Following a great performance from the top line, the Ohio Bobcats hockey team (26-7-2) defeated the Kent State Golden Flashes (7-23-1) 7-0 on Friday night.
The first period saw the Bobcats open things up offensively, and they would not let up throughout the contest. Only a few minutes in, Zac Sommer took a penalty for Kent State and gave the Bobcats a powerplay. With five seconds remaining Brett Agnew carried the puck in on the right side.
As he deked around the defender, the puck was left along the side and the defender following Agnew to the middle. Wide open, Mike Kretz stalled then rifled a pass across the crease to Patrick Spellacy for a shot into the wide open net and the first goal of the game. It would be the only goal scored that period despite a lead of 13-3 in shots.
“I think as a team we kind of struggled in the first period there,” said head coach Jonathan Sheridan. “Agnew was very vocal about trying to get the guys going. He knew we had to put up some numbers on Kent State. To see him and Spellacy respond later was great. Those guys are always working hard, they play together very well. They kind of know where each other’s at before they’re actually there. I think that attests to them always putting up points, and it’s good.”
The second period rolled around with some exciting action. Only two minutes into the period, starting goaltender Ryan Heltion had to make a big save after the puck hit off his mask and left him disoriented. He was able to stop the puck just before it went in.
“I guess the best defense is a great offense,” said Sheridan. “We had the puck in their end a lot, so it ended up working out well with that type of offense. And Heltion did great. It’s a hard game for a goalie to play when you only face 13 shots. That’s a lot of testament to his mental strength. Our defense played excellent, our penalty kill was great. I was pretty happy with all that in the defensive zone.”
About five minutes into the period, Matt Hartman gave the puck up to Agnew on the left side. Agnew deked around the defense and fired a pass cross-ice that passed by Hartman driving in the slot and attracting the defense. Spellacy received it on the right side and roofed the shot for the two goal lead and his second of the evening.
It took no time at all for the Bobcats to get back on the offensive. Only 32 seconds later, Agnew received a pass in the corner from Spellacy and fired it to Matt Hartman for a one-timer at the right face-off dot. He sent it past the goaltenders glove for the third goal of the contest, all scored by the top line.
Long after that goal, the Bobcats finally found another big opportunity. With just under three minutes remaining in the period, a scrum in the corner gave the puck to Logan Pfeffer. Pfeffer sent it around to Green for a return pass behind the net. Noticing the goaltender looking over his left shoulder, Pfeffer sent a pass around the other side to Garrett Williams for an easy look top shelf and the fourth goal of the evening.
“I think Pfeffer’s been the most improved player of the year, and he’s fell into his role very nicely,” said Sheridan. “He’s the kind of kid that will do anything to help the team, and right now he’s doing everything to help the team, so that’s great.”
The third period then saw multiple penalties called, but limited chances. Heltion was able to keep the puck out of the net, and with just under eight minutes remaining the Bobcats were back on offense. With a powerplay, Brett Agnew received the puck on the left side. Sent it to Tom Whetsel at the side of the net, and he tapped it through the crease behind the defense for Patrick Spellacy to knock it home for a hat-trick goal.
Four minutes later, Duncan Green sent the puck up the left side to Spellacy. He carried in and stopped at the left dot. He fired a pass toward the net for Agnew to crash in and knock it five-hole for the sixth goal of the game and the fifth point for each player.
The final goal came with just 38 seconds remaining, a pass from Michael Harris went through the defenders back to the blue line. Mike Kretz pinched in on it and fired a one-timer through traffic the goalie simply had no chance of keeping up with for the seventh goal of the game.
After outshooting Kent State 36-13, the Bobcats took home yet another win. They face Kent State again on Saturday night, and need Robert Morris University (IL) to lose to Lindenwood on Saturday in order to clinch the CSCHL Regular Season Championship.