Ohio Hockey: Smith’s Incredible Performance Not Enough; Ohio Splits Weekend Series Against Davenport

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With the game on the line in overtime, Ohio goaltender Jimmy Smith had to put the team on his back to weather the Davenport offensive storm in the series finale between the two teams.

The Bobcats relied heavily on Smith during their Saturday night game as the sellout crowd of Bird Arena watched in amazement as Smith made acrobatic saves left and right to keep Ohio in the game.

The game started fast as both teams came out with a physical mindset. Defense was the main priority for both teams as neither team converted on their power play opportunities. Ohio peppered Davenport’s goaltender Jason Rhynold with ten shots on goal in the first period.

The ice opened up for both teams in the second period when both played aggressive offensively.

Around the nine-minute mark of the period, both teams were re-energized after a scrum broke out behind Smith after the stoppage of play. Offsetting roughing penalties gave the fans 4-on-4 hockey. The Bobcats used their speed to their advantage as defenseman Scott Bagby tapped in the puck past Rhynold to give the Bobcats a 1-0 advantage.

The Panthers responded less than three minutes later, as defenseman Pat Modaff capitalized off of the Bobcat defensive breakdown to tie the game.

The Panthers continued to push and took the lead a little over a minute later, when Nathan Nickelson fired a wicked wrist shot past Smith. The momentum would favor the Panthers until the Bobcats killed a crucial Panther powerplay to close the second period.

The third period showed signs of being all Davenport early as they came out attacking, but a Davenport holding penalty gave the Bobcats a golden opportunity to tie the game. They did not disappoint. With 11:41 remaining in the third, Jake Houston beat out Rhynold with a hard slapshot that beat him in the top corner that gave the Bobcats the equalizer they were looking for.

The score would stand tied at two at the end of regulation, despite consistent pressure by both teams and overtime proved to be another scoreless, defensive slugfest for the Bobcats, as they spent two of the five minutes on the 4-on-3 penalty kill. Through overtime, both goaltenders put on a show. Davenport’s Rhynold stopped 32 of 34 shots, while Ohio’s Smith stopped 30 of 32 shots that included three crucial saves during the penalty kill in overtime.

After both teams failed to strike first in the shootout, Davenport’s Austin Thompson buried the puck in the net that gave the Panthers an edge in the shootout. Fortunately for the Bobcats, Jake Houston beats Rhynold through the five-hole on the very next shot that tied the game in the shootout.

Davenport’s Alex Hulford gave the Panthers the advantage in the shootout again as he faked out Smith. Rhynold would make the biggest stop of the night for Davenport as he stopped Tyler Harkins’ shot. The Panthers would go on to win the game 3-2 to improve their record to 11-1-1 as they head to a home-and-home matchup against Oakland University.

With the loss, the Bobcats drop to 8-1-1 on the season. Fortunately, Friday’s 4-2 win against the Panthers, allowed the Bobcats to go 1-0-1 in the weekend. They hit the road next weekend as they take on Liberty University.