In the span of four days, the Bobcats will have traveled 1,482 miles, played two league games and, pending the outcome of the weekend, clinched at least a share of the regular season league title.
Scouting the opponent
In the most dreaded of all the away games, No. 4 Ohio will have to be at its best against No. 13 Iowa State.
The 12-hour bus ride to Ames, Iowa, home to the Cyclones, is not ideal for the Bobcats.
“We need to fly,” coach Sean Hogan said. “It’s a long 12 hours, but it is what it is.”
Iowa State (15-14-2) sits at third place in the most current Central States Collegiate Hockey League rankings.
In the 2018 calendar year, the Cyclones have been an average team at 5-5-2, including a split series with Ohio. Hogan sees a lot of commonalties between the Cyclones and the Bobcats despite the Cyclones' lackluster record.
“They’re very similar to us structurally,” Hogan said. “We run the same neutral zone, the same forecheck and the same regroup.”
Tasked with finding a way to defeat themselves, essentially, the Bobcats will have to harness their speed as they have done the last 34 games.
“For us to have success, if we can get pucks behind the defensemen, if we’re on the forecheck, we’re really hard to beat,” Hogan said.
Ohio, which defeated Iowa State 5-0 on Jan. 12, will have to rely on its speed and quick skaters to differentiate itself from its carbon-copy opponent.
“Where I think we have an advantage of them is that I think we’re a little quicker than them,” Hogan said. “It was pretty evident in our (5-0) win.”
Ohio in 2018
Through six weeks of play into the new year, the Bobcats are 8-3-1 and in second place in the CSCHL. With just a win in regulation over Iowa State, Ohio can clinch a co-CSCHL regular season title with Lindenwood.
After a slow start, the Bobcats rode a six-game win streak that includes a sweep of CSCHL rival Robert Morris-Illinois and a split series with Illinois.
This weekend is the final one of the regular season for the Bobcats, but hockey isn’t over just yet.
Bird Arena will host the CSCHL league tournament from Feb. 23-25, and Ohio will have earned a seed in the American Collegiate Hockey Association’s national tournament held in Columbus.
Injuries and sideliners
The Bobcats’ road to weekend success will be a bit more difficult than it has been the last two weeks; at best, they’ll have 20 skaters dressed and ready to play.
- Freshman forward Kyle Craddick is expected to still be out with a lower-body injury. Craddick, who hasn’t played since Dec. 1, is hopeful to make a return in time for post-season play.
- Sophomore defenseman Jake Houston is questionable because of an upper-body injury.
- Junior defenseman Tom Pokorney will serve a two-game suspension after he received his second disqualification. Pokorney’s first disqualification came on Jan. 6 against Lindenwood. At the halfway mark in the second period of Ohio’s game against Illinois on Saturday, Pokorney received a head contact major — and his second disqualification.