Dec. 26, 2012
Three Rivers Classic
CONSOL Energy Center - Pittsburgh, Pa.
First Round - Friday, Dec. 28
Robert Morris vs. Penn State - 4:30 p.m.
Ohio State vs. No. 5 Miami - 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 29
Consolation Game - 4:30 p.m.
Championship Game - 7:30 p.m.
Buckeye Notes to Know
• Ohio State has had a rotating system of captains this season. Serving as captains this week are juniors Curtis Gedig and Travis Statchuk and sophomore Ryan Dzingel.
• Ohio State is 4-0-1 all-time on the NHL Penguins’ home ice (1-0 in CONSOL Energy Center).
• Senior goalie Brady Hjelle enters the tournament third in the NCAA with a CCHA-best 1.46 goals-against average and is second in the NCAA with a .951 save percentage.
• Sophomores Tanner Fritz and Ryan Dzingel lead the Buckeyes in scoring with 14 and 13 points, respectively. Dzingel and Max McCormick are first with six goals each and Fritz has a team-best 10 assists.
• Ohio State and Miami are meeting for the third-consecutive game. The Buckeyes have also already faced Robert Morris this season. The squad has not played Penn State in its history.
• Steve Rohlik is serving as the Buckeyes’ head coach this week with head coach Mark Osiecki on the Team USA staff at the World Junior Championship in Ufa, Russia.
Drop the Puck
The Ohio State men’s hockey team returns to action this weekend in the inaugural Three Rivers Classic at CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh. The Buckeyes (7-6-5, 6-3-3-1 CCHA) will take on No. 5 Miami (11-3-4, 8-3-3-3 CCHA) in a non-conference game at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Penn State (7-8-0) and Robert Morris (7-4-2, 4-3-1 Atlantic Hockey) will meet in the other first-round game at 4:30 p.m. Friday. The tournament’s championship game will be at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, with the consolation game at 4:30 p.m.
How to Go
Tickets are available for all four games of the Three Rivers Classic. Tickets can be purchased at ticketmaster.com, all Ticketmaster outlets, the Dick’s Sporting Goods Box Office at CONSOL Energy Center and charge by phone at 800-745-3000. Individual session passes start at $15.
Links for radio and live stats for the Buckeyes’ game in the Three Rivers Classic will be available on the Buckeye Hockey Gameday page (http://go.osu.edu/mhkygameday) and the men’s hockey schedule page on OhioStateBuckeyes.com by game time each day. Ohio State radio will not be covering the tournament. Both tournament games Saturday will be broadcast on tape delay by Root Sports Pittsburgh.
A Look Ahead
After the tournament in Pittsburgh, the Buckeyes will have a weekend off before back-to-back road series at Ferris State (Jan. 11-12) and Northern Michigan (Jan. 18-19). The team will then have a four-game homestand, hosting Lake Superior State Jan. 25-26 and Notre Dame Feb. 1-2 in Value City Arena.
The Buckeyes are 7-6-5 overall and 6-3-3-1 in CCHA play to stand in fourth place. The squad last played Dec. 14-15, hosting Miami in Value City Arena. The teams tied the opener, 1-1, with Miami winning the shootout. The RedHawks won game two, 3-1. The squad is scoring 1.94 goals a game and allowing 1.94 goals per game to rank sixth in the nation in team defense. The team is 8-for-79 (.101) on the power play and 63-for-75 (.840) on the penalty kill.
Sophomore Ryan Dzingel is first with 14 points, followed by classmate Tanner Fritz, who leads the team with 10 assists, in second with 13 points. Dzingel, who is second with eight assists, and classmate Max McCormick are tied for first with six goals each, followed by Matt Johnson with five. Senior goalie Brady Hjelle has played in 13 games, starting 12, and has a 1.46 goals-against average and .951 save percentage to rank third and second in the NCAA, respectively. Freshman Collin Olson has played six games and has a 2.68 goals-against average and .914 save percentage.
Osiecki with Team USA At World Junior Championship
Mark Osiecki, in his third year at the helm of the Buckeyes, is serving as an assistant coach for the U.S. National Junior Team and will be behind the bench at the IIHF World Junior Championship for the third time this winter. Osiecki was with Team USA in 2011 when the squad won bronze and in 2010 when the team won the gold medal. Those tournaments marked the first time the U.S. medaled in back-to-back years. Buckeye assistant coach Joe Exter was an assistant coach with Team USA last year. Associate head coach Steve Rohlik is serving as the Buckeyes’ head coach while Osiecki is with Team USA in Ufa, Russia, for this year’s edition of the tournament.
Buckeyes in Pittsburgh
The tournament marks the Buckeyes’ fifth and sixth games on the NHL Pittsburgh Penguins’ home ice. The squad played its first game in CONSOL Energy Center last season, downing Robert Morris, 4-2, Dec. 30, 2011. Ohio State played four games in Mellon Arena, the Penguins’ former home, going 2-0-1 in those contests. The squad defeated Robert Morris 4-0 Nov. 14, 2008 and tied the Colonials, 5-5 in overtime Nov. 16, 2007. The squad topped Princeton in Mellon Arena Jan. 3, 2003.
Wearing the C
Ohio State has rotated captains this season, switching the trio every two series. For the series at Minnesota Duluth and Quinnipiac seniors Alex Carlson and Brandon Martell were joined by sophomore Matt Johnson wearing the ‘C’, while juniors Alex Lippincott and Travis Statchuk and sophomore Max McCormick donned the letter vs. Bowling Green and Alaska. Senior Devon Krogh, junior Chris Crane and sophomore Ryan Dzingel served as captains vs. Northern Michigan and at Lake Superior State and juniors Curtis Gedig and Alex Szczechura and sophomore Tanner Fritz served as captains at Michigan State and retained the ‘C’s for the series with Robert Morris.
For the series vs. Miami Dec. 14-15, Gedig, Statchuk and Dzingel reprised their roles as captains, the first second-time selections of the season. The trio will wear the C in the tournament this weekend as well.
Buckeyes vs. RedHawks
The game Friday marks the third-consecutive matchup between Ohio State and Miami. The teams met in Columbus to close the first half of the season, tying game one, 1-1, with Miami winning the CCHA shootout. The RedHawks claimed the second game, 3-1. They will close the regular season with a series in Oxford March 1-2, setting up at least five games between the squads in 2011-12.
Ohio State trails the series with Miami, 61-67-14. Ohio State leads the series on neutral ice, 4-2-1. The last neutral-site matchup was a 5-3 Buckeye win Dec. 30, 2006 in the Ohio Hockey Classic at Nationwide Arena in Columbus.
The teams have met five or more times in a season 10 times, including facing off seven times in 2009-10 (four regular season games, three-game playoff series). The squads met six times in 2003-04 (regular season, Lefty McFadden Invitational, CCHA Super Six), 1983-84 (all regular season) and 1982-83 (regular season and two-game playoff series). The squads met five times for three-consecutive years, 2005-06 through 2007-08, with four regular-season games and the Ohio Hockey Classic tournament in December each year. Since 1980, the Buckeyes and RedHawks have had just two games during a season just once (2010-11).
Miami, ranked fifth nationally, enters the tournament 11-3-4 overall and tied for first place in the CCHA with an 8-3-3-3 ledger. Miami is averaging 2.78 goals a game while allowing 1.67 an outing to rank third in the NCAA. The squad is 14-for-85 (.165) on the power play and 78-for-89 (.876) on the penalty kill, ranking 11th nationally.
Freshman Riley Barber leads the team with eight goals and 22 points, followed by sophomore Austin Czarnik with seven goals and 21 points. The duo are tied for first with 14 assists each. Senior Curtis McKenzie is third with 12 points, including seven assists. In goal, freshman Jay Williams has played in 13 games and has an 8-2-3 ledger, 2.05 goals-against average and .921 save percentage. Freshman Ryan McKay has played in six games, with a 2-1-0 mark, and has a .65 gaa and .975 sv%. Barber and freshman classmate Sean Kuraly will not be with the RedHawks this weekend; both are skating for Team USA at the World Junior Championship in Ufa, Russia.
Buckeyes vs. Colonials
The Buckeyes are 3-3-2 all-time vs. Robert Morris, with an undefeated 3-0-1 ledger on neutral ice. The squads met in a home-and-home series earlier this season. The Colonials posted a 3-2 win in Columbus Dec. 7 before Ohio State rallied for a 2-2 OT tie Dec. 8 in Pittsburgh. Last season, Ohio State topped Robert Morris, 4-2, Dec. 30, 2011, at CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh. The series dates to November 2007, when the squads skated to a 5-5 tie in Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh Nov. 16 before the Colonials won in Columbus Nov. 18.
Robert Morris enters the tournament 7-4-2 on the year and has a 4-3-1 ledger in Atlantic Hockey play. The team last played Dec. 15, at 3-1 win at Penn State. The Colonials are averaging 2.85 goals a game and allowing 2.46 an outing. The power play is 5-for-56 (.089) and the penalty kill is 51-for-61 (.836).
Seniors Zach Hervato and Adam Brace share the team lead with 12 points each. Hervato is first with six goals, followed by Brace and Colin South with five each. Sophomore Jeff Jones is first with nine points and tied with South for third with 11 points each. Brace and Scott Jacklin are tied for second with seven assists. In goal senior Eric Levine is 6-2-2 and has a 2.17 goals-against average and .942 save percentage. Freshman Terry Shafer is 1-2-0, with a 2.70 gaa and .902 sv%.
Buckeyes vs. Nittany Lions
Penn State is in its first year as a Division I member. A matchup Saturday would be the first between the programs. The squads will face off as conference foes in the Big Ten Conference next season.
Penn State, in its first campaign as a varsity program, is 7-8-0 this year and is playing as an independent before the Big Ten Conference is formed next season. The team last played Dec. 15 vs. Robert Morris, falling to the Colonials at home, 3-2. The squad is scoring 2.80 goals a game and allowing 2.57 an outing. The power play is 5-for-61 (.082) and the penalty kill is 63-for-75 (.840).
Freshman David Glen is first with eight goals, eight assists and 16 points. Freshman Casey Bailey is second with 11 points and six goals. Sophomore Max Gardiner is second with seven assists and third with nine points. In goal, freshman Matthew Skoff is 3-6-0 with a 2.32 goals-against average and .926 save percentage. Freshman PJ Musico is 4-2-0, posting a 2.52 gaa and .918 svpct.
Buckeye This and That
• No current Buckeyes call Pennsylvania home. Recent Buckeye standouts have hailed from the Pittsburgh area, however, including RJ Umberger (Plum), Nate Guenin (Aliquippa), JB Bittner (Pittsburgh), Mike Betz (Elizabeth), Sergio Somma (Pittsburgh), Jason Crain (Natrona Heights), CJ Severyn (Beaver) and Matt Bartkowski (Pittsburgh).
• The inaugural Three Rivers Classic is the Buckeyes’ first holiday tournament since going 2-0 in the Catamount Cup in Burlington, Vt., Jan. 1-2, 2011. In that event, Ohio State topped host Vermont, 3-1, before downing Army, 5-3.
• Ohio State is sixth in the NCAA in team defense, holding opponents to 1.94 goals a game. The team has held opponents to one goal or less in five of the last 10 games.
• The Buckeyes are 1-3-2 in non-conference play this season. The squad split a series at WCHA team Minnesota Duluth to open the year before going 0-1-1 at ECAC member Quinnipiac. The squad was 0-1-1 in a home-and-home series with Robert Morris from Atlantic Hockey.
• Ohio State is averaging 1.94 goals a game this season and has been held to two or fewer goals in six of the last seven games. The team scored one goal in each game vs. Miami in its last series. The squad has topped two goals five times this season.
• In scoring among sophomores nationally, Ohio State’s class ranks seventh, averaging 2.67 points a game, combining for 48 points. Sophomores are the Top 4 point scorers on the squad this year.
• Ohio State’s penalty kill has held its opponent scoreless in four of the last seven games (88 percent, 22-for-25). The squad has not allowed more than one power play goal since giving up five in the season-opening series at Minnesota Duluth (three in the first game, two in the second game).
• Ohio State is averaging 5.1 penalties and 13.3 penalty minutes per game. The squad has had just seven penalties for 14 minutes in the last three games combined, with a season-low tying two penalties for four minutes in two of those three outings.
• Ohio State, Clarkson and Wisconsin lead the nation with five ties each this season. Twelve teams had four ties through the first half of the year.
• After posting a season-high 83 shots vs. Robert Morris in the two-game series Dec. 7-8, including a season-high 45 in game one vs. the Colonials, Ohio State was held to just 23 shots in each game vs. Miami Dec. 14-15. The squad is averaging 29.4 shots a game and allowing 30.5.
• Ohio State played 11 of its first 18 games away from Columbus and will open the second half of the year with six games away from Value City Arena. After the two neutral-site games in the Three Rivers Classic, the squad will return to CCHA action with back-to-back road series. Eight of the team’s final 12 games will be at home.
• Twenty Buckeye skaters have at least one point this year. Fourteen Buckeyes have at least one goal and 20 have at least one assist.
Between the Pipes
• Senior goalie Brady Hjelle is third in the NCAA with a 1.46 goals-against average and second nationally with a .951 save percentage. His three shutouts are tied for fourth in the NCAA. He leads the CCHA in all three categories.
• Hjelle has played in 13 games this season, with 12 starts. He was the starter in the Buckeyes’ last six games and played in the final eight games of the first half.
• In CCHA play, Hjelle has a league-best .79 goals-against average, .972 save percentage and three shutouts.
• Hjelle has seven games with 30 or more saves, including a season high and career-high tying 37 vs. Robert Morris Dec. 8.
• Hjelle has been the first or second star in all eight league starts.
• Hjelle is a three-time CCHA Goaltender of the Week and was the CCHA Goaltender of the Month for November. In November, he had a league-best .62 goals-against average and .978 save percentage, playing in five games (with four starts) and did not allow more than one goal in any appearance. He allowed three total goals, with two of the three on the power play.
• Freshman Collin Olson has played in six games this year and is 2-2-1 with a 2.68 goals-against average and .914 save percentage. He is the first Buckeye true freshman to see game time between the pipes for Ohio State since Cal Heeter in 2008-09.
• Against Miami, sophomore Ryan Dzingel was held scoreless in a series for the first time since the season-opening games at Minnesota Duluth. He leads the Buckeyes with 14 points and had an eight-game scoring streak Nov. 10-Dec. 7, with a 4-7-11 line in the stretch.
• Junior Alex Szczechura has a point in six of his last nine games and has a 1-6-7 line on the year. He had an assist in game two vs. Miami.
• Sophomore Max McCormick now shares the team lead with classmate Ryan Dzingel with six goals each after tallying in game two vs. Miami. McCormick is third on the team with 10 points.
• Dzingel has a team-best three gamewinning goals (tying for fourth nationally), including the gamewinners in both of the Buckeyes’ 1-0 victories this season. All three of his GWG have been in league play to rank first.
• Sophomore Tanner Fritz has points in six of the last 11 games, with four two-point games in the stretch. He is second on the team with 13 points and first with 11 assists.
• Freshman Tyler Lundey has seven points, with three goals and four assists, to lead the Buckeye rookies in scoring.
• In all games, Dzingel is tied for ninth and Fritz is tied for 13th in scoring among CCHA players. Dzingel and McCormick are ninth (tied) in goals and Fritz is seventh (tied) in assists.
• In CCHA games only, Dzingel is tied for fifth with 12 points and Fritz is tied for seventh with 11 points. Fritz is tied for third with nine assists, with Dzingel tied for 10th with seven. Dzingel is tied for eighth with five goals in league play and McCormick is tied for 15th with four tallies. Dzingel is tied for eighth in power play points (5).
• Sophomore Matt Johnson, who is third on the team with five goals and ranks fourth (tied) on the squad with seven points, is tied for 10th in the CCHA with a +8 mark overall.
On the Blueline
• Senior defenseman Devon Krogh scored the Buckeyes’ lone goal vs. Miami Dec. 14, giving him goals in back-to-back games. He now has eight goals as a Buckeye and has played in a team-high 111 games for the Scarlet and Gray.
• Freshman Craig Dalrymple leads the Buckeye defensemen in scoring with five points, on a goal and four assists.
• Dalrymple is first on the team with a +9 mark, tying for seventh in the CCHA overall, ranking third among defensemen and second among rookies. Dalrymple also is +9 in league play only, tying for fifth among league players, ranking first among rookies and second among blueliners. Dalrymple is +1 or better in six of the last nine games.
• Junior Curtis Gedig is tied for second on the team with a +8 mark. He is tied for 10th in the CCHA overall and fourth among blueliners.
• As a team, Ohio State has 268 recorded blocked shots, while its opponents have blocked 218 of its attempts. Justin DaSilva is first with 33 blocked shots, followed by Al McLean with 27, Brandon Martell with 24 and Gedig with 23. Every Buckeye skater has at least one blocked shot this year. (Individual blocks were not recorded in the series at Minnesota Duluth). Against Miami, DaSilva had seven in the series, including five in game two.