At the sound of the final buzzer at Bird Arena, the scoreboard read 4-1 for the second consecutive night.
Only this time, No. 4 Ohio was on the winning end when it defeated No. 5 Robert Morris-Illinois in its weekend Central States Collegiate Hockey League series.
Saturday’s game was plagued with comparison to the Friday in that: a team scored quickly, excellent goalie play and driven by on-ice emotion.
Experience pays off
Senior forward Mike Palasics put the Bobcats right where they wanted to be when he scored just 43 seconds into the game.
“It’s an awesome feeling,” Palasics said. “Not only do we get a fast start, but it sets the tone for the rest of the game and gets the boys going.”
Palasics, put the Bobcats up 2-1 in the second period and despite all of the emotions on the ice, that sealed it for Ohio.
“I’m really proud of Mike,” coach Sean Hogan said. “He’s contributed this year and he’s been a great leader; I can’t say enough good things about him right now.”
The senior forward through 20 games is fourth on the team in total points with 13 (nine goals and four assists), earned three points tonight and saw the offensive game plan come to life after fluttering the previous night.
“From the drop of the puck it was just ‘attack attack attack’” Palasics said. “That’s what we did throughout most of the game.”
Brick wall in net
After letting one quick goal slip in during the first period of play, sophomore goalie Jimmy Thomas stopped everything else that came his way.
“I thought I played well tonight,” Thomas said. “I played better than last night, tonight our whole team brought it.”
Thomas, who posted a .966 save percentage Saturday and now holds a 14-4-1 record on the year, has kept the Bobcats in many games this season including Saturday’s game after a 1-1 period.
“Jimmy’s a great goalie and he plays with a lot of emotion,” Hogan said. “He cares a lot about Ohio hockey.”
Thomas’s emotions might have gotten the best of him on Saturday as he led in the team in penalty minutes (six) after landing a punch to a Robert Morris-Illinois skater.
“They’re not my favorite team to play against and I let them know it,” Thomas said. “But it’s a league game so it’s really intense all the time.”
As of Saturday’s game, Ohio has a 4-2 record against CSCHL teams.