North Dakota and Ohio State have not met for almost 30 years, and it’s safe to say that the result will be a bit closer this time around. When the teams met for a two game non-conference series in December of 1979, UND outscored the Buckeyes 15-4 on the weekend. And in the “what might have been” category, both the Fighting Sioux and OSU participated in last season’s NCAA Northeast Regional tournament, but neither team could advance to the regional final.
Ohio State has shown early signs of life (a 4-0 shutout of Denver stands out), but is absolutely dreadful in special teams situations. In an almost identical number of power play and shorthanded situations, the Buckeyes have scored 9 goals and allowed 22. By comparison, UND has scored 16 power play goals and allowed only 8 to the opposition. OSU would certainly like to keep things five-on-five on Friday night.
North Dakota senior defenseman Chay Genoway will miss this weekend’s action. Genoway is still recovering from an upper body injury he suffered against St. Cloud State on November 13th. UND has not won a game since Genoway left the lineup.
This weekend’s Subway Holiday Classic will use four pre-determined matchups, rather than a tournament format. OSU will battle Bemidji State on Saturday afternoon, while North Dakota will face Miami of Ohio (the nation’s #1 team) on Saturday night. Check back for a preview of North Dakota and Miami later this weekend.
Ohio State Team Profile
Head Coach: John Markell (16th season at OSU, 270-257-51, .511)
This Season: 5-8-1 Overall, 4-5-1-1 CCHA (t-5th)
National Rankings: NR
Team Offense: 2.50 goals scored/game
Team Defense: 3.07 goals allowed/game
Power Play: 11.8% (9 of 76)
Penalty Kill: 71.4% (55 of 77)
Last Season: 23-15 4 Overall (NCAA Northeast Regional semifinalist , 13-11-4 CCHA
Key Players: Junior F John Albert (3-7-10), Junior F Peter Boyd (4-8-12), Sophomore F Zac Dalpe (8-8-16), Junior D Shane Sims (2-5-7), Sophomore G Cal Heeter (4-2-1, 3.05 GAA, .903 SV%, 1 SO)
North Dakota Team Profile
Head Coach: Dave Hakstol (6th season at UND, 137-75-20, .634)
National Ranking: #4/#4
This Season: 7-4-1, 5-4-1 WCHA (t-4th)
Last Season: 24-15-4 overall (NCAA Northeast Regional semifinalist), 17-7-4 WCHA (1st)
Team Offense: 3.08 goals scored/game
Team Defense: 1.75 goals allowed/game
Power Play: 22.2% (16 of 72)
Penalty Kill: 88.4% (61 of 69)
Key Players: Senior F Chris VandeVelde (4-8-12), Sophomore F David Toews (4-6-10) Junior F Evan Trupp (4-6-10), Senior D Chay Genoway (4-6-10), Sophomore G Brad Eidsness (6-3-1, 1.69 GAA, .929 SV%, 1 SO)
By The Numbers
Last Meeting: December 21st, 1979 (Grand Forks, ND). North Dakota completed the two-game sweep of the visiting Buckeyes, 7-2. UND routed OSU 8-2 in Friday’s opener.
Most Important Meeting: Since the teams haven’t played in 30 years, I will call Friday’s opener the most important. North Dakota needs a victory after dropping three consecutive one-goal contests.
All-time Series: North Dakota leads the all-time series, 2-0.
Game News and Notes
UND is 9-5-0 all-time in the Subway Holiday Classic. Ohio State forward Hunter Bishop will celebrate a homecoming of sorts when he takes the ice against UND on Friday. Bishop played the first half of his freshman year for the Fighting Sioux. The Buckeyes rank dead last in the CCHA in both power play and penalty kill percentage. North Dakota senior defenseman Chay Genoway is still out of the lineup after suffering an upper body injury against St. Cloud State. UND was 7-1-1 with Genoway in the lineup and are 0-3-0 in his absence (3 one-goal losses).
North Dakota is hungry for a victory and will not be denied. The only thing in question is the final score. If OSU can play at even strength, they will keep it close. If it’s a parade to the penalty box, it’ll go down as a rout. UND 4-1.
In the early game, Bemidji State will have the benefit of a partisan crowd, and will need to capitalize early. This one feels like a one-goal game either way, and I give the edge to the Beavers. BSU 3-2.