Liberty Torches Ohio 7-6

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Things were heating up in Bird Arena Friday night, as the Liberty Flames burned the Bobcats in a hard-hitting, high-scoring game. Ohio fell to Liberty 7-6, dropping the team’s overall record to 2-1-1.

Both squads recorded over 20 hits each and combined for 30:00 in penalty minutes in what Ohio head coach Jonathon Sheridan considered their most physical matchup of the season.

“[Liberty] was absolutely the most physical team we played all year,” Sheridan said. “They like to come out and mix it up a little bit. We knew that coming in. I thought the guys handled it well, but obviously there are still some things we need to clean up.”

One of the areas Sheridan said he would like to see improve is the team’s defense. The Flames ended up with 29 shots on goal, the most the Bobcats have allowed all season, and breakdowns in coverage were what Sheridan felt were responsible for the seven goals against.

“I don’t know if it was just on our defensemen … It was our team defense, our guys covering guys out in our d-zone,” Sheridan said. “It was [Ohio] guys not back-checking the right players. We had some mix-ups there that cost us dearly.”

There was no shortage of offense in the game, though. In the second period, the two teams combined for seven goals in just 10:02 of game time. Four more goals were scored in the third period, including the game winner, which came for Liberty just 1:05 after Ohio tied the game 6-6.

Freshman Joe Breslin had a goal and two assists, giving him a team-high 10 points on the season. Breslin’s linemates, freshman Patrick Spellacy and senior Brett Agnew, each had a goal of their own.

Freshman Matt Hartman was one of only eight skaters for Ohio who did not record a point on Friday, but his performance still earned him the praise of the Bobcats’ bench boss.

“Matty did great for us. I think he was the best player on the ice for us, tonight,” Sheridan said. “He was doing everything out there.”

“Everything” for Hartman included four blocked shots and several hits, but he is still looking for his first point in an Ohio uniform.

The Bobcats will attempt to bounce-back from the loss on Saturday, as the two teams will square off again at Bird Arena at 7:30 p.m.