Ohio Hockey Classic
Nationwide Arena • Columbus, Ohio
Thursday, December 29
Miami vs. Rensselaer 5:05 p.m.
Holy Cross at Ohio State, 8:05 p.m.
Friday, December 30
Consolation Game, 5:05 p.m.
Championship Game, 8:05 p.m.
On TV: The Ohio News
Network will carry the Holy Cross-Ohio State game
Thursday and Friday's Buckeye game against either
Miami or Rensselaer.
The inaugural Ohio Hockey Classic pitted
Miami and host Ohio State against WCHA opponents Colorado
College and Minnesota State, Mankato. The Mavericks
and RedHawks left Columbus with 0-1-1 records, while
the Tigers and Buckeyes posted identical 1-0-1 marks.
CC and OSU skated to a 2-2 draw in the tournament
finale; the Tigers were declared champions after winning
a five-player shootout, 3-2.
INTERESTING HISTORICAL FACT
There has only been one Ohio Hockey
Classic, so historical tidbits are scant. Therefore,
we offer this friendly bit of advice. Hockey fans
who were in Columbus for last year’s Frozen
Four and showed up at Nationwide Arena – home
of the NHL’s Blue Jackets – instead of
Value City Arena on the OSU campus, which is where
the event was actually played, will be pleased to
know the OHC takes place at Nationwide for a second
WHO TO WATCH
You’d be hard
pressed to find another holiday tournament with better
goaltending than that at the Ohio Hockey Classic.
Miami’s tandem of sophomore Charlie Effinger
and freshman Jeff Zatkoff both rank among the top
five nationally in goals against average and save
percentage, while Holy Cross’s Tony Quesada
has rebounded from an uneven junior campaign to rank
among the NCAA’s top 20 in the same categories.
Ohio State’s Dave Caruso should be back in goal
after missing the Buckeyes’ pre-holiday series
against Union with an injury; he’s 5-1-1 in
his last seven starts and has allowed 11 goals during
that span. Rensselaer, meanwhile, casts its lot with
freshman Mathias Lange, who ranks third in goals against
average and fifth in save percentage among rookie
The goalies will be tested. Rensselaer
boasts two of the country's top scorers in senior
forward Kevin Croxton (third in the NCAA with 11-17–28)
and junior forward Owen Eizenman (tied for ninth with
11-15–26). Miami, meanwhile, boasts a balanced
scoring effort. Seven RedHawks have scored 10 or more
points. Junior forwards Matt Christie and Marty Guerin
are among that group despite getting off to sluggish
starts. Christie enters the tourney with 12 points
and Guerin has 11 – neither player registered
fewer than 33 points in either of their first two
seasons in Oxford.
Ohio State would like to get its two
top goal scorers from last season untracked. Rod Pelley
and Matthew Beaudoin, who combined for 45 goals a
year ago, have registered 11 markers between them
thus far. Holy Cross will lean on its special teams
– the Crusaders own the country's third-ranked
penalty kill and seventh-best power play. The extra-man
attack is paced by seniors Tyler McGregor (7 PPGs)
and Pierre Napert-Frenette (5 PPGs).
HOW WE SEE IT
The Ohio Hockey Classic should be one
of the more intriguing items on the holiday hockey
menu since every team in the field has a legitimate
chance to win two games. It's tough to pick against
Miami, however. The RedHawks, riding the country's
longest unbeaten streak (6-0-2), have been the most
consistent team this side of Wisconsin. Their superior
balance should be enough to carry them past Rensselaer.
Ohio State will outlast Holy Cross, but it'll be a
close one. The Crusaders and their potent power play
present a problem for the Buckeyes, one of the country's
most penalized teams.
Since we expect Holy Cross and Rensselaer
to play well enough to win their respective first-round
matches, both teams deserve a reward for their efforts.
They'll skate to a draw in the tournament's third-place
game. In the title match, we'll tab Miami in what
could conceivably be a low-scoring affair given the
play of the RedHawks' goalies and OSU's Caruso. The
stingy Miami defense is too much for the Buckeyes