Ohio Hockey Classic Preview

Site: Value City Arena, Columbus, Ohio

Saturday-Sunday, Dec. 29-30, 2007

Participants: St. Cloud State, Harvard, Miami, Ohio State

Game 1: St. Cloud State vs. Miami, 6:05 p.m. ET

St. Cloud State Huskies(8-8-2, 4-7-1 WCHA)

Head coach: Bob Motzko

Leading scorers: So. Ryan Lasch (12-14 — 26), Fr. Garrett Roe (11-14 — 25)

Leading netminder: So. Jase Weslosky (7-7-0, 2.18 GAA, .929 SV%)

Miami RedHawks (16-2-0, 10-2-0 CCHA)

Head coach: Enrico Blasi

Leading scorers: Sr. Ryan Jones (16-9 — 25), Jr. Brian Kaufman (6-17 — 23), Jr. Justin Mercier (14-6 — 20)

Leading netminders: Jr. Jeff Zatkoff (12-2-0, 1.36 GAA, .940 SV%), Sr. Charlie Effinger (4-0-0, 1.75 GAA, .920 SV%)

Game 2: Harvard at Ohio State, 9:05 p.m. ET

Harvard Crimson (6-4-2, 5-3-1 ECAC)

Head coach: Ted Donato

Leading scorers: Fr. Michael Biega (6-3 — 9), So. Alex Biega (1-7 — 8)

Leading netminder: So. Kyle Richter (6-4-2, 1.85 GAA, .938 SV%)

Ohio State Buckeyes (5-13-2, 2-9-1 CCHA)

Head coach: John Markell

Leading scorers: Sr. Tommy Goebel (10-6 — 16), Sr. Tom Fritsche (3-8 — 11)

Leading netminders: So. Joseph Palmer (2-12-2, 3.21 GAA, .887 SV%)

Tournament Outlook

This tournament, now in its fourth year, features two of Ohio’s Division I hockey programs and is moving for the first time from Nationwide Arena, the home of the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets, to Value City Arena, the home of the Ohio State Buckeyes. Three of the four teams are ranked, and in the first match No. 16 St. Cloud State plays No. 1 Miami. The Huskies are coached by Bob Motzko, a former assistant at Miami who coached RedHawk head coach Enrico Blasi in his playing days. St. Cloud ended the first half with a home win over Colorado College Dec. 15, but that win broke a six-game losing streak for the Huskies against four ranked opponents; STSU is 2-6-0 in its last eight against Clarkson, Wisconsin, Denver and CC. Freshman Garrett Roe is third in the nation in scoring and first among D-I rookies. He brings a 14-game point-scoring streak to Ohio with him for the classic and is tied for third in the country for power-play goals (seven). Sophomore Ryan Lasch is fifth among scorers nationally in points per game. The Huskies have the ninth-best scoring offense in the nation and the 19th-toughest defense.

The Miami RedHawks are at or near the top the nation in several categories: offense (4.50 goals per game, first), defense (1.50, first), power play ( 21.0, 10th), penalty kill (92.2, third) and penalty minutes (19.9 per game, third). Senior Ryan Jones is eighth nationally in points per game, fourth in goals per game and first for game-winning goals (six). Jones and junior forward Justin Mercier are second and third, respectively, in goal-scoring in the CCHA. Junior defenseman Alec Martinez leads all blueliners nationally in points (17). Miami is outscoring opponents 81-27 this season, leading the nation in points margin. Junior goaltender Jeff Zatkoff has the second-best goals-against average in the nation and the third-best save percentage. The RedHawks are technically 2-2-2 in the OHC, but one of those ties was Miami’s 2005 shootout victory over Ohio State to capture the tournament.

The No. 15 Harvard Crimson face co-tournament host Ohio State in the second game. Harvard finished the first half of the season with a Dec. 12 loss to Boston College and went 1-2-1 in the month of December officially, with another loss in exhibition to the U.S. Under-18 team Dec. 9. Harvard assistant coach Patrick Foley is serving as the assistant for Team USA in the IIHF World Junior Championship tournament in Europe. Sophomore goaltender Kyle Richter is ninth nationally in goals-against average and has the fifth-best save percentage in the nation. Harvard has the 42nd-best offense nationally but the fourth-toughest defense in the country, allowing just 1.92 goals per game.

The Ohio State Buckeyes will be without starting goaltender, sophomore Joseph Palmer, for the tournament. Palmer is with Team USA in Europe through early January. Goaltenders sophomore Nick Filion and freshman Dustin Carlson are unknown quantities; Filion has played 16 minutes this season with a goals-against average of 3.83, and Carlson has one decision (0-1-0) with 91 minutes, a 3.94 GAA and .867 save percentage. The Buckeyes are struggling to score goals, with the 48th-best offense in the country (2.25 goals per game); the OSU defense is 47th-best in the nation. Senior Tommy Goebel has seven power-play tallies on the year, and his classmate, Tom Fritsche, has two shorthanded markers. The Buckeyes are the defending OHC champions.