For highlights from Ohio's 4-1 loss to Liberty on Friday, check out the video above brought to you by WOUB Bobcat Sports Showcase reporter Joe Collins.

Ohio Bobcats Hockey: Turnovers and Missed Opportunities Prove to be Costly for Ohio, Scoring Troubles Continue

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) – Ohio came out energized Friday night as they played host to Liberty, getting on the board first 15 minutes into the game, but not even three minutes later, Liberty got the equalizer, the momentum, and eventually the game as they would go on to score three more goals and win 4-1.

When Liberty tied the game at one with 2:52 left in the first period, the momentum shifted from Ohio’s favor to Liberty. Brock Thompson, the captain of the Flames, was on the receiving end of a nice passing play by Liberty’s top line and buried the puck in the open net.

“Whenever you play good teams, you’re never going to have the momentum for a full 60 minutes,” Head Coach Cole Bell said, “When they scored their first goal, we did a good job batting back and getting some of that momentum back on our side, but in the end, mistakes cost us in this one.”

Liberty was able to capitalize off of two Ohio turnovers in their own zone and score easy goals. Alex Norwinski gave the Flames a 2-1 lead five minutes into the second period and Quinn Ryan made it 3-1 a little over two minutes into the third period. Chaydan Lauber provided the insurance marker scoring on the power play with four minutes left in the game.

Despite the 4-1 loss, this game wasn’t a complete disaster for the Bobcats, especially in the eyes of Coach Bell.

“There were a lot of positives to build off of from this game,” Bell said. “Every game is getting better. We are finding ourselves and finding our identity.”

Ohio maintained good pressure and offensive zone time throughout the game Friday night, but just couldn’t find those quality chances, and they couldn’t capitalize on the few quality chances they did have.

Ohio's Colin Felton (13) and Matthew Shipko (25) warm up ahead of the Bobcats' game against Liberty on March 5, 2021. (Photo: Zach Paquette/WOUB)
Ohio’s Colin Felton (13) and Matthew Shipko (25) warm up ahead of the Bobcats’ game against Liberty on March 5, 2021. (Photo: Zach Paquette/WOUB)

Bell mentioned that Ohio is currently on a tough stretch of games and that this game is progress towards getting out of that slump.

Since their win against Adrian on February 12, Ohio has lost five straight games in which they were outscored 27-5 in that stretch, which is nowhere close to where they want to be.

“We had a lot of good chances tonight. We hit a post right in front of their net and had a couple other chances throughout the game,” Bell said. It’s one of those things where we are fighting confidence. We’re playing good teams, and sometimes it’s tough to get that confidence back.”

On the season, Ohio has averaged 1.6 goals per game. As of Friday night, Ohio’s goal differential is -34 on the year, which is nowhere close to where they want it to be. The lack of goal scoring has been a major issue for this team this season, but Bell believes that once they get that first one and then that second one, the goals will come.

Ohio has three more regular season home games on schedule to improve their scoring troubles and their 1-10-0 record. They take on Liberty on Saturday night and Bell has a simple message for his team.

“Keep battling, keep battling, keep battling,” Bell said. “Mistakes have cost us. For us, that isn’t a question of our team not being good enough. These are just mental mistakes that we can easily fix. That’s what we are going to do Saturday night.”