Shorthanded Ohio Stomps Pitt

Posted on:

< < Back to

Missing its head coach and four key players, the No. 3 Ohio Bobcats did not miss a beat as they used their depth to take down the Pittsburgh Panthers in a 9-0 blowout in front of a packed house at Bird Arena Friday night.

Since head coach Sean Hogan is away at the 2017 Winter World University Games, assistant coaches J.J. Crew and Nathan De La Torre are co-head coaches this weekend. It was a bit of a different look for the team, but they all went about their business as if nothing had really changed.

“We spilt up (the duties) pregame, (De La Torre) read the starting lineups like Sean typically does, I went over the key points and keys to the game, so there was a combination of both of us,” Crew said after the game.

It took a few minutes for Ohio to get into the rhythm of their game, but once they did, the goals started to add up. The Bobcats struck twice within a 19 second span to put them up 2-0. Just four minutes later, freshman Gianni Evangelisti scored his team leading twelfth goal of the season to increase the Bobcat lead to 3-0.

Ohio’s penalty kill unit, which is one of the best in all of the ACHA, showed why in the first period as they were able to kill off three penalties called on them without allowing a goal and hardly any shots on goal.

Toward the end of the opening 20 minutes, Ohio crashed the net hard and Drew Crandall was able to slip the puck past Pitt’s goalie to put Ohio up 4-0.

After only one period, the Bobcats were in firm control of the game and the Panthers headed off to the locker room searching for answers.

Several players stepped into larger roles tonight to make up for the four players being gone this weekend. Cody Black as well as others were excited to see more time on the ice and looked to take advantage of their time out there.

“It definitely helps getting some recognition, going out there, getting some more ice time so you can work on your skills, habits and all that good stuff.” Black said. “You’re getting more time than your used to, with being lower in the lineup but we played fantastic and it shows that it doesn’t matter where you play, everyone can fill anyone’s spot.”

Midway through the second period, Ohio went back on the penalty kill and not only were successful at keeping Pitt off the scoreboard but also scored a short-handed goal of their own.

After the superb shift from the penalty kill unit, it was the power play unit’s turn and they also came up with a excellent shift of their own as Jake Houston scored for Ohio and gave the Bobcats a seven-goal lead. This stretch of play was something that Crew liked.

“It is very rewarding, I know we stick to our systems in our 1-3 forecheck in the penalty kill,” Crew said. “So I thought we did a really good job with (our penalty kill) in the second period, not so much in the first period though.”

Following Ohio’s seventh goal, Pitt made a changed their goalie as the still searched for any answer for the powerful attack that the Bobcats showed in the first 30 minutes.

After two periods of play the outcome was no longer in doubt, but the Bobcats were aware of what was going to take place in the third period and did not want to commit any unnecessary penalties or get into any horseplay after the whistle.

However during the game, both Evangelisti and Tom Evans were helped off the ice with undisclosed injuries. Their status for Saturday is up in the air and Evans was seen leaving the locker room on crutches.

Ohio added its eighth goal of the night just a couple minutes later when Black took a nice feed from Houston and deposited the puck into the net. Ohio would go on to add their ninth goal when Patrick Spellacy went top shelf on the Pitt goalie and even knocked the water bottle off the net. It was the exclamation point to an overall great night for the entire Bobcats team.

The depth for Ohio showed once again, as eight different players scored the nine goals, which is something that Black spoke about after the game.

“You couldn’t ask for anything more out of the team,” Black said. “It’s not just one guy doing everything every night, it’s all of us, we’re all working hard and it’s great being out there too.”

Pitt and Ohio will battle once more tomorrow night at Bird Arena in what is expected to be an extremely physical game. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m.