Ohio Takes First Game Against Lindenwood

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After a week away from the rink for the Thanksgiving holiday, the No. 2 Bobcats (15-3-1) returned to the ice and were able to take care of the defending ACHA national champions, the No. 12 Lindenwood Lions, 5-1 on Friday night at Bird Arena.

Right from the drop of the puck Ohio and Lindenwood both played with high intensity as these two conference foes looked to gain the early edge. Both teams remained scoreless through the first 12 minutes  until senior captain Matt Hartman scored his eighth goal of the season to put Ohio up 1-0.

Ohio’s offensive attack was not done, as just 70 seconds later senior defenseman Reilly Moore scored an unassisted goal to put the Bobcats up 2-0. For Ohio head coach Sean Hogan, this quick 2-0 lead was a welcomed sight.

At the first intermission Ohio held a two-goal lead over Lindenwood and would look to build off of a successful first period.

“I thought our first period was the best period of the night,” Hogan said. “The second and third period weren’t great but to beat Lindenwood 5-1 is a good thing for us. For the most part we played well but there always things to work on.”

Ohio was able to build onto their lead early in the second period as freshman Garrett Jenkins netted his third goal of the season to put the Bobcats up 3-0.

Coming into then weekend an area Ohio wanted to exploit was the less-than-average Lindenwood power play and they were able to do just that tonight as the Lions went 0-4 on their power play chances.

“We kind of knew that if we could keep them to the outside we would be okay,” Hogan said. “During the second period I don’t know if we did a good job or they just missed a few opens shots on goal but overall the penalty kill unit was good.”

Throughout much of the second period Ohio’s bench was visibly upset by several no-calls on their team. Despite the calls not going the Bobcats way, everything else was going their way as they held a 3-0 lead going into the final period of play.

“You can’t let the calls get to you or let the refs get in your head,” sophomore Tommy Pokorney said after the game. “Because then if that happens you are off your game and you’re yelling at the ref when you should be focusing on the game.”

Fast starts to periods are something Ohio wants to have as often as possible and they were able to get another fast start in the third period when Matt Rudin took a rebound and slid it past the Lindenwood goaltender to give Ohio a 4-0 lead.

Less than a minute later Lindenwood recorded their first goal of the game on an unassisted goal from the Lions, still Ohio led comfortably 4-1.

Ohio, who works tirelessly on their special teams play every week in practice, had a golden opportunity midway through the third period when Lindenwood had two men in the penalty box. Although there were several opportunities at scoring the Bobcats were ultimately unsuccessful at converting on their two-man advantage.

Pokorney added the Bobcats fifth goal of the game when the puck bounced up in the air and hit Pokorney in the head, from there the puck fell to his feet and guided the puck past the goalie for his third goal of the season.

“The puck hit my head and I knew it was going to bounce right in front of me so I just kept skating then made one quick move and the puck ended up going in,” Pokorney said with a chuckle. “I don’t know how I did it but they don’t ask how you scored, all that matters is the puck went in.”

A wire-to-wire victory is just what Hogan and his team were looking for after the extended Thanksgiving holiday, but he knows that Ohio must come out with the same energy and intensity Saturday night if they want to sweep Lindenwood.

“I told the guys tonight that we haven’t swept a CSCHL team yet so we have to come out and find a way to win tomorrow night,” Hogan said. “First place is up for grabs in the league as well as the number one ranking potentially so we have a lot to play for.”