Ohio Hockey Returns Veteran Group for 2016-17

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The Ohio Bobcats D-1 hockey team will begin their 59th season on Friday, Sep. 23 when they take on the John Carroll Blue Streaks at Bird Arena.

After a disappointing end to the 2015-16 season that saw the Bobcats eliminated in the first round of the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) National Tournament, Ohio will look to have a strong 2016-17 season under third-year head coach Sean Hogan.

This year’s roster will feature 28 players. Nineteen players will return from last year’s team and nine new freshman have been added. Ten seniors highlight the roster, including last season’s leading point scorer, Joe Breslin.

The captain of the team this year is senior forward Matt Hartman and the two assistant captains are senior Patrick Spellacy and junior Jake Faiella. “The captains jobs are to make sure that they are showing the right way to do things and leading be example every day,” Hogan said

With there being such a large number of seniors on the team, Hogan thinks their presence and leadership will be beneficial to the new players coming in, “We want our seniors to know and teach the freshman what it means to be a Bobcat hockey player and what it means to be apart of Ohio hockey.”

Ohio’s schedule features 36 regular season games, 24 of them will be played at Bird Arena, where the Bobcats have a combined 38-8 record over the past two seasons.

“Obviously Bird Arena is a special place to play,” Hogan said. “ The fans are right on top of you, especially during sibs weekend and parents weekend where the place is just a madhouse and it’s just a fun atmosphere to be in.”

The first edition of the ACHA Top 25 was released this week and has the Bobcats and the Oklahoma Sooners tied for the 7th spot since they received the same number of votes in the poll. Conference foe and defending national champion Lindenwood received the top spot in the poll to begin the season.

Hogan, however, does not read too much into the preseason rankings saying, “For us the preseason rankings are just that, preseason. To us the most important one is the end of the season rankings.”

As of now the Bobcats are scheduled to play 28 games against teams currently ranked in the Top 25, including four matchups against Lindenwood, two of them taking place at Bird Arena in early December.

Hogan knows to take the season weekend by weekend but cannot help but look ahead to that pivotal matchup against Lindenwood, “Our focus right now is on the first weekend, that’s where our focus needs to be at but I would be lying if we are not even thinking about the defending national champions, you are always thinking about who the champion is and we are looking forward to that.”

As for goals, Hogan says he preaches one thing to his team on a constant basis. “We want to be the most cohesive team in the nation and focus on getting better every single day.”