No. 1 Ranked Bobcats Travel for Series at Iowa State

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After a successful weekend at home against the University of Michigan-Dearborn, the newly-ranked No. 1 Ohio Bobcats get set to hit the road and take on conference foe No. 8 Iowa State.

A key for the Bobcats according to head coach Sean Hogan will be for the team to come out with high energy and intensity and make their impact felt early. Hogan said that he has stressed the importance of high energy in practices over recent weeks and hopes that high energy and intensity will carry over from practice and into their games.

“We are at our best when we have high energy,” Hogan said. “Are loss and our shootout loss are both games where we didn’t have high energy and if we do (have high energy) nobody can beat us, we just have to make sure that we don’t beat ourselves by not being ready to go from the drop of the puck.”

In a few of Ohio’s games so far this season, the Bobcats have been unable to get off to a fast start and have fallen behind a goal or two, which is not ideal for Hogan. He stated that in addition to talking to the team about high energy and intensity he also has been stressing the importance of getting off to fast starts.

“We have to keep emphasizing the importance of having fast starts,” Hogan said. “Sometimes when you have success like we’ve been having you don’t come out with the same fire because you feel like success is something that is just going to happen and we forget that we have to earn it. We are only successful when we work hard.”

When two teams such as Ohio and Iowa State meet up, there really are no big secrets or surprises between the two. They both are familiar with one another and have a good idea what the other team is going to do from the drop of the puck.

However, if there is one area that will decide the outcome this weekend, Hogan believes it will be the special teams that determine if Ohio can come away with two victories.

“We are really identical in what we do, us and Iowa State, so it will be power play and penalty kill,” Hogan said. “Who can capitalize on the power play and we’ve done a pretty good job on the penalty kill against them. It’s going to be a special teams game so we have stay out of the box and when we get opportunities we capitalize on them.”

Sophomore forward Matt Rudin echoed coach Hogan’s words about the importance of special teams this weekend and added, “If we just play our game and outwork, out will and out-compete we will come out with a win.”

Rudin is the Bobcats top goal scorer on the team currently and he knows it is his job to get open and when he gets the puck to shoot it, which he has no problem doing, “I just like shooting the puck,” Rudin said. “So as the opportunities come for getting a shot, I always shoot.”

Hogan has been pleased with the play of Rudin so far this season and always trusts him with the puck knowing he will usually make the correct decision.

“He shoots the puck really well and capitalizes on his chances and he’s just a smart player,” Hogan said. “Ninety-nine percent of the time he makes the right play with the puck, so for us he’s a great player and that’s why we brought him in last year.”

Conference games are always tough but for the Bobcats team as a whole, the mission statement from day one this season has been to outwork, out will and out-compete each opponent they face. With Ohio off to a 12-1-1 start and ranked first the ACHA, they seem to be sticking to their mission statement and reaping the benefits of their hard work thus far.

“When we get sidetracked or don’t play our game it shows because it’s a close game but when show up and play our game everyone can see we are a dominant team,” Rudin said. “We just have to stick with our game plan and we will remain on top.”

Puck drop for both games is at 7:30 p.m.