Aside from the things we all know (the fact that their fans are animals and they're a bunch of inbreds down there), here are 10 things to know about Ohio State.
1) OSU hasn't been above .500 since 2004-05 when they lost to Michigan in the CCHA Championship Game and fell to Cornell in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Since then, they haven't won more than 15 games and were a horrible 12-25-4 last year (note: that's worse than what Michigan's record would have been if you removed every single goal that Porter, Kolarik and Pacioretty scored). This year, they're off to a 2-3-1 start (1-2-1-1 in their four CCHA games, and yes the new record format is annoying as hell).
2) They haven't gone about the 2-3-1 record the way you'd think. They split with Miami (though one of the wins was in a shootout, so it counts as a tie in the national standings and a shootout win (the "1" that's listed in the third and fourth column) in the CCHA standings) with each team winning their home game, split with LSSU at home, and then went on the road and split with the Denver Pioneers, who had been scoring goals like crazy. They showed some moxie in their win against Denver. They trailed 3-1 late in the second period before scoring three goals in the final 21 minutes to get a big W on the road.
3) It's kind of hard to figure out their goaltending situation. Joe Palmer has carried the load the past two seasons and he didn't put up overly horrible numbers (GAA right around 3, save percentage around 89, which isn't awful for a terrible team). He was a big-time recruit out of the NTDP (and I once ripped Holland for picking Daniel Larsson over him in the Draft; another in a long line of things I've been horribly wrong about). This season he's been yanked twice in his three starts, giving up 4 goals on 20 shots in each of them. He didn't even play against Denver. Sophomore Dustin Carlson has started two games, with a win (vs. LSSU) and a loss (against Denver, where he made 33 stops). He came in in relief for Palmer against LSSU and got himself yanked after giving up 2 goals on 6 shots. Freshman Cal Heeter then came in to mop up. He actually got their win against Denver, stopping 36 shots in his lone start of the season. So who will we see? Good question. Palmer won in Yost last year and Heeter is coming off a big win on the road last week. I say we see each of them.
4) Up front, senior Cory Elkins has led the way with 4-2--6 in 6 games. Peter Boyd, super freshman Zac Dalpe, and John Albert each have multiple goals thusfar.
5) They're a young team. Out of the ten players who have scored goals thusfar, just one is older than a sophomore. Just two of the 14 point getters are older than a sophomore. Boyd and Kyle Reed both had 10 goals as freshmen, the only returning Buckeyes who had double-digit goals last year. Boyd also led the team in game winners last year with four.
6) At the moment, OSU is in a tie for 20th in offense, with 3.00 goals per game. The power play matches their offensive rank, 20th, at 15.8%. They're 48th in defense, however, giving up a whopping 4.17 gpg. Strangely enough, their penalty killing matches their defensive rank, at just 74.4%. They've scored one shortie.
Sidenote: I have no idea how useful the "Combined special teams" stat actually is (I suspect not very), but Michigan is second-worst in the country at the moment, with a 38.1% success rate. Only Army is worse.
7) The Wolverines and Buckeyes have each played six games and they have the same exact number of PIMs, 121, good for 20.2 minutes per game.
8) The Wolverines lead the all-time series 61-28-11. The Buckeyes have earned splits their last two trips to Yost, however.
9) Tim Miller is our leading career scorer against OSU with 3-2--5 in six career games. Aaron Palushaj had three assists in our two meetings with the Buckeyes last year. Avert your eyes. Billy Sauer is 1-2-0 in his career against Ohio State, with a 4.65 goals against and an .835 save percentage. In his no decision, he gave up 5 goals on 26 shots before being lifted in favor of Noah Ruden just over a minute into the third period with the game 5-4 OSU. Michigan tied it up, Ruden then gave up a goal and took the loss. Bryan Hogan played the Saturday game against OSU last year and stopped a penalty shot en route to 26 saves and a win in his first career start.
10) Freshman defender Sean "Puff" Duddy hails from Ann Arbor. He played his junior hockey with the Wichita Falls Wildcats, whoever they are. Steven West (NTDP) and Corey Elkins (Sioux City) are also Michiganders. Erick Belanger is reppin' the Buckstache. It's a good one too.
That, my friends, is a solid Buckstache. And no, I wouldn't say that to his face. That's a big, scary-looking dude.
Tomorrow night's game will be shown on MGoBlue.com and I've been told that they will start archiving games. The tricky part, for me, is going to be getting to the archived video feed without seeing the score. Saturday night's game will air on Comcast 900 (or on the NHL Network if you're in Canada), with a reair on the Amercian NHL Network Sunday morning.