All The Young Dudes
a little child shall lead them.” – Isaiah 11:6
With a gaggle
of seniors from last season’s CCHA playoff championship
team departed, Ohio State hockey fans may have thought divine
intervention would be necessary for the Buckeyes to reach the
previous year’s heights. After all, coach John Markell needed
to rebuild with members of his 11-man freshman class.
can win with freshmen in the lineup. But you’re not supposed
to win when rookies make up more than half of the lineup.
the case in Columbus, however. Ohio State, fresh off an impressive
sweep of Northern Michigan at Value City Arena, leads the nation
with nine victories and is 9-1-0 in its last 10 games. Naturally,
the freshmen have done more than play supporting roles during
the Bucks’ six-week run.
10, 11 of us on the roster, we have to do it,” said first-year
forward Tom Fritsche, OSU’s leading scorer with 15 points.
“We’re half the team.”
almost half. Against the Wildcats, the Buckeyes had eight freshmen
on the ice each night and each night, they earned their keep.
On Saturday, forward Dominic Maiani scored a key insurance goal
midway through the third period of OSU’s 2-0 victory. In
Sunday’s series finale, Sam Campbell scored two goals and
Ian Keserich stopped 31 shots in a 5-1 win.
confidence is high, but we know at any time, anyone can beat us,”
said Fritsche, a Parma, Ohio, native whose brother, Dan, was a
second-round pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2003 and played
19 games in the NHL last season. “The first weekend, we
lost two games. After that, we settled down and started winning.”
only are the rookies winning, but they’re contributing.
To wit: Maiani, Fritsche’s linemate, is the Buckeyes’
second-leading scorer with 14 points. The other member of the
Fritsche line, John Dingle, has three goals in nine games. Offensive-minded
defenseman Kyle Hood, who scored 66 points for the Cowichan Valley
Capitals of the British Columbia Hockey League last season, has
1-5—6 in 10 games. Defenseman Jason DeSantis, meanwhile,
is tied for second on the team with a +6 plus-minus rating.
to Fritsche, being part of a large freshman class has made the
transition to the college game a little easier to handle.
not afraid,” said Fritsche, acknowledging the strength in
numbers. “You’ve always got someone else there with
you. But as it’s gone on, the team has come together as
the freshmen maintain their level of play, who knows where the
Buckeyes could be headed? Their path could end in their home rink
SEEN AND HEARD IN THE CCHA
Welcome Back, Potter – Michigan State, which enters
this week’s pivotal series with Michigan on a four-game
unbeaten streak, bolstered its lineup last weekend when junior
defenseman Corey Potter played in his first game of the season.
the team’s top defensive rearguard and its best penalty
killer, showed no ill effects from the shoulder separation that
forced him to miss the Spartans’ first eight contests. He
couldn’t have picked a better weekend to make his return,
what with physically imposing Cornell the opponent.
was a great game to come back to,” said the 6-foot-3 Potter,
a member of the U.S. team that won the gold medal at last year’s
World Junior Championship. “There was a lot of crashing,
a lot of hitting. That’s my kind of style of play.”
such a warrior out there, and we missed that,” said MSU
coach Rick Comley. “He takes the pressure off so we can
cut back [defenseman A.J. Thelen’s] ice time. [A.J.] has
played a ton every night.”
return helps Comley from spreading minutes too thin among his
defensemen. It also gives the Spartans a physical, veteran presence
on the blue line just in time for a crucial string of games –
after this week’s Michigan series, MSU travels to Minnesota
and Wisconsin for the College Hockey Showcase, then meets rapidly
improving Bowling Green in a home-and-home set the first weekend
not a lot of fun sitting out,” Potter said. “You’ve
got to watch the team go through the highs and lows of winning
and losing. When you’re up in the stands, you want to be
out there and contribute. It wasn’t fun, but it’s
great to be back.”
Scouts' Honor – The National Hockey League’s
Central Scouting Service released its preliminary
list of top prospects for the 2005 Entry Draft – assuming
there is one – this week. Ten current CCHA players are included
among the top 30 college prospects, including three of the top
T.J. Hensick is the second-rated prospects according to the CSS,
trailing only Boston College forward Dan Bertram. Bowling Green
defenseman Jonathan Sigalet ranks third, with Miami forward Nathan
forward Jonathan Matsumoto is listed as the 11th-best prospect
on the CSS list. He’s followed by Notre Dame forward Evan
Rankin (13th), Ohio State forward Tom Fritsche (17th), Western
Michigan forward Paul Szczechura (20th), Michigan State forwards
Chris Mueller (22nd) and Bryan Lerg (27th) and Bowling Green forward
James Unger (30th).
recruits are also ranked, led by MSU-bound forward Justin Abdelkader,
who now plays for the United States Hockey League's Cedar Rapids
Roughriders, and future Notre Dame goalie Jordan Pearce, a member
of the USHL's Lincoln Stars.
Great Weekend Getaway
vs. Michigan State (Thurs.-Sat.)
you even need a set-up for this home-and-home series that
starts in East Lansing tonight? And if you do, are you sure
you’re visiting the correct Web site? Rather than
focus on the who’s, what’s and where’s,
imagine this scenario – a Michigan State sweep coupled
with an Ohio State win against the Michigan football team
in Columbus. If that were to happen, Ann Arbor would look
like a set from ‘Planet of the Apes’ Sunday
morning, except residents would be rummaging through rubble
in search of a latte.
you’re there: If you’re really bored Friday,
you could duck in on basketball games in East Lansing and
Ann Arbor. The Spartans open the regular season against
Florida A&M, while the Wolverines welcome Sacramento
State to Crisler Arena. Instead of dropping 20 bucks a ticket
to watch a Big Ten team drop the hammer on a sacrificial
lamb, you could find a sports bar, slip the barkeep a fin
and get him to switch the satellite over to the Minnesota-Denver
hockey game on Fox Sports Net North.
normally sedate Munn Ice Arena crowd – most of whom
have received birthday wishes from Willard Scott –
was jolted into action by a small, but vocal, group
of Lynah Faithful that descended on East Lansing
for Cornell’s series with Michigan State. MSU captain
Jim Slater told reporters after the game that when Faithful
shouted ‘RED!’ during their well-known national
anthem ritual, he looked around the arena trying to figure
out what was going on.
Arguably the greatest invention
of my lifetime, TiVo bowed to pressure from advertisers
this week, announcing viewers will no longer be able to
fast-forward through commercials embedded in programs they’ve
digitally record. Starting in March, most viewers who fast-forward
through programs will see small pop-up billboards or logos
related to the brands represented in some of the ads. Makes
one want to chuck their home theatre system and replace
it with the old, 19-inch, black-and-white, rabbit-eared
model your grandparents had…the one you needed a set
of pliers to change the channel.
AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
Michigan State-Cornell game was more than just an entertaining
non-conference match; there was a postseason-type atmosphere
at Munn Ice Arena, one not seen for a regular-season
game since co-No. 1’s Minnesota and Michigan State skated
to a 4-4 draw in 2001.
crowd was great, there was a buzz in the building right away,
and there was great hockey right away,” MSU coach Rick Comley
said. “I think the message we send to ourselves –
coaches and players – is, that [style of play is] us…let’s
show it every night.”
Friday’s game, the Spartans were still talking about
Cornell goaltender David McKee’s sterling, 36-save
effort. Senior forward Ash Goldie, who scored MSU’s lone
goal that night, said McKee’s performance bordered on the
save he made…it was the one where [linemate David Booth]
hit the post, hit McKee’s back and then came around,”
Goldie said. “I don’t know how it ended up in his
glove. I started laughing out there. I couldn’t believe
Nebraska-Omaha goaltender Chris Holt if he was distracted
during last weekend’s series against visiting Bowling Green.
His idol, Jordan Sigalet, was in the other goal.
and Holt hail from the Vancouver suburb of Surrey, B.C., and the
UNO sophomore acknowledged he mimicked Sigalet’s every move
as he climbed the ranks.
goalie coach would always say, ‘Watch Jordan. Watch Jordan.
Everybody needs to be more like Jordan,’ Holt said to the
Omaha World Herald. “I think he’s the best goaltender
in the nation. He is the backbone of their team.’’
to author Thomas Wolfe’s opinion, you can go home
again. Just ask Notre Dame freshman forward Evan Rankin.
the game-tying goal in the Fighting Irish’s 2-2 draw against
Western Michigan in Kalamazoo Friday, and assisted on Notre Dame’s
first marker in his team’s 3-2 win over the host Broncos
the following night. A native of nearby Portage, Mich., Rankin
learned to skate at WMU’s Lawson Ice Arena. He leads Notre
Dame rookies in scoring with three goals and two assists in 10
the most recent locked-out NHLers to join teams in European leagues
are a pair of former CCHA All-Americans. Former
Michigan goalie Marty Turco, now with the Dallas Stars, and ex-Miami
defenseman Dan Boyle, who won the Stanley Cup with Tampa Bay last
season, have signed to play with Djurgarden, the eighth-place
team in the 12-team Swedish Elite League. According to TSN.ca,
11 NHLers with CCHA ties are currently playing in Europe.
a milestone moment at Miami this weekend. When
the RedHawks entertain Western Michigan at Goggin Ice Arena Saturday,
it’ll be the 1,000th game in Miami hockey history.
A variety of sources were utilized in the compilation of this