Hockey: Ohio Splits Series With Robert Morris-Illinois

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The No. 10 Ohio Bobcats (6-2) split their weekend series at No. 2 Robert Morris-Illinois (8-1) after winning a shutout, 3-0, on Friday and losing a shootout, 3-2, on Saturday.

The Bobcats went to Bensenville looking to get back on track after losing for the first time this season last weekend at West Virginia.

On Friday, Ohio managed to score a goal during each period with forwards Liam Geither, Patrick Spellacy and defender Reilly Moore scoring consecutively. Defender Paul Sergi and forward Joey Breslin were accredited assists for the goals.

Ohio won the shots on goal, 34-20.

Both teams proceeded to Saturday’s game with reckless abandon.

The game was a defensive struggle, as neither team scored a point until the third period of what was a much more physical affair. 

Robert Morris-Illinois scored the game’s first two goals within 60 seconds of each other five minutes into the third.

Not a half-minute later, the ‘Cats came storming back with two of their own to tie the game up at 2-2. Breslin scored first and Geither followed 15 seconds later, with assists given to Geither and forwards Tom Whetsel and Matthew Hartman.

After no scoring during overtime, RMU scored the shootout’s only goal, unassisted, handing the ‘Cats their second loss in three games.

RMU convincingly won the shots-on-goal battle, 41-23.

Goalie Aaron Alkema started both games and vaunted 58 total saves in what was arguably his most difficult defensive challenge to date.

That kind of performance to begin the season has translated into Alkema winning the Warrior Goalie of the Month honors for the month of September. Alkema had a .929 saving percentage during the month, and he proved himself again this weekend, giving up only two goals during regulation against arguably one of the nation’s premier offenses.

Meanwhile, despite a strong effort by the ‘Cats to start the season, head coach Sean Hogan knows his team still has work to do.

“We need to clean up our habits because we get a little sloppy, specifically when we get tired,” Hogan said. “We need to focus on playing the whole game with discipline.”

The Bobcats committed 10 penalties on Saturday, amounting to 28 penalty infraction minutes, and between their two losses, the ‘Cats had 46 total infraction minutes. 

The Bobcats next play Syracuse University at home this Friday at Bird Arena. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m.