After beating the Indiana Hoosiers last week, the Ohio hockey team (13-2-1) looked to continue their win streak, as they hosted the Illinois Fighting Illini (11-4-2) Friday night. Bobcats fought hard, but in the end came up short, losing 3-2 in a tight overtime game.
In the first period Illinois took little time to score getting their first goal on just the third shot of the game from the Illini captain Austin Bostock with 16:09 left in the first. The period ended with that being the only goal, each team ending the period with ten shots on goal apiece. The period was rough for the Bobcats due to the intense defense from Illinois, forcing a lot of bad passes for Ohio. Both teams played physical, yet the penalty remained vacant.
That physicality continued into the second period with Diego Breckenridge getting a two minute penalty for boarding with 19:16 left in the period. Ohio weathered the storm and forced Bostock into the penalty the box, this time for tripping with 15:55 left. Illini got through the penalty but picked up another shortly after this time from Mario Pacheco for hooking. The Bobcats didn't let another opportunity to score slip away, as Brett Agnew got the tying goal on an assist from Tyler Benson with 12:23 left in the second. This goal came just seven seconds into the power play for the Bobcats. The Ohio defense also showed up, as they held Illinois to only four shots on goal in the period.
The third period went went differently for Ohio, though. The Illini received a goal from J.T. Turner off the assist from Mario Pacheco with 12:50 left in the game. The early shots in the period led to the goal and kept the Illini tough. Both teams fought hard for the rest of the period with Ohio staying strong on offense and the Illini defense clearing the puck shot after shot from the Bobcats. Late in the game, Ohio tied the game off a slap shot from Jonathon Gulch with 25 seconds left in the game. The goal was assisted by Nick Rostek and captain Tyler Pilmore. Ohio got this goal just in time as they went into overtime with a 2-2 tie. In overtime, Illinois didn't take long to win it, getting the game winner on their first shot just 33 seconds into overtime.
The two teams will face off again Saturday in the Bird, looking to split the weekend series.