In the final game of the regular season, the Ohio Bobcats (29-7-2) honored their seniors and defeated the Pittsburgh Panthers (12-11-5) by a score of 5-0 while outshooting the Panthers 75-13.
“All along we just want to get pucks on net and bodies on the net,” coach Jonathan Sheridan said. “Their goalie played unreal. You have to give it up to the kid, 70 saves in a game. Most goalies don’t make that many saves in a weekend, so that’s pretty good. But you have to give it up to the guys, they stuck to our system the whole way. They know we have a big weekend coming up so we wanted to do things the right way.”
The game started out with the Bobcats aggressive in the offensive zone, even having a three-on-one during the penalty kill at one time. However, they were unable to score on any of their chances and, after leading in shots 24-5, entered the first intermission scoreless.
Everything started heating up in the second period, though. Just over five minutes into the period, Brett Agnew received the puck behind the net and carried in front. Ignoring the call for a pass, he lifted a backhander into the goaltenders mask that left a rebound along the goal line. After a couple tries at it, Nicholas Hudek finally knocked it by Rob Behling for the first goal of the game.
It took about three more minutes until the Bobcats found the back of the net again with a goal from Tyler Pecka from the right face-off dot. They added another later in the period from Matt Hartman off a good feed from Agnew.
Through all the scoring, the theme of the night was to celebrate the incredible careers of the three seniors for the team — Agnew, Duncan Green, and J.C. Gulch. With just under two minutes remaining, one would finally put up a goal in the contest. The puck came to Pecka along the blue line and he swung it to Green for a slap shot that blew by the glove of Behling for a goal.
“You look down the bench and the guys are smiling ear to ear,” Sheridan said. “Any time Duncan scores, it’s a big night for us. But to do it on senior night was pretty cool. I know it meant a lot to him, but it means even more to the guys to see him be successful and finally out one in. He does everything the right way, academics, in the weight room, and on the ice.”
About nine minutes into the third period came the final goal from Patrick Spellacy on what seemed like an imitation of Agnew from the night before. Agnew carried the puck in on the right side and fed Spellacy on a cross-ice pass that he fired away. A sprawling save was made as Spellacy’s shot went too early, but the rebound was knocked home.
With the game all but over, Sheridan called for one final go for the senior group. While two of the seniors are defenseman, in the final two minutes of play all three played as a forward line together and were even refused an attempted line change. The three would finish the game and their Bobcat careers with a 5-0 victory.
“Those three guys have done a lot for the program,” Sheridan said. “We have a very rich history and they bought into that a lot and kept it going. If you ask any of the younger guys, they all look up to them. They know how hard they work on the ice, off the ice, classroom. Those three guys’ work ethic has really changed a lot for our program, and it’s amazing, you can hear them in there cheering. They’re the three favorite guys in the locker room, so you can’t speak highly enough of what they’ve done for the program and what they’ve done for the guys.”
The Bobcats ended up leading in shots 75-13, giving Behling more work than anybody expected. They now head into the CSCHL Tournament next weekend at Lindenwood Ice Arena. The following week they will play alumni in the charity Ice Ghosts game and then enter the ACHA Tournament with high hopes of a national championship.