Ohio University went against the Pittsburgh Panthers in Bird Arena at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, on February 3, 2017. The bobcats won 9-0.

Ohio Fails to Clinch Title in Late Loss to Iowa State

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For nearly 55 minutes on Friday night, it looked as if the No. 3 Ohio Bobcats were on their way to clinching the Central States Collegiate Hockey League (CSCHL) regular season title, until No. 10 Iowa State roared back in the final minutes to win 3-2 on Friday night over the Bobcats at Bird Arena.

These two CSCHL conference rivals both came out with high energy and played to a scoreless draw for nearly the first ten minutes of the opening period. Ohio senior Joey Breslin broke the tie with a power play goal, which was the team’s fourth power play goal in their last two games.

Just over a minute later the Bobcats tallied their second goal when Drew Crandall gathered in a rebound and backhand flipped the puck past Cyclones goalie Derek Moser. Iowa State called a timeout following the second goal from Ohio as they looked to halt the momentum that Ohio gained with their two quick scores.

“We had a lot of chances in the first period,” head coach Sean Hogan said after the game. “But what I didn’t like was that we should have been up by four or five goals, we had a ton of opportunities there that we didn’t capitalize on, which is usually a dangerous sign.”

Ohio’s defense remained stellar throughout the remainder of period and stopped every potential scoring opportunity Iowa State had. After 20 minutes, the Bobcats looked to be in good position to clinch the CSCHL regular season championship.

For the majority of the second period both teams traded scoring chances but neither were successful as both goaltenders were on their ‘A’ game. The physicality also picked up as the second period moved along and the referees let the two teams battle, calling only four penalties through the first two periods.

With less than two minutes remaining in the second period, Iowa State tallied their first goal of the game when Cyclones defenseman Anthony Song was successful at getting the puck past Jimmy Thomas. The goal by Song cut Ohio’s lead in half as the two teams headed off the ice after for the second intermission.

The physical play carried over into the beginning of the third period as Iowa State was trying anything and everything to get the game-tying goal. Their persistence finally paid off when forward Aaron Gullickson caught Thomas out of position on an odd-man rush and tied the game 2-2.

Just before the goal by Gullickson, Ohio had their own opportunity to take a 3-1 lead but Garrett Jenkins was unsuccessful at capitalizing on the scoring chance for the Bobcats. The momentum suddenly shifted in favor of the Cyclones as the game reached the final five minutes of play.

Just a few minutes later Ohio once again got caught and the Cyclones again had an odd-man rush, which led to a tap-in goal for forward Tony Uglem. In a span of just 2 minutes and 57 seconds, Iowa State went from a goal down to a goal up and had taken control of the game.

“I think we let up and start playing more individually and started worrying too much for whatever reason,” Hogan said. “This is not the time of year to be worrying about stats, so we have to make sure that we get that fixed right away.”

The sellout crowd at Bird Arena, which had been into the game for the first 55 minutes, now all sat, stunned with silence after witnessing the quick comeback by Iowa State.

Ohio fought hard until the end but even with an extra attacker on the ice for the final 90 seconds of the game, they were unable to get the puck past Moser, who was solid in net for the Cyclones after giving up the two first period goals.

“We wanted to sweep (Iowa State) this weekend and get a chance at that number one ranking,” Hogan said. “The game was right there for us, the puck was literally laying there for us several times and we just couldn’t capitalize today.”

After the game, it was obvious that team felt they had let the game slip away from them, after coming into the weekend hoping for a sweep and a shot at the number one ranking. However Ohio will now look to recoup and win tomorrow, which still would clinch them the CSCHL regular season title.

“I didn’t go into the locker room yelling and screaming, but I told them that I was a little frustrated with some of the attitudes when things go bad, Hogan said. “We can’t play that way, this is championship time and tomorrow we have to win a game to win a regular season championship.”

The final regular season game at Bird Arena this season will start at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. The team’s 10 seniors will be honored before the game.