Going for their tenth straight victory, No. 1 Ohio took on No. 17 Arizona in the second game of a two game series. In a very physical game highlighted by multiple fights and ejections, the Bobcats won 4-0 over the Wildcats. Freshman James Howard, sophomore Tyler Benson, junior Mike Kretz, and senior Nick Rostek scored the goals for the Bobcats.
The first period was a smooth one for Ohio, scoring three of their four goals in the period. The second period was where the game went from free flowing to physical and both teams began to rack up the penalties.
In the last thirty-plus seconds alone, three fights broke out, and players from both teams were ejected. The game ended with players still jawing at one another as they left the ice. Ohio head coach Dan Morris was none too pleased about Arizona’s instigation of physical play.
“Here’s the thing: we game out in gangbusters in the first period, we are up three nothing, ya know. I understand turning the tide, getting your team emotional, that’s a good time to fight. When you’re down four nothing with thirty seconds to go, and you jump a kid, that’s a challenge. Hockey is a game of respect, it’s a dangerous game, everybody respects [the game]. When you go against the tide of the respect for the game, you go against not only the guys you are playing against, but also anyone who plays the game. Fair warning is ‘hey, let’s go” that kind thing. No warning was given, they just jumped our player, so in my book, it’s gutless,” he said.
Besides the ugly turn of events, there were two major positives for the Bobcats coming out of tonight’s victory. Junior goalkeeper Dushkin recorded a shutout and the Bobcats seemed to bond on the ice as they dealt with the physicality of the game.
“Teddy played great last weekend, and he is gaining the confidence, but he is also putting the work in at practice to make himself better, and that’s the key,” he said.
Morris hopes the lessons the Bobcats learned from tonight would carry over as they go on their first extended trip away from Bird Arena this season.
“I think tonight was a good bonding night for us, to stick up for each other, and I think we did that. Being on the road, ya know, it’s not the comforts of home and it’s hostile. We go right to Liberty, and that’s a tough crowd. They feed off the crowd, it’s a tough place to win, so ya know, tonight hopefully we can take the bonding and sticking up for each other because he will be the only people in that building who can do it for us. So, hopefully, we can take the lessons learned from tonight and then make them work for our road trips.”
The Bobcats now go on the road to Liberty University in Virginia. Their next home game at Bird Arena is in three weeks against the Indiana Hoosiers.