Ohio Loses a Close One to Illinois

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The Ohio Bobcats got the dog fight they expected after stomping the Illinois Fighting Illini the night before and fell 1-0 in a gritty, hard fought battle Saturday night.

For the Illini, it was all about goalie Joe Olen as he stopped all 46 shots against, 26 of which were taken in the third period. The Bobcats were constantly in Illinois territory, but were unable push one passed Olen. He was focused all night and was able to frustrate the Ohio offense as many Bobcats could be visibly seen getting flustered.

Ohio held Illinois out of their territory almost all night until defenseman Mark Candotti slapped one past Ryan Heltion with about two minutes left to go in the third period. Candotti was able to break away with the puck into Bobcat territory just long enough to squeeze one past Heltion to break the 0-0 tie. The Bobcats pulled the goalie to get a sixth man on the ice, but Olen held down the fort to secure a victory.

Heltion had a relatively boring night as he only got 13 shots taken on him, even though Illinois had more power play minutes and were not able to capitalize on any of them. Ohio was 0-3 on power plays while Illinois wasn’t any better with zero for four.

Early on, the Bobcats had the control and the momentum in the game. It seemed inevitable that Gianni Evangelisti or Tyler Harkins would get one it, but it never happened. At one point, they had quadruple the shots that the Fighting Illini. However, penalties hurt them in the second and third period and stalled any kind of opportunities they had to put one up on the board. Defensemen Alex Vasquez and Reilly Moore were responsible for eight of the Bobcats 14 penalty minutes.

The No. 2 Bobcats fall to 14-3-1 as the 17 ranked Fighting Illini improve to 10-5-3. The Bobcats will enjoy Thanksgiving break before taking on Lindenwood at home on December 2nd.