It was more of a mountain than a game. It had its peaks and plateaus, where ultimately No. 7 Ohio didn’t reach the peak as it stumbled in a 5-4 loss to No. 12 Iowa State.
In a back-and-forth contest, Ohio had its fair share of chances to put the game away and it simply couldn’t.
A deadlocked 3-3 score was erased after junior defenseman Grant Hazel scored on a wrist shot early in the final period of regulation that gave Ohio its one goal lead for the third time in the game.
Scored with 18:22 left in regulation, it was almost certain that more goals would follow, only they came at the wrong end of the scoreboard.
At 14:29 Iowa State skater Jonthan Severson scored the game-tying goal and 30 seconds later Aaron Guillickson scored what would be the eventual game-winner.
“I felt like we looked sluggish,” coach Sean Hogan said. “It looked like January, every year in January it’s up-and-down (hockey).”
Hogan’s January record at Ohio currently stands at 15-10-1 and with four more games remaining this month, Ohio has more than enough opportunities to get back into the same groove it was in during the first half of the season.
The key struggle in the Bobcats loss was a lack of a defensive swarming in its own zone. The Cyclones tying goal in the third period came off of a “back door tap-in” or rather, the skater circled the net and scored on a wrap.
“We need to continue to play with a little more energy in our d-zone,” Hogan said.
Along with more energy, the Bobcats’ penalty kill unit stuttered throughout the game. After it killed the first two penalties of the night, the PK faltered and let in two goals.
Two roughing calls at 16:13 in the second period sent Ohio and Iowa State forwards Zach Frank and Tony Uglem to the penalty box and 1:39 into the 4-on-4 action, Ohio forward Mike Palasics joined Frank in the box on a boarding call.
Where the Bobcats fell in special teams, they also made up for as the power play unit was rather potent in Saturday’s league loss that included goals scored by Bryan Lubin and Matt Rudin.
Overall in terms of special teams, good wasn’t good enough and Hogan says the mental workload will increase in practice in the upcoming weeks.
“The best way to teach the penalty kill is by watching more video,” Hogan said. “During this week we will watch more video than we have before.”
With frustrations mounting, Ohio has the chance to push through them as it hosts Pittsburgh this coming weekend.