Coach Sean Hogan entered Ohio’s locker room and shook his head.
He was searching for answers after his team suffered its first loss of the season — a 3-2 loss to Jamestown on Friday at Bird Arena.
“How does that happen?” Hogan said among a quiet Ohio team.
The Bobcats found a solution to Jamestown’s defense and outshot the Jimmies 45-20, but couldn’t find an answer to Jimmies’ goalie Tallon Kramer.
“We were taking a couple shots and putting it right in his chest,” defenseman Jake Faiella said. “He made a couple great saves, honestly.”
A slow beginning to the second period started the frustrations for No. 3 Ohio, as No. 14 Jamestown netted a pair of goals just seconds apart shortly into the second period to take a 3-1 lead and the life out of Bird Arena.
But the Bobcats slowly regained momentum from that point on. Ohio outshot Jamestown 23-15 in the second period and nearly doubled its shot total in the third period.
Forward Gianni Evangelisti finally broke through with a power-play goal at 5:50 in the third period, but the frustrations still continued. Ohio peppered Kramer with shots in the ensuing final minutes of play, but couldn’t find another hole.
“It’s one of the most frustrating things in sports,” Faiella said on Ohio not taking advantage of its third period momentum. “You’re outworking them by a lot. They were hanging their heads. They were tired, and we kept going and we just couldn’t get anything done. It’s pretty frustrating.”
The loss felt familiar to Ohio. The first regulation loss last season was also a 3-2 loss at home against Jamestown.
The Bobcats bounced back and won their next six games.
Hogan hopes that Friday’s loss will trigger a similar result and serve as a growing moment for Ohio’s young team, which is still looking to mold together its new pieces into a consistent formula.
“In the first two periods we just weren’t playing our game,” Hogan said. “We did not play physical, we weren’t hitting, we didn’t forecheck. In the third period, we finally understood what it takes to win."
But it's games like this where, according to Hogan, the foundation is built for a new-look team, and last year's stretch of wins following the identical loss served as evidence.
“It’s going to take time. We have a young team, and we need to build from the ground up,” Hogan said.
Ohio (4-1-0) will look to replicate its third period efforts in hopes of more fortuitous results in Saturday’s rematch against Jamestown (2-3-0).