After a tough shootout victory the night before, the Ohio Bobcats (14-4-1) defeated the Lindenwood Lions (5-9-2) 8-4 to continue a five-game winning streak.
It didn’t take long for the Bobcats to get on the board. Only 15 seconds in, Michael Harris scored a goal assisted by Tyler Benson. That would only be the start of the pressure attack, as they would score again only three minutes later on the powerplay. With Nathan De La Torre directing the offense, the puck went to the left side for Liam Geither and was poked away. De La Torre found it for a loose puck one-timer that beat the goaltender five-hole.
“It’s very important [to score early],” said head coach Jonathan Sheridan. “I know they wanted to come out hot, so we had to match that. I think when we scored that goal it kind of reminded them of last night, so I think it just got things going for us and reminded them of the sour taste. I think every game you want to come out hot, especially a game where you just won the previous night.”
It only took another three minutes before the Bobcats were back on the board. Liam Geither carried the puck in on the right side, slowed down and found Michael Harris coming in for a shot. The save was made, but the puck wasn’t found amongst a scrum of people. It finally leaked out behind the scrum where Paul Sergi jumped into the play with a quick backhand shot. That goal gave the Bobcats a 3-0 lead they would carry into the first intermission.
“It’s great when you have the depth that we have,” said Sheridan. “I think that’s one of our biggest attributes, how deep we are. And it’s nice as a coach to be able to throw anyone out and anyone can produce the goal like the way we were and have been lately.”
The second period would start slower than the first, with no goals scored until the second half of the period. With just under eight minutes remaining, the Bobcats held the puck in the offensive zone with the cycle. Matt Hartman put the puck from behind the net to Brett Agnew on the left side. Agnew tapped it up to Duncan Green along the blue line for a quick wrist shot. The save was made, but Hartman was staying by the side of the net and put the rebound in behind the goaltender.
Lindenwood was able to respond with a goal of their own very similar to the Bobcats previous one. The show from the point came from Steve Brancheau and was blocked off by Alkema. The rebound fell close to the net, and was recovered by Kevin Walters with a quick shot into the open net. It looked like the Bobcats would take the 4-1 lead into the second intermission, but the hero of Friday night had a different idea.
Patrick Spellacy took a pass from Brett Agnew behind the net and carried to the front. Trey Flesch, the goaltender, followed him out to close off the angles and dropped to his butterfly. Spellacy turned and shot the puck around Flesch into the short side for the 5-1 lead that would be carried to intermission.
After a penalty to Lindenwood’s Jeremy Edwards, the Bobcats opened the third period on the powerplay and would find Brett Agnew in front for a goal. Another goal came from Tyler Pecka only three minutes later with a shot by the blocker unassisted. It wouldn’t be until the second half of the period for another goal to be scored, where Lindenwood found themselves with the advantage.
Mike Kretz received a penalty for interference, giving the man advantage to the Lions. Peppi Sipila carried in from the right side and held the puck on his backhand to drive around the defender. With the opening in front, he crossed over to his forehand to put the puck around Alkema for a goal.
“[Alkema] did play solid, and then he tailed off at the end,” said Sheridan. “The other guys packed it in in front of him, and I think he might have too. But he did well, and I’m proud of him.”
Only 30 seconds later, the Lions would score another goal from Stephen Bopp, and then a minute later received a powerplay off a penalty on Joe Breslin. They would not score, but received multiple opportunities.
The Bobcats scored once more with four minutes left on a two-on-none breakaway between Liam Geither and Nathan De La Torre, but would give up another goal with just over a minute and half remaining. A steal from Mike Kretz in the defensive zone, the Bobcats looked primed to get the clear. Instead, miscommunication had the another Bobcat player run into Kretz and Steve Brancheau came in to pick up the loose puck and fire the shot over the glove of Alkema.
“One of our first goals is to win the League Championship, the regular season championship,” said Sheridan. “To do that, we have to play every night and every weekend.”
Following the goal, the Bobcats held the puck for the remainder of regulation and took home an 8-4 victory. They will be away from home the next few weeks, in Indiana next weekend, no game for Thanksgiving weekend, and at Kent State the first weekend of December before returning home.