Ohio Completes Comeback Win Over UM-Dearborn

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In what was arguably the most exciting game for Ohio hockey so far this season, the No. 2 Ohio Bobcats defeated the No. 11 University of Michigan-Dearborn by the final score of 3-2 in front of a wild, sold out crowd on Friday night.

With the score deadlocked at two goals apiece after 60 minutes of play, the two teams played five minutes of fast-paced, back and forth hockey, but neither side was able to score in the overtime period which meant the winner of this game would be decided in a shootout.

Ohio goaltender Jimmy Thomas saved the first shot by the Wolverines, which proved to be the difference maker as Ohio scored on all three of their shootout attempts, the last one coming from Bobcat forward Matt Rudin on a nifty move to win the game for the Bobcats.

“When I heard (assistant coach Nathan De La Torre) was making the choices for the shootout, I mean I had a feeling that I was going so I just thought about the move I was going to do and try my best and capitalize.” Rudin said.

Reminiscent of the opening period against Jamestown two weekends ago, Ohio got behind early in the first period as Dearborn’s Kevin Bechard raced down the ice and scored an unassisted goal just 38 seconds into the game.

“(The first goal) was such a weird goal,” Ohio coach Sean Hogan said. “It was a short-side goal that was high and it just found its way into the net and I was like ‘I hope it’s not that kind of night.’”

Ohio, which boasts one of the top power play units in the ACHA had two attempts at converting on the power play but were unsuccessful as the Wolverines penalty kill kept the Bobcats off the board.

Hogan, called a timeout midway through the first period as he appeared to be upset with the effort his team was displaying out on the ice.

“I got real frustrated today, this was the most frustrated I’ve been with the team all year, twice this year,” Hogan said. “Like Jamestown, it was the same kind of game where we weren’t getting to pucks, but tonight we found a way to win.”

The Bobcats had a few good looks at the net throughout the period but after the opening 20 minutes the score was 1-0 in favor of Dearborn.

In the first 10 minutes of the second period Ohio had three more chances to score on the power play but again were unable to convert on any of their man-advantage opportunities.

Ohio then took to the penalty kill as they were tasked with killing not one but two five-on-three scenarios and were successful at doing so. Both teams penalty kill units were on top of their game on this night as the two teams killed off a total of nine penalties through the first two periods without allowing a goal.

Going into the second intermission, Ohio still trailed 1-0 and would need to find some offense in the final period to avoid losing their second game at Bird Arena this season.

All of the penalties taken by Ohio caught up to them early in the third period when Dearborn’s Ryan Urso scored on the power play to put the Wolverines up 2-0 just 16 seconds into the final period.

Ohio’s offense struggled to push the puck past Wolverines goalie Thomas Proudlock, who made several key saves to preserve Dearborn’s two-goal lead.

Momentum suddenly swung in favor of Ohio when Rudin fired a shot from the left point into the back of the net to cut the Wolverine lead.

“I had just gotten off the bench and I saw the puck bounce off the wall and coach was preaching the whole game that if you’re in a specific area of the ice just to get pucks on net and I threw a soft wrist shot on net and it just went in,” Rudin said after the game.

Then, just 44 seconds later, the capacity crowd at Bird Arena erupted when freshman Gianni Evangelisti scored the Bobcats second goal of the night to tie the game.

Hogan was happy with the way his team fought back tonight after not registering a goal through the first 49 minutes of the games, “I knew if we got one (goal) we would have a chance to get a few and that’s what happened, we figured it out.”

Even though this was not the best game from his team this season, Hogan was impressed with the way his team fought back and won. “This was all the guys, the seniors, the captains, they figured out a way to win a hockey game and I’m really proud of them.”