After a slow start, the Ohio Bobcats (15-3-2) were unable to mount a second comeback against the Minot State Beavers (12-2-0). The Beavers were able to manage 32 shots total in the game, and put together a big 7-1 victory over the Bobcats.
“They’re a really good hockey team. I’m impressed, last night was an emotional loss for them because we came back and won the game late,” commented head coach Dan Morris. “For them to be able to bounce back, play as well as they did tonight, with the combination we were satisfied with last night and we didn’t really come in here ready to play.”
It took nearly four minutes for the action to pick up, with Tyler Benson catching one of the Beaver players at center ice and laying him out with a huge hit. That gave up an opening to the Beavers, however. Cam McGeough was able to connect on a pass to Brody Haygarth who rifled it by Matt Michno for a 1-0 lead.
The momentum was firmly in favor of the Beavers from then on. Just a minute after the goal, JD Howard took the puck for the Bobcats, was able to get past two defenders, but on the pass was unable to connect. The steal for the Beavers gave them a three-on-two rush.
Jared McIntosh and Will Kinsman put together a two-man game, ending with Kinsman making a backhand pass from behind the net for a one-time opportunity in front. Michno was able to spread out for the save and pull the momentum toward the Bobcats. Shortly after the save, the Bobcats managed their first shot of the game after five minutes of action.
“They played the same way last night, we just got caught watching the plays and didn’t react to their transition,” commented coach Morris. “It’s something we adjusted to well last night but tonight we tried to go north when we should go south a couple situations, and a lot of odd man rushes.”
With eight minutes remaining in the first period, Minot State managed another rush. Michael Jordan passed it to Logan Herauf down the right side. Herauf drove toward the net and fired a shot toward the blocker that seemed to wrap around Michno and hit twine. This gave the Beavers a 2-0 lead, and a solid momentum swing in their favor.
The final goal of the period came with under a minute left to play, Kyle Stephens just exited the penalty box and a bad pass toward the point gave him a clean break toward the net. His shot would find the back of the net, and gave the Beavers a 3-0 lead at the end of one. When the Bobcats came back out for the second period, Fedor Dushkin went in as the goaltender.
“Our guys weren’t playing well. If the goaltender’s not playing well, you pull him in the middle of the period,” said coach Morris, “we pulled Matt to try and get a reaction out of the guys, sort of say ‘start fresh’ from [Dushkin], but we didn’t really change the way we played and Teddy was a victim for a couple more goals.”
Nearly four minutes into the period, freshman defenseman Bob Pond made a devastating hit at the blue line on a Bobcat player. The puck squirted free to Haygarth, who passed it up to McGeough for an easy breakaway. As McGeough came in, Dushkin made a diving attempt at the poke check, but to no avail. McGeough moved left and had a wide open net for an easy goal to put the Beavers up 4-0.
About two minutes later, Rostek and Agnew had a two-man game starting in the offensive zone. Rostek up the right side was able to make a backhand pass to Agnew, but the shot was blocked. The Beavers would manage to block 14 shots in the game, holding the Bobcats to only 24 shots on goal.
“When you get down, you try to do things yourself rather than work together,” said coach Morris, “maybe we were in a position to share the puck, and they’re overplaying the block. Like last night, we shared the puck because they overplayed the block, passed the puck to the open man and put the puck in the net. Tonight rather than looking to be unselfish, we got behind and were a little selfish.”
The selfish play proved costly for the Bobcats, and led to a lot of missed opportunities with the puck sailing wide of the net or unable to connect on cross-ice passes. The Bobcats finally scored with seven minutes remaining in the period on a 4-on-3 powerplay. Michael Harris had the puck at the blue line, passed to Jonathan Gulch who tapped a pass straight back to Harris for the one-timer through traffic. The goal provided a short spark for the Bobcats, who were now only down 4-1.
With just under five minutes remaining there was a pause to the action, McGeough made a rush from the corner toward the net and received a pass. It appeared he tipped it just before running over Dushkin, however the referee waved it off and after reviewing determined it was no goal. McGeough struggled to get up, but soon managed to get to his feet.
The Beavers ended the period with a goal from Garrett Ferguson, who would have two in the game. Ferguson came in from the left side and received a rocket of a pass from Michael Jordan in the corner and put it home. Jordan finished the game with three assists.
“If it was him, that’s pretty good. He has baseball, basketball, now hockey and golf right?” asked coach Morris with a chuckle. “I didn’t know, I just knew the last names. When we get our scouting report we just get the last names, and I think somebody said last night after the game that their team looked more like a basketball team. It’s probably something that he’s laughed about his whole life.”
Minot State managed two more goals in a very physical third period, and with the 7-1 victory have their 12th win of the season. The Bobcats will next be home following the winter break, but play away at Kent State next week.