Hockey: Ohio Surges Past Canisius, 5-0

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A simple message between periods from Ohio head coach Jonathan Sheridan inspired an explosion of scoring midway through the second period that catapulted the Bobcats to a convincing 5-0 victory over Canisius at Bird Arena on Friday night.

Ohio scored three goals in a span of 70 seconds during the second period to extend its lead on the Griffins from 1-0 to 4-0. The Bobcats’ offensive outburst may have ended their opponent’s night early, but Sheridan was not pleased with how long it took his team to reach that level of intensity.

“I don’t know what it was, but we came out really slow today,” Sheridan said. “But after that, we brought it back in the locker room, I said, ‘You guys have to figure this out. We’re a better team than this.’ Then we turned it around in the second.”

The rapid-fire flurry of goals came courtesy of Nick Hudeck, Brett Agnew and David Ramos, and all three took place in the battle areas within three feet of Canisius’ crease.

After Ramos’ tally at 7:52 in the second period, the Griffins made a goaltending change, pulling starter Marc Mallare in favor of Dennis Schwandt. Mallare made 20 saves on 24 shots before getting the hook from head coach Steve Hurtubise. Schwandt then recorded 19 saves on twenty shots in relief.

Ohio did not have such woes between the pipes, as Ryan Heltion made 28 saves en route to his second shutout of the year. Heltion’s performance on Friday followed three straight wins from Ohio goalie Aaron Alkema, and lowered the team’s goals against average over that time to just 1.00.

“They’re making me look good,” Sheridan said of his goalies. “Alkema looked a little tired at the end of last week, and it was time to put in Heltion today, and he always works hard and helped us win.”

Defenseman Mike Kretz opened the scoring at 13:42 of the first period when he knocked in a rebound opportunity set up by Joe Breslin and Agnew. The goal was Kretz’s third goal in as many games and Agnew’s assist on the play became his first of a three-point night.

Garrett Williams was the only Bobcat to beat Schwandt when he buried the puck at 14:33 of the third period to give Ohio its fifth goal of the game.

Despite the shutout, Sheridan is still looking for more from his team when they face-off against the Griffons for the second time in a row on Saturday at Bird Arena.

 “We got away from our systems play for a little bit,” Sheridan said. “Some of our guys tend to think they can do it all by themselves, become a little bit selfish, because they might think we’re not playing a very strong team… I just think we need a little bit more focus going into the game.”

The Bobcats’ second game of their weekend series with the Griffins is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.