Photo Credit: Jeffrey Zide – WOUB

Ohio Hockey Gets Second Half Underway

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School is officially back in session at Ohio University and with the beginning of the spring semester also means that the 3rd-ranked Ohio Bobcats will play in their first weekend series in over a month when they welcome the 16th-ranked Delaware Blue Hens to Bird Arena.

The Bobcats were originally scheduled to play last weekend against conference rival Lindenwood, but the weekend series was cancelled because the Lindenwood Ice Arena had a carbon monoxide leak.

“We got a call that said that we might be able to play and then a call later that said we would not play,” Ohio head coach Sean Hogan said. “So we turned the bus around and we made a six hour trip to basically go to Wendy’s and came back.”

Ohio has now gone through two full weeks of practice and by the way they have looked on the ice at times, Hogan can tell they are ready to go against another team.

“It was disappointing, the guys were ready to go. I thought we had a good week of practice last week, so now we are at the point that we’re just ready to play a game,” Hogan said. “The guys have gone through two weeks of practice and are itching to play and that is starting to show in practice.”

In any team sport it can get dull and repetitive having to go against the same guys in practice every day without playing any games. One way Hogan tries to loosen the guys up and keep practice interesting is to have some friendly competitions within the team.

This week is was a shootout drill amongst the team and the team had some fun with it such as firing multiple pucks at players to throw off their concentration and mess them up.

One of those culprits was senior Liam Geither, who laughed about it after practice and knew once he saw team captain Matt Hartman fire a puck his way to distract him, the whole team would follow suit.

“It’s fun to do things like that because it builds team camaraderie and everyone is out there joking around with each other and we are just having a good time.” Geither said. “However everyone tried to tell me I didn’t score on one of my shots so that fired Hartman up and once he started firing pucks then the whole team joined in, it’s kind of like if he jumps off of a cliff would everyone else? I guess they would.”

Ohio is also dealing with quite a few injuries to their team. A total of six players are currently out due to either being sick or injured and while that is not an ideal situation for the Bobcats, Geither is confident in the guys who will step in to bigger roles now.

“I think that having a lot of depth is a big thing, we are able to just slide in the next guy,” Geither said. “It’s kind of like New England Patriots mentality of next man up. It sucks not having some guys but at the same time we know the next guy up will do his job.”

After watching film on Delaware this week, Hogan knows exactly what to expect from them.

“They are super physical, they are huge and they have only lost four games this year so they are really good,” Hogan said. “It’s going to be a battle, they are ranked 16th, partially because their schedule isn’t as difficult as ours, but they are good.”

This weekend will definitely be a test for the Bobcats, especially being six men down, but just because the lines may look different, that will not change how the team approaches this series against Delaware.

“It’s going to be a challenge with a lot of injuries and everything and they are a physical team so there’s always the aspect of someone could get hurt out there,” Geither said. “So it will really show our toughness this weekend and how deep we are as a team.”

Both games start at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.