Last season, Ohio was swept in its season finale —its seniors’ last memories of Bird Arena tarnished as a result.
But the Bobcats redeemed themselves at the expense of Kent State this weekend, winning 8-1 Friday night and 7-3 Saturday.
Five different Bobcats scored goals and all of Ohio’s senior skaters registered a point in the Saturday night victory. Senior captain Mark Tracy said the win was the perfect ending to a four-year career with the Bobcats.
“Last year we weren’t fortunate enough to give our team that same opportunity,” he said. “This year we ended on a good foot … It was incredible.”
Senior Steve Osacky scored the first of the evening with a blast from the point at the 2:27 mark and his defensive partner Zack Barbis put Ohio up 2-0 just over five minutes. Then John Luciana chased KSU starting goaltender Tim Fitzgerald with a goal 30 seconds later.
Zander Dover and Luciana both beat replacement netminder Tyler Ross to give Ohio a 5-0 lead after 20 minutes.
Senior Billy Hemann scored the lone Bobcat goal of the second, exploiting Ross on an odd-man rush and roofing a wrist-shot glove-side.
“It was the greatest feeling ever getting that goal,” Hemann said.
But Kent State added a pair from Andy Hanno and Mike Lepre to wrap up the second down 6-2.
Bobcat winger Alex DiMassa notched a goal 3:30 into the third period. But Kent State’s Justin Phenney scored a consolation goal in the waning minutes of the game.
Ohio coach Dan Morris said he was proud of the way his team played and managed the nostalgic feelings.
“We didn’t want to let the emotions of the night to take over and forget we had to actually a hockey game,” he said. “I thought we got off to a good start and used that emotion in a good way.”