two helpers.

OSU outshot Miami, 34-24, including 11-4 in the first period.

Ohio State stopped a four-game (0-2-2) winless streak vs. Miami with the win, dating back to a 2-2 tie March 5 to end regular-season play last year.

A Look at the Redhawks
Miami is 20-5-4 on the year and stands in first place in the CCHA with a 17-4-2 ledger. The RedHawks need one win in their next three games to clinch the CCHA regular-season title.

The RedHawks lead the nation in team defense, allowing 1.76 goals a game. The squad averages 3.1 goals an outing. Miami also is first in the CCHA with an 89.2 percent mark on the penalty kill.

Nathan Davis leads the RedHawks with 15 goals and 27 points. Just behind Davis is senior defenseman Andy Greene, who has 17 assists to rank second on the team and is second with 25 points. Mitch Ganzak has a team-best 23 assists and is third with 24 points. Ryan Jones (13-9-22) and Matt Davis (14-6-20) also have hit the 20-point mark.

In net, the RedHawks have the top statistical goaltending duo in the nation. Charlie Effinger has started 13 games, with a 1.66 goals-against average, .937 save percentage and 8-2-3 ledger. Jeff Zatkoff has started 16 contests, posting a 1.75 gaa, .938 svpct. and 12-3-1 record.

Enrico Blasi, a 1994 graduate of Miami, is in his sixth year at the helm of the RedHawks. He has a school and career record of 124-112-23.

Watching the Buckeyes
A crowd of 40,890 braved 28-degree temperatures to watch the Buckeyes take on Wisconsin in the Frozen Tundra Hockey Classic at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis., last Saturday. It was the second-largest crowd to witness a college hockey game, behind only the record crowd of 74,554 at the Michigan-Michigan State outdoor game Oct. 6, 2001, in East Lansing, Mich.

A Rough Stretch
The game at Miami wraps up a schedule of three games in three sites in six days for the Buckeyes, with a home game vs. Michigan State Feb. 9, neutral site game vs. Wisconsin in Green Bay, Wis., Feb. 11 and the tilt at Miami Tuesday (Feb. 14). With two home games against Ferris State this weekend, the Buckeyes will have played five games in 10 days.

The Buckeye squad also is in the midst of a stretch of five consecutive games against teams currently ranked in the Top 10 in the nation. After splitting a two-game series at No. 8 Michigan, OSU lost to No. 10 Michigan State and No. 3 Wisconsin before traveling to No. 2 Miami Tuesday. Ohio State is 4-6-1 vs. ranked teams this season.

Lighting the Lamp
Junior forward Dave Barton has goals in back-to-back games for the first time in his career, after scoring against both Michigan State and Wisconsin. Barton, who has played in all 32 games this season to set a career best, has a career-high four goals and 10 points this campaign. Barton's goal vs. the Spartans was his first since Nov. 26 at Notre Dame.

When Down a Man
Ohio State has allowed 30 power-play goals on 201 chances this season, stopping 85.6 percent of its opponents' opportunities to rank 11th nationally.

Since returning to action after the December break, OSU has stopped 80-of-89 opponent chances (89.9 percent) in the 15 games combined. The squad has six games where it was perfect on the penalty kill in the stretch, including in two of the last three games (5-for-5 at Michigan/6-for-6 vs. Michigan State). OSU has not allowed more than one extra-man tally in any game since the December break.

Wisconsin's power-play goal last Saturday ended OSU's streak of consecutive penalty kills at 20, dating back to the game at Michigan Feb. 3.

A Streak to Stop
Ohio State is looking to stop a three-game losing streak when it faces Miami Tuesday. It is the second-longest losing streak this season, behind the team's four-game losing skid Oct. 28-Nov. 5.

OSU last won back-to-back games in December, when it won three games in a row and had a five-game (3-0-2) unbeaten streak. The Buckeyes have split their last three two-game CCHA series.

O from the D
Two of the Buckeyes' Top 5 goal scorers are defensemen, as juniors Sean Collins and Matt Waddell are tied for fourth on the team with seven goals each. The seven goals are a career best for Waddell, while Collins led the Buckeye blueliners with a career-high nine goals last season. Both Collins and Waddell have three power-play goals this season to tie for the team lead.

Wearing the Scarlet and Gray
Senior forward Rod Pelley played in his 158th game as a Buckeye vs. Wisconsin last Saturday. He now is tied with Scott Titus (1999-03) for sixth place in the OSU record book. Pelley is a game behind fifth place and two games behind fourth place. Mark Anderson is the OSU career leader in games played with 167, followed by Doug Andress and Scott May with 161 games played each.

Pelley is just the 28th Buckeye to play in 150 or more games in the Scarlet and Gray.

Senior Nate Guenin has played in 144 games for the Buckeyes.

A Tale of Two Teams
The Buckeyes are averaging 4.1 goals scored and 1.2 goals allowed in their 14 wins this season. In the team's 14 losses, the squad is averaging just 1.4 goals per outing, while allowing 3.1. The team has three 2-all ties and one 1-1 contest.

What a Difference a Month Makes
Through the first four games of February, the Buckeyes have scored 14 goals and allowed 16 (3.5-4.0). During nine games in January, OSU totaled just 13 goals and gave up 14 (1.4-1.6).

Shooter Story
The Buckeyes, who were outshot just once in the first 22 games of the season (by Union, 31-22, Dec. 10), have been outshot five times in the last 10 games and have matched their opponents' totals in two of the last 10 outings. The Buckeyes had a season-low 20 shots on net vs. Wisconsin last Saturday.

The Buckeyes have outshot their opponents, 1074-800, this season, averaging 33.6 shots a game and allowing 25.0.

Senior Rod Pelley leads the Buckeyes and the CCHA with 146 shots this season.

The Pillar Between the Pipes
Senior goalie Dave Caruso ranks sixth in the nation with a 1.91 goals-against average and is 17th in the country with a .922 save percentage.

Caruso, who has started 29-of-32 Buckeye games, has played more minutes (1724:47) than any other goalie ranked in the Top 14 in the nation in goals-against average. He is third nationally in minutes played, behind only Union's Kris Mayotte (1824:57) and Brad Roberts of Army (1732:27).

Caruso has dropped his goals-against average from a season-high of 2.41 Nov. 5 to an OSU program-record 1.91. His save percentage has gone up from a season-low .889 Nov. 15 to a career-best .922.

Caruso, who owns the two lowest single-season goals-against averages in OSU history, is Ohio State's all-time goals-against average leader, allowing just 1.99 goals a game in 89 games in the Scarlet and Gray.

Caruso's win Jan. 27 over Notre Dame was the 50th of his career and he now is one behind third-place John Dougan (1982-85) in program history for career goalie wins with 51. Caruso's former teammate Mike Betz set the program record with 73 wins from 2001-04, followed by Bill McKenzie with 54 from 1970-72 and Dougan (52).

Caruso made 28 saves in the Buckeyes' 1-0 win over Notre Dame Jan. 27 to tie the Ohio State records for both season (5) and career (11) whitewashes first set by former teammate Betz (2001-04).

Caruso has 2,036 saves to rank just outside the Top 10 in Ohio State history for career saves. Ray Aho ranks 10th with 2,109 stops from 1997-00.

The Buckeyes rank fifth in the nation and second in the CCHA, allowing 2.12 goals a game.

The 2.12 goals against a game would set the program record for lowest single-season goals-against average. The 2002-03 squad holds the record, holding opponents to just 2.21 goals a game, a mark that ranked second in the NCAA that season.

In 32 games this season, the Buckeye squad has allowed more than two goals 11 times and more than three just seven times. The team is 1-10 when allowing three or more goals.

A Team Effort
This season, all 20 Buckeye skaters that have played in at least 10 games have at least one point on the year, as well as goalie Dave Caruso, who has chipped in an assist. Eighteen Buckeyes have scored a goal, with eight posting five or more.

Twelve Buckeyes have reached double-digits in points, while two others have nine points on the year. Tom Fritsche is the only Buckeye to hit the 20-point mark, with a team-best 26 points.

Wearing the Red, White and Green
Three-time Ohio State letterwinner and former captain Andre Signoretti will play for Italy in the 2006 Olympic Games in Turin, Italy. The Italian squad opens competition against Canada Feb. 15, followed by a game vs. Finland Feb. 16. Games vs. Germany, the Czech Republic and Switzerland round out the squad's preliminary round action in Group A.

Signoretti, who lettered from 1998-00, played in 132 games for the Buckeyes, ending his career with 13 goals, 62 assists and 75 points. He scored the overtime gamewinner vs. Michigan State to send the Buckeyes to the 1998 Frozen Four.

Signoretti plays for Cortina SG in Italy this season and has 5-17-22 totals in 36 games, along with 50 penalty minutes.

He is the first former Buckeye hockey player to play in the Olympic Games.

Carter Trevisani, who played nine games for Ohio State in 2000-01 but did not earn a letter, also is on Italy's Olympic team. He also is playing in Italy this season as a member of Asiago HC.

In the Bigs
Three Buckeyes have spent time in the NHL this season. At the NHL's Olympic Break, Ryan Kesler leads the pack with 59 games played for Vancouver, with 7-8-15 totals. R.J. Umberger, who began the year in the AHL, has played 49 games for Philadelphia, posting 10-11-21. Dave Steckel has been called up for five games with the Washington Capitals, but has yet to score a point in the NHL. He's played the majority of the year with the Hershey Bears, with a 9-18-27 line in 50 games (through Feb. 12).

Leader of the Pack
Sophomore Tom Fritsche, who had an OSU team-best 34 assists and 45 points last season, leads the squad in goals (10), assists (16) and points (26) this season.

Fritsche has 4-5-9 totals in the last 11 games and has not gone more than one game without a point in the stretch.

In the Box
Senior captain Nate Guenin ranks sixth in program history in career penalty minutes with 394, three behind fifth-place Greg Kostenko, who had 397 from 1977-80.

Guenin, who led the Buckeyes in penalty minutes in each of the last three years, is tied for first on the team with 27 penalties this season and has a team-high 81 penalty minutes.

On the Plus Side
Of the 20 Ohio State skaters who have played in 10 or more games this season, 16 have a +1 or better rating and all but two are even or better. Four - Sean Collins (+16), Johann Kroll (+16)), Kenny Bernard (+16) and Mathieu Beaudoin (+12) - have reached the double-digit mark in plus/minus. OSU is +109 as a team this season and its opponents are a combined -119.

Kroll was +5 in the win over the Wolverines Feb. 3 to set a career high and the Buckeyes' season best. It broke the mark of +4, set by Collins Oct. 29 at Western Michigan. Kroll's +5 rating is the Buckeyes' highest since at least the 2002-03 season.

Off to a Good Start
The Buckeyes have outscored their opponents, 26-17, in the first period this season. The squad is 10-1-2 when leading after the first, but just 0-7-1 when trailing after the opening stanza. When Ohio State is tied after the first period, OSU is 4-6-1.

Close but No Cigar
The Buckeyes are 3-7 in one-goal games this year. During the current three-game losing streak, OSU has two one-goal losses (3-2 to Michigan, 4-3 to Michigan State) and a 4-2 setback against Wisconsin, with the fourth goal an empty-net score.

On the Road Again
The Buckeyes' game at Miami is the team's fourth contest away from Columbus in the last five games. OSU is 6-7 in road games this year and 1-1-1 in neutral sites.

Joining the Century Club
Seven Buckeyes have played in 100 or more games in the Scarlet and Gray. Senior Rod Pelley leads the way with 158, followed by classmates Nate Guenin (144) and Dan Knapp (117) and juniors Matt Waddell (113), Sean Collins (113), Andrew Schembri (111) and Mathieu Beaudoin (108).

A Century and a Half
Buckeye head coach John Markell recorded his 150th career CCHA win in the game against Notre Dame Jan. 27. Now is his 11th full season at the helm, Markell is 214-187-36 overall and 151-136-28 in conference action. Markell is second in OSU history in both categories, behind only Jerry Welsh, who posted 328 overall wins and 211 CCHA wins in his 19-plus seasons at the helm.

Vote For Hobey
Buckeye senior goalie Dave Caruso and sophomore forward Tom Fritsche both advanced to the second phase of fan voting for the 2006 Hobey Baker Award online at www.hobeybaker.com. Vote for Hobey consists of three phases.

Each player in the nomination phase with at least 25 nominations was placed on the preliminary voting ballot. Preliminary voting began Jan. 16 and runs through March 5. Fans may cast one ballot per day for their first, second and third-place choices for the award. The fans' tally will be combined with the votes of the 58 Division I head coaches to determine the 10 finalists for the award.

Final voting is from March 17-27, where fans have the opportunity to cast their final ballot for the award. The results of the fan vote will be counted, along with the votes of the Hobey Baker Selection Committee, to determine the recipient of the 2006 award.

The State of Hockey in Ohio
The Buckeyes welcomed 21,998 fans to Value City Arena the weekend of Jan. 27-28 to watch the Buckeyes take on Notre Dame, with 10,857 Friday and 11,141 Saturday, the Top 2 crowds in VCA this season. With the Columbus Blue Jackets (17,153 Jan. 27/18,136 Jan. 28) and the Ohio State women's hockey team (231 Jan. 27/season-high 413 Jan. 28) also home both Friday and Saturday, 57,923 total fans watched hockey in Columbus over the weekend.

I Feel a Draft
The Buckeyes have five NHL draft picks on their roster this season. Tom Fritsche was selected by the Colorado Avalanche in the second round of the 2005 draft, senior Nate Guenin was a New York Rangers selection in the fourth round of the 2002 draft, junior Tyson Strachan was a fifth-round pick of the Carolina Hurricanes in 2003, goalie Ian Keserich was drafted in the seventh round of the 2004 draft and the Ottawa Senators selected Matt McIlvane in the eighth round in 2004.

On the List
The two players who have signed National Letters of Intent to play at Ohio State beginning in the 2006-07 season were listed in the mid-term rankings of the top players eligible for the 2006 NHL Entry Draft released by the NHL's Central Scouting Service.

In the listing for North American skaters, defenseman Kevin Montgomery is rated 37th out of 210. Goalie Joe Palmer is seventh on the list of 30 goalies.

Sophomore Tom Fritsche returned to the Buckeye lineup Jan. 6 after competing for Team USA in the World Junior Championship in Vancouver, British Columbia. He had five points (1-4) in the six games of the tourney and was named the U.S. Player of the Game in the 6-5 comeback win over Finland when he had a goal and an assist.

Fritsche is the fourth Buckeye to compete in the World Junior Championship, joining Ryan Kesler (2003, 04), Dave Steckel (2001, 02) and R.J. Umberger (2001, 02).

Picked by Your Peers
A number of Buckeyes were honored in the first CCHA Captains' poll released in December.

Both senior Nate Guenin and sophomore forward Tom Fritsche won two categories. Guenin was named the Hardest-Hitting Defenseman and Best Defenseman 1-on-1, while Fritsche was voted Best Stickhandler and Most Dangerous Leading a Rush.

Senior forward Rod Pelley won Best Wrist Shot and was first runner-up for Hardest Hitter (Forward). Dan Knapp tied for first runner-up in quickest release. Sophomore Domenic Maiani tied for second runner-up in the Best on Faceoffs category and junior defenseman Sean Collins was the second runner-up in Best Power-Play Pointman.

Senior Dave Caruso was voted Best Stickhandling Goalie and was second runner-up in both the Best Glove Hand and Toughest Goalie 1-on-1 categories.

Leading the Way
Senior Nate Guenin, an alternate captain for the Buckeyes the last two seasons, was voted team captain by his teammates for the 2005-06 campaign. Guenin takes over the captaincy from two-time leader JB Bittner, who completed his eligibility in 2004-05. The duo grew up playing hockey together in Pittsburgh for the Pittsburgh Hornets junior hockey organization.

Senior Rod Pelley is in his second year as an alternate captain, while junior Sean Collins is in his first year wearing the `A'.

The Breakdown
The Buckeye roster contains four seniors, nine juniors, a CCHA-high 11 sophomores and a league-low two freshmen. Twenty-three of 26 players from last season returned to the squad.

A Quick Recap
The Buckeyes were 27-11-4 last season and earned an at-large berth into the NCAA tournament for the third consecutive season. The team finished second in the CCHA regular-season standing with a 21-5-2 ledger (its highest finish in over 20 years) and was the runner-up in the CCHA Super Six tournament.

Up Next
The Buckeyes end the week with two games vs. Ferris State in Value City Arena in Columbus. Ohio State and the Bulldogs will face off at 7:05 p.m. Friday and at 8:05 p.m. Saturday. The series marks OSU's last regular-season home games for the 2005-06 season. The Buckeyes are 7-6-3 at home this year. The four Buckeye seniors - Dave Caruso, Nate Guenin, Dan Knapp and Rod Pelley - will be honored postgame Saturday.