Ohio Takes Close Game Over Delaware

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In their first series of 2017 the No. 3 Ohio Bobcats won a physical 1-0 hockey game against the No. 15 Delaware Blue Hens at Bird Arena on Friday night.

Ohio was expecting a physical game from Delaware and from the drop of the puck that is exactly what took place. Both teams traded hits in the opening few minutes and it was obvious that the physicality level would be high in this game.

“In a physical game like this you just try to stick to your game, get the puck deep and take a hit to make the play,” senior Liam Geither said after the game. “You can’t shy away from (the physical play) they are going to come out physical so we have make sure that we match their intensity.”

The game was scoreless through two periods but Ohio finally broke through and notched the first goal of the game when Geither scored his fifth goal of the season. The Geither goal put the Bobcats up 1-0 with just under seven minutes remaining in the game and got the crowd at Bird Arena back into the game.

“Rudin got the puck out to the point and I just tried to find some open ice and get my stick in the lane,” Geither said. “Fortunately for me Reilly kept (the puck) low enough for me to get a stick on it and lucky for me it just bounced through the five hole.”

Ohio coach Sean Hogan let the team know that Delaware was going to come out physical and as a result Ohio appeared to be ready for the physicality and even dished out some hard hits of their own in the early going.

Both sides saw time on the power play during the first period, but neither side was able to take advantage of any man-advantage opportunities in the opening 20 minutes.

Bobcats senior forward Joey Breslin was given a game misconduct penalty late in the first period after he was whistled for a spearing penalty. The Bobcats, who were already down a handful of players this weekend due to illness and injury, would be down one more impact player for the remainder of the game.

Each team had their chances in the first period but after 20 minutes of hard-hitting play, the score was tied 0-0.

Ohio had a golden opportunity to get the first goal of the game with a two-man advantage midway through the period, but that chance did not last long as Ohio was whistled for a penalty shortly after gaining the two-man advantage.

Coach Hogan called a timeout with just over five minutes left to play in the period to talk to the team and come up with a strategy for their upcoming power play.

While the Bobcats had their chances to score they still were unable to break the scoreless draw.

“We were looking for seam passes instead of getting pucks through on net and we were looking for dipsy-doo passes instead of just getting to our forehand and shooting,” Hogan said. “It was an ugly hockey game but we found a way to win some kind of way, but we have to be better.”

Delaware forward Gregory Jandoli was given a 10 minute game misconduct after he took a few shots at Ohio forward Tom Pokorney after they both fell to the ice. Again the Bobcats were unable to take advantage of this power play chance as they were called for a roughing penalty of their own.

As both teams headed off the ice, it would come down to the final 20 minutes to decide a winner in this close contest between two of the best teams in all of the American Collegiate Hockey Association.

It looked as if Ohio had taken the lead early in the period on a shot from Patrick Spellacy but the referee made the call that the goal was no good and played carried on. The Bobcats had another shot to score just a minute later when Tyler Harkins had an open shot on a breakaway but failed to get it past the goalie. After that beginning rush by Ohio the score still remained 0-0.

“(A bad call like that) adds fuel to the fire,” Geither said. “A call like that gets the guys kinda mad and wanting the goal because we think we scored so of course we want the goal, so it lights a fire under our butt and makes us want to go out and get that goal back.”

Hogan showed visible frustration throughout the early parts of the third period as he was unhappy with how his team had been executing so far.

“I’m exhausted, you guys can tell, this (game) beat me up mentally but we figured it out and we won somehow,” Hogan said.

With just over two minutes left to play Delaware decided it was time to pull their goalie in hopes of tying the game. Although the Blue Hens had their chances to tie the game the Bobcats were ultimately able to prevent Delaware from getting the equalizing goal.

Although the Bobcats were able to get the win, Hogan was still displeased with what he saw from his team tonight. “I thought it was a very sloppy hockey game,” Hogan said. “We weren’t making simple plays, we weren’t making the easy plays, we got the rust off today and it darn near put gave me a heart attack today on the bench.