There's a ton of Buckeye hockey news to get to today. This week was apparently Recruit-a-Palooza. OSU announced five NLI signings, including a remedy for their lack of goaltending depth. They also added two new verbal commitments.
The women's team picked up a couple of verbals too. Read on for details on all the recruiting news, plus the ladies face their toughest test of the season, Ohio State and Big Ten representatives take the ice for various Teams USA, and John Albert makes a big splash in his NHL debut.
More hockey Bucks after the jump.
It looks like OSU fans will be getting a goalie for Christmas (or a random December day for the non-celebrators). Christian Frey will join the team in couple weeks. He comes to the Buckeyes from the USHL's Dubuque Fighting Saints where he's helped to backstop the Saints to a tie for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. He and Hayden Stewart have collectively allowed the second-fewest total goals in the league (45 in 20 games). Frey boasts a 9-3-0-2 record with a 2.08 GAA and .918 SV%, stats that put him among the top netminders this season. In 50 USHL games with Des Moines, Tri-City, and Dubuque Frey has a career GAA of 2.78 and a .903 SV%. Despite his name's similarity to that of a certain, erm, adult fiction character the correct pronunciation is Christian "Fry." Here he is during his Tri-City days, chatting about all things musical:
In other Buckeye men's hockey news this week...
- Aside from Wisconsin dropping from No. 12/13 to No. 17 there wasn't much change for the Big Ten in this week's rankings. Minnesota is still No. 1, Michigan is No. 3, and Ohio State is still receiving votes in the USCHO poll.
- No-Shave November has wound down to its inevitably skeevy conclusion. You can check out the evolution and final results of the Buckeyes' Movember growth here. It looks like we might have finally found something at which Ryan Dzingel is less than awesome. It also looks like Nick Oddo might be on his way to rescue Princess Toadstool, and Clark Cristofoli can see into your soul.
- Somehow I missed linking this on Monday, but following last Friday's conference opener Kyle Rowland wrote about the Big Ten, BTN, and the advantages they'll give Ohio State's future recruiting efforts.
- Also missed earlier this week: Eric Albrecht photographed Monday's game for The Dispatch. You can see those photos here, including a kind of terrifying shot of that unfortunate kid who took an errant puck to the head.
- Ohio State, Penn State, and Wisconsin all suffered one-goal losses last week. Paula Weston writes about how the teams can turn those losses into motivation and also wraps up the first week of Big Ten hockey for USCHO here.
- Jeff Svoboda reminisced about his days in what used to pass for a student section at the hockey games, then talked about the development and continued improvement of the Knucklebucks.
- And if you're thinking "Darn it all to heck. I'm not a student so I can't be a Knucklebuck," don't worry! You can join the ranks of the Scarlet Liners on Facebook. It's a brand new thing so the group is still finding its legs a bit, but it is growing and I expect it will really take off in the next season or so. Get involved now so you don't miss out on any of the fun.
- Nate Wells shared his thoughts from the first weekend of B1G hockey at CHN. With four teams in action and only three things to highlight one team had to get the short end of the stick, which is why this link is down here in the "other Big Ten news" section. Meanwhile, over at SBN College Hockey, he revisited the broadcasting train wreck that was ESPNU's coverage of the Wisconsin-Minnesota game.
- Speaking of train wrecks and Wisconsin-Minnesota: Mike Eaves would be glad to talk about the series' officiating as long as you have $1,000 to lend him.
- Speaking of Minnesota: The Gophers were named CHN's Team of the Week. They also announced NLIs from five players, including very highly regarded Swedish forward Leon Bristedt.
- Team USA released its preliminary roster for the World Juniors. Six Big Ten players made the list: Michigan's JT Compher, Tyler Motte, and Andrew Copp; Minnesota's Hudson Fasching and Brady Skjei; and Wisconsin's Nic Kerdiles. Final cuts will be made by December 23rd and the team will begin their quest for gold the day after Christmas. You can watch the games on NHL Network and follow the team online via USA Hockey. Chris Peters' United States of Hockey blog is also an excellent source for information and analysis.
- The ladies have one more series before the winter break and it's a big one. No. 1 Minnesota comes to Columbus for a pair of games. The first is set for 6pm on Saturday and the back half is on Sunday at noon. You can check out Ohio State's official preview here, but be sure to visit their Facebook page as well for information about the week's promotional goodies. Nate Handrahan gives his keys to the series in his weekly pre-series interview.
- Handrahan has become somewhat known for utilizing technology to enhance his coaching methods. Gabriella Fundaro of The Hockey Writers took an in-depth look at his latest piece of skill-enhancing gadgetry, the Hockey IntelliGym.
- Lisa Steffes was dubbed the WCHA's defensive player of the week and Ohio State Athletics' player of the week for her efforts in helping the Buckeyes to a sweep of New Hampshire. (Slightly random side note: Following last week's series, UNH coach Brian McCloskey was fired for "inappropriate physical contact.")
- Candace Horgan and Arlan Marttila touched on the Buckeyes snapping their oh-for streak last weekend during their weekly women's hockey discussion at USCHO.
- Cara Zubko and Melanie Moylan demonstrate the word of the week, “chirping.”
Steve Rohlik announced yesterday that Ohio State has had five players sign National Letters of Intent. Christian Frey as I've already mentioned, should arrive in a couple weeks. The other four, Nick Jones, Jannik Moser, Luke Stork, and Matt Weis, are scheduled to join the Buckeyes for the 2014-15 season. Moser, Stork, and Weis have been verbally committed to OSU for some time. Jones threw his lot in with the Bucks in the last couple months. We'll talk about all the recruits in greater depth next week. (Gotta fill these winter break weeks with something, right?)
Though they may not carry quite as much weight as an NLI, verbal commitments are still a big deal as most of the them (barring, you know, sudden coaching changes) end up playing for the teams to which they verbally commit. Two new players stated their intention to play at Ohio State this week, Kevin Miller and Tanner Laczynski. Miller is currently skating for the AJHL's Fort McMurray Oil Barons. He's "pretty excited" about joining the Buckeyes. (And either the author's got the wrong Cory Schneider or I've seriously missed the boat on some NHL transactions.) Laczynski plays within Andy Johnson's territory and courtesy of his Central District tryout notes we have this snippet of scouting that appeared on Bucky's 5th Quarter last May:
Tanner Laczynski-F-(Chicago Mission 97): Might have the best hands out of anyone in this class. Was up and down at times but showed flashes of brilliance. A goal scorer.
- If that link looks familiar it's probably because you were visiting it a few months back to read up on Sam McCormick. Speaking of McCormick the Younger, he netted a goal to help Notre Dame Academy win the Eau Claire Memorial Thanksgiving Tournament.
- The current Buckeye squad might not have managed a win against Michigan but one future Buckeye, Dylan Pavelek, beat the Wolverines this week. Pavelek scored once in the USNTDP's comeback 5-4 overtime victory at Yost. (Also of note: Former Buckeye Collin Olson stopped 17 of 21 shots and former Buckeye commit Jack Daugherty had an assist.)
- The ladies have picked up two verbal commitments so far this season, the versatile Julianna Iafallo and defenseman Dani Sadek.
- Mark Staffieri wrote about two of the first ladies of Buckeye hockey this week. He praised the grace and strength of character with which Tessa Bonhomme has handled her dismissal from Team Canada in this post. Then he wrote about how Laura McIntosh has been a difference-maker for Brampton here.
- Justin A. Rice caught up with Lisa Chesson and Team USA as they continue to prepare for the 2014 Olympics and get ready for another series of games against Team Canada.
- CJ Severyn: Winner, winner...turkey dinner?
- Ryan Kesler is on fire and has scored four goals in the Canucks' last two games. Cam Tucker talked about some of the questions surrounding Kesler's season and his recent scoring spree here.
- The Capitals have sent Tyson Strachan back to Hershey for the time being, but at least got the chance to punch Chris Neil in the face before he went.
- You've heard that good things come in threes? That was certainly the case for Dave Steckel last week. His faceoff prowess was featured in this article by Jim Hodges. He made the AHL's plays of the week highlight video (around 1:50, I think). Then, to cap things off, he was recalled by the Anaheim Ducks yesterday.
- Matt Kalman wrote about Matt Bartkowski's determination to improve his game and win a regular spot in the Bruins' lineup. He must be doing something right. Here are the guys from NESN praising his decision-making skills. Off the ice, Bartkowski and trusty sidekick Reilly Smith visited the Melrose-Wakefield Newborn Service Unit.
- The star of the week, though, had to be John Albert. He was called up by the Winnipeg Jets and scored this beauty in his NHL debut vs. the NY Rangers. (Check out his postgame comments here.)