Ohio Hockey Recovers For Lindenwood< < Back to
After a full week off of the ice to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, the 2nd-ranked Ohio Bobcats return to action this weekend to face the defending ACHA National Champions, 12th-ranked Lindenwood.
With the hockey season here at Ohio being longer than any other sport on campus, head coach Sean Hogan knows the importance of getting rest whenever you can to be able to withstand such a lengthy season. “Our season is so long that you need time to get away from the rink and recharge for a little bit, which I told the guys to do.” Hogan said.
Although it is nice for the team to have down time away from the ice, one of the downsides to an extended period of time off the ice is that the first couple days of practice back sometimes can be tough, as senior forward Joey Breslin put it.
“The first couple days of practice were rough just because most guys don’t step onto the ice at all over break,” Breslin said. “So we just needed to get out on the ice and do some conditioning drills to get us back up to game speed, which showed because the last couple days of practice have been really good.”
The matchup of Lindenwood and Ohio have offered up some exciting and intense hockey games over the last few seasons and Hogan knows in order to win against a conference rival such as Lindenwood, the energy is going to have to be there from the opening faceoff.
“For us it’s all about how we start,” Hogan said “The last two games against Illinois we started well but before that against Iowa State we weren’t able to do that so we have to keep telling the guys to be ready to go from the drop of the puck.”
Ohio is in the midst of a string of 10 consecutive conference games, which offers quite the challenge to the team according to Hogan who knows just how tough it can be to win games in the CSCHL.
“We are 14-3-1 overall but 3-2-1 in our league so far so that shows you just how tough our league is,” Hogan said. “Lindenwood is a good team and we are going to have to match their intensity this weekend because they are coming off two losses and don’t want to lose three or four games in a row.”
Even though Lindenwood is the defending ACHA national champion, Hogan said he did not speak about that too much to the team during practice this week, but he knows all the guys in the locker room are well aware of that fact.
Breslin backed up Hogan’s point by saying, “Having the defending national champions coming here to play gives me and all the guys in the locker room a lot of extra energy because we want to be at the top so if we can beat them it will be a huge step in the right direction going forward.”
One weakness the Bobcats will look to exploit against Lindenwood is their less than effective power play unit, which is something Hogan hopes will happen this weekend.
“There power play has struggled this season, they are only at about 16 percent for the season,” Hogan said. “We want to stay out of the box for sure, but if we are then we want to be able to take advantage of our strong penalty kill and make sure they don’t get any opportunities.”
The team only has two weekend series at home remaining in this calendar year before the extended time off for winter break. While players are definitely looking forward to some time off for the holiday season, they know the importance of finishing off these final four games strong.
“These last two weeks are crucial,” Breslin said. “It will make the holiday break that much sweeter if we are able to come away with four victories these next two weekends and go into the break on a high point.”