Updated Thu, Sep 19, 2013 11:02 am
For the second year in a row, the Ohio club hockey team will begin its season against the John Carroll Blue Streaks. Last season, the Bobcats won both games of the weekend series with combined score of 14-4. Once again, on paper, this two-game series seems like a mismatch in favor of the Bobcats, but the game isn’t played on paper.
Primarily made up of high school and Tier III Junior A recruits, the Blue Streaks are far from the most talented team in the American Collegiate Hockey Association. What they are, though, is relentless. Full of passion and strong on the forecheck, the Blue Streaks have a knack for giving teams who underestimate them a scare. For example, after losing 9-1 to Ohio in their season opener last year, they bounced back to only fall 5-3 with a late empty-net goal against. Later in November, they lost only 2-0 (with another empty-net tally) to the then-No. 4 Robert Morris Eagles.
Dan Potter is the Blue Streaks’ greatest offensive weapon, and it seems the entire team’s greatest scoring opportunities are generated by him in some way. Potter scored twice against Ohio last year, and led his team in points at the end of the year with 56. If the Bobcats can contain Potter, there’s a good chance the rest of John Carroll’s scoring will be crippled as a result.
Another player the Bobcats will want to look out for is Michael Segerdahl. Segerdahl is looking to solidify a regular spot in the lineup in his junior year, and his feisty playing style may bait Ohio into taking retaliatory penalties. With their penalty kill and goaltending situation still in a state of uncertainty, the last place the Bobcats want to find themselves is the penalty box.
Speaking of Ohio’s goaltending situation, head coach Jonathon Sheridan was not willing to divulge his game plan in net, but one would have to think Aaron Alkema would get at least one of the starts this weekend. The season’s first series offers Alkema the perfect opportunity to settle in and for the coaching to staff to get an early feel for what he brings to the table. Sheridan has made it clear that the No. 1 job is an open competition between Alkema, Ian Smith, and newcomers Scott Boyd and Ryan Heltion, but with his size and experience from last season, Alkema is the early favorite to snag the starting position.
If Ohio can stay out of the penalty box, be quick on the backcheck, and avoid the costly mistake of taking the Blue Streaks too lightly, its talent should ultimately be too much for the opposition. The series begins Friday night and ends on Saturday. Both games against John Carroll begin are scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. at Bird Arena.