The Ohio Bobcats hockey team (7-2-1) extended their winning streak to five games, smothering Canisius (7-8) with an 11-3 rout.
“They came out ready to play. I think if they would’ve popped another one in, it would’ve been a different game,” coach Jonathan Sheridan said after the game. “But I think our guys kind of realized when Scotty was pulled that they had to do something really different. We talked about it, and how we left him high and dry and we had to get it back for him. I think the guys saw that and what they did to him.”
It took over nine minutes for the Bobcats to produce their first shot on goal, but it was a big shot. Down 2-0 at the time and having already pulled Scott Boyd, the Bobcats became aggressive and won a face-off in the offensive zone to Patrick Spellacy who fired through traffic and five-hole for the first goal.
“I think we realized that we can’t just show up and win a hockey game, there’s a lot of things it takes to win,” assistant coach Jameson Raymond commented after the game. “You have to work hard, stay within our system, and get pucks to the net. I think we realized that we’re not good enough just to show up.”
Shortly after, as the Bobcats took penalties and gave up chances, it appeared the game was being pulled away from them. Rather, Aaron Alkema gave the momentum shifting save of the night with over seven minutes remaining in the period. A shot from Scott Fasano was blocked and turned into a breakaway the other way for Brian Seniw. Seniw made a move to his backhand and went to stuff it past Alkema, but with a split to fill the entire net it was held out.
“That was a huge turning point in the game,” Sheridan said. “I think if that would’ve went in, it could’ve been either way. But he made the save and the guys fed off that and it was a big spark for us.”
The Bobcats scored shortly thereafter to tie the game off a goal from Brett Agnew with a wraparound that sneaked by Dennis Eisenbeck. That wouldn’t be the end of the scoring that period, as the Bobcats took a lead into the first intermission with a tip over the diving goaltender by Garrett Williams landing in front of David Ramos for the easy goal.
“Obviously it’s good we’re starting to click here,” Agnew said after the game. “It’s been a bit of a rough start for us. It’s good for everyone to go in here and score 11 goals. There was a lot of guys pitching in here tonight, and I was just happy with the whole team performance.”
Entering the second period, the Bobcats seemed prepared to take control of the game. Just two and a half minutes into the period, Patrick Spellacy was able to get the puck in the slot and attract the defense away from the net. He spun toward his right and tossed the puck down toward the net for Brett Agnew, who tapped it in behind the goaltender for his second goal of the game.
“Ags always comes to play,” Sheridan said. “He’s a special kid, he’s very talented and wants to win. He wants to play the last game of the year, and he’s going to do whatever he can to get there. You can’t ask more from him, the way he’s been doing it.”
They would get another goal by David Ramos later in the period before the excitement occurred. With seven minutes remaining, Derek Rahme flew in with a hard hit from behind the opposing player. This caught the attention of Michael Mangone who started throwing punches and took Rahme down. Both players were then given a game disqualification, producing four-on-four play.
It didn’t take long for the Bobcats to strike, as only 30 seconds later Tyler Benson held the puck in the high-slot area. He faked a shot and tossed a hard pass to the far side of the net as Agnew drove in and got the tip for his hat-trick goal.
Less than a minute later, the Bobcats received a goal from Matt Hartman on a hard working play in front, beating the goaltender on multiple shot attempts. The goal forced Canisius to pull its goalie in favor of Lawrence Miller. He would give up a goal later on as well to a 2-on-1 rush for the Bobcats that saw Williams give a pass to Tyler Pecka for a simply shot five-hole. They would take an 8-2 lead into the intermission.
“Our guys are very fast and they’re very skilled in the open ice when they have the puck,” Sheridan said. “So when you give them time and space, they’re going to do something with it.”
The third period saw the Bobcats score three goals, two from Williams and one from Spellacy. The big play, however, was the goal surrendered this period. After four straight penalty kills without a shot against, Canisius finally managed one with roughly six minutes remaining. With the defense attracted toward the puck, a pass was able to thread the needle and find Jess Hackett near the net for a hard shot that beat Alkema.
“They did get one,” Sheridan said. “It wasn’t perfect as we would’ve liked, but we’ve been working really hard on that. I think the guys really take pride in their penalty kill. John Pietramala and Jay Mazzarella are two of the guys that did it last year and a lot of the guys that were here from last year really looked up to them. They kind of want to do it like they did, so it’s something that’s a pride thing for the guys.”
Following the weekend sweep, the Bobcats now travel to Iowa State and to Illinois their next two weekends.