Ohio's previous weekend against Jamestown was full of frustrating moments, many of which were out of the Bobcats' control — except for the power play.
The team's power play had an abysmal weekend and went 1-for-10 in total opportunities in the pair of losses. The team also failed to convert in six advantages in Saturday's 3-1 defeat.
The rough weekend was the last straw for coach Sean Hogan, who was forced to implement adjustments into Ohio's power-play strategy that has yielded a 16.7 goal-percentage in its first six games of the season. The Bobcats' power play finished last season at 24.5 percent.
"We've got to work on power play," Hogan said after Saturday's game. "We have to start shooting the puck. That's how you score goals. It's not going to be pretty. We may have to change up some units and we got to start shooting the puck."
Hogan's solution is a complete change in the look of Ohio's power play. The Bobcats previously began a power play on the "overload" strategy, which featured a 1-2-2 look, before switching midsequence into an "umbrella" strategy, which contained three players up near the blue line and two others down by the net.
The strategy was designed to create shooting opportunities from the blue line and channel deflections and rebounds in front of the net while also throwing off the opposition's penalty kill strategy.
"First two weekends, it was just average," forward Gianni Evangelisti said. "It wasn't that big of a deal. It wasn't great, but last weekend against Jamestown, we scored one power-play goal, but we had a couple chances. We had a couple five-on-threes, and we felt like we should have scored more on the power play, so I think that's why we're going to make some adjustments."
Ohio is now shifting to a 1-3-1 strategy, which contains one player by the blue line, three players spread out from board to board and another player in front of the goalie. While the player in front of the goalie attempts to screen his vision, the four other players will look to make quick passes with the puck and create one-timer shooting opportunities.
"We watched the video and we had chances," Hogan said. "We made some poor decisions. I think the 1-3-1 is a little harder to play against."
Hogan will also continue experimenting with power-play line combinations.
The first unit has frequently featured forwards Evangelisti, who leads the team with two power-play goals, Matt Rudin and Tyler Harkins.
Hogan will likely continue to utilize a similar line for his first power-play unit, but the second combination will remain interchangeable.
"The first unit, I think we got our guys for now, but you always got to change it," Hogan said. "You got to make sure guys are competing for it and working. It's going to be a lot of work and it'll take time."
Ohio's season is still young, and with a relatively new-look team, Hogan is eager to find a strategy that will put the Bobcats' power play at a similar level to last season.
"We're going to see if we can do it," Hogan said. "Really it comes to just our power play wasn't good over the weekend, the last two weekends, really. So we got to do something. We got to make a change. If we just kept sticking with it, we'd be in trouble."