As it prepares for its second Central States Collegiate Hockey League series, No. 8 Ohio will face one of the most talented teams in the nation in No. 3 Lindenwood.
Ohio, who is coming off its first CSCHL series against Illinois, sees a lot of itself in Lindenwood.
“They play very similarly to the way we do,” coach Sean Hogan said. “They pinch down walls on the forecheck and play a really fast 1-3-1 power play.”
Lindenwood (13-1-3) has established itself as the early front-runner for the best team in the CSCHL with a league record of 3-1-2 with victories over Iowa State, Illinois and Robert Morris-Illinois.
If the Bobcats want to have any say on who’s the best team, they need to play their game early this weekend.
“It’s a simple formula,” Hogan said. “If we win the puck battles down low, we’ll have a good chance to succeed this weekend.”
While both teams on film have striking similarities, where the Bobcats hold the edge is in physicality and the mental aspect of the game.
“Our success with them in the past is by playing physical,” senior forward Mike Palasics said. “If we come out and hit right away, and just dominate from the first drop of the puck, I think we’ll be fine.”
The Bobcats physical style of play has both its ups-and-downs as it has established a dominant presence throughout the games, but also has seen some injuries.
Since its series with Stony Brook back in October, Ohio has been hit with the injury bug. At times, the team has only played with three full lines. This weekend will be no exception, except it will get back junior forward Matt Rudin.
Rudin, who has missed three consecutive weekends since Stony Brook, in the 10 games he has played the junior has accumulated six points (two goals, four assists).
He will look to step back into his regular role as a second liner this coming weekend alongside forwards Bryan Lubin and Tyler Harkins.
As always festivities will be rampant throughout Bird Arena this weekend as the team is hosting its “Military Appreciation Weekend,” in honor of current and former members of the military.
One of the ways the team honors veterans, is by wearing alternate camouflage jerseys.
The jerseys will be worn during both warmups and the games, and is sure to boost both the team and its veteran crowd.
“It’s pretty cool when you’re playing and you see veterans or ROTC guys in the crowd,” Palasics said. “You think about the sacrifice that they’ve made or are currently making.”
Current and former members of the military will be eager to watch an American Collegiate Hockey Association top-10 showdown between No. 3 Lindenwood and No. 8 Ohio with weekend puck drops at 7:30 p.m.