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In need of wins, Buckeyes welcome last-place Northern Michigan to Columbus

Paul Woo / Lantern Photographer

In search of their first series sweep, the Ohio State men’s hockey team (2-5-1) returns to Columbus to compete in a two-game series against the Northern Michigan Wildcats (2-4-1) this weekend.

Last season’s matchup between the two CCHA squads resulted in a split at Marquette, Mich. OSU lost the first contest, 3-1, but followed with a 2-0 victory in the following game.

The Buckeyes finished their four-game road trip over the past two weekends with a 1-2-1 record. OSU split a series at Lake Superior State and was only able to muster a tie in their second contest versus Notre Dame after a first-game loss.

At this point of their season last year, OSU had a similar record, at 3-4-1 in their first eight contests. After their slow start, OSU went on a run in which it posted a 14-2 record in its next 16 contests.

The Buckeyes will look to duplicate last season’s winning streak of last season when they host the Wildcats on Friday and Saturday at the Schottenstein Center.

Northern Michigan hasn’t won a contest in its past four games. The Bobcats are coming off of a series sweep by Miami and are looking to try to get back on track in Columbus.

Going into this weekend’s series, the Buckeyes are fifth in the CCHA standings with a 1-2-1 record. The Bobcats are sitting at the bottom of the heap with a 0-2-0 conference record.

The Bobcats’ 2008-2009 campaign ended with a 19-17-5 overall record and an 11-12-5 CCHA record. After shutting out the University of Michigan 2-0 in their first CCHA contest last season, Northern Michigan only posted one victory out of their next 15 contests. The lengthy losing streak prematurely doomed their 2008-2009 season.

Northern Michigan has a roster that it filled with experienced veterans that host hosts six seniors.

Some key returners this season are junior forwards Gregor Hanson and Mark Olver. Senior goaltender Brian Stewart will look to finish his collegiate hockey career on a strong note after posting a 2.32 average goals allowed per game last season.

Olver is currently tied in the league for lead in conference points with four and is tied for a league-high with three goals. OSU’s sophomore forward Zac Dalpe joins Olver on the top of this list with four points of his own.

The Buckeyes continued to use a different goalie in each contest in the series versus Notre Dame. Dustin Carlson started in game one and is still looking for his first victory from between the posts. Cal Heeter was able to hold the Fighting Irish to only two goals in the second game that ended in a tie.

OSU will likely compete by using their two-headed goalie system in their next upcoming series.

After the Northern Michigan series, OSU stays home to host Western Michigan next weekend.

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