Ohio Pummels Rutgers, 8-1

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The Friday before Finals weekend was one of torrential downpour, and fittingly, eight different Bobcats poured goals in Ohio’s 8-1 victory over Rutgers.

With the win, the No. 5 ‘Cats (17-2-2) remain undefeated at 13-0 at Bird Arena.

Forward Michael Harris scored the game’s first goal 7:41 into the first period. The goal was his fifteenth of the season and brought him to the quarter-century mark with 25 points.

“I’d like to thank Spelly and Bres (fellow forwards Patrick Spellacy and Joey Breslin) for finding me all year,” Harris said, acknowledging his teammates’ contribution to his success this season. “They’ve been outmuscling teams all year, and that’s given me opportunities to score…I couldn’t have done it without them.”

The second period had a heavy dose of goals and penalties for both teams.

Forward Tom Whetsel set off a three-goal attack 3:08 into the period. Forward Drew Crandall and defender Mike Kretz followed with the next two goals, respectively, within a time span of 27 seconds, raising the lead to 3-0.

Penalties and skirmishes arose between both sides as frustration was beginning to mount for the Scarlet Knights, who barely managed to undrape themselves off the acrylic sheeted walls Ohio players were slamming them into in a dogfight for the puck.

The altercations aren’t anything new to Ohio as its aggressive team play has exacerbated teams like Pittsburgh, Delaware and Mercyhurst, all of whom Ohio subordinated by six or more points earlier this season.

Players feel the backlash whenever opponents give it, and they understand it comes with their style of play.

“It intensifies the game a bit,” forward Matthew Hartman said. “We don’t want to play down to [the level of teams we are beating] with penalties and stuff, but it fires us up and adds emotion to the game.”  

The Scarlet Knights managed to score their only goal 12:31 into the period narrowing the score to 4-1.

Forward Liam Geither scored his sixth goal of the season 2:45 in bumping Ohio’s lead to four goals again, and the game took its toll on the Rutgers midway through the third period as fights nearly broke out on multiple occasions.

Hartman, Spellacy, and Forward Matt Wiper capped the frenzy with goals of their own, finalizing the game at 8-1.

Ohio convincingly won the shots on goal, 35-17.

Aaron Alkema started at goalie for the ‘Cats, recording 16 saves. It was his eighth win of the season.

Despite all of the skirmishes, Ohio incurred just 10 minutes in the penalty box for the game, and despite any talk about a slow start or any sloppy play, head coach Sean Hogan felt great about how his team played tonight.

“We started out slow, but as the game went on we got better," Hogan said. “The first 20 minutes showed how much time we gave the guys over the [Thanksgiving] break. They needed a break away from the rink because they spend so much time away from home and other things. There’s more to college than just hockey.”

Ohio plays Rutgers again Saturday night at Bird Arena. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m.