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Mike LaFrenier takes the puck down the ice during the game against the Pitt Panthers. The Bobcats won 7-1 on Sept. 26.

Ohio faces toughest challenge to date in Robert Morris

Bobcats set out on first full road weekend of season against nation’s No. 2 team.

Last weekend’s series split could be looked at several ways.

It included the Bobcats getting their first loss out of the way, but it could also serve as lost momentum from an unblemished start.

However it’s looked at, one fact doesn’t change. It’s over, and now Ohio must turn its attention forward at the most challenging opponent of the season thus far.

Ohio (5-1) will hit the road Friday for a two-game series against No. 2 Robert Morris (6-0). It is the first full weekend the Bobcats have spent on the road this season, after playing a home-and-home series with West Virginia last weekend. The Eagles will also be the first team the Bobcats have faced with whom coach Sean Hogan has experience coaching against.

Hogan wants to continue the physical game-plan at both ends of the ice that he’s implemented in the first six games.

“We’re going to tighten up our d-zone for sure,” Hogan said. “We worked on some skill stuff, making the other guys move around more and not playing so much stationary hockey. Other than that, the game plan is the same.”

Ohio has dominated in every one of its wins this season and even — in many ways — its one loss. The Bobcats have given up no more than 15 shots in any of its games and have not been held to a shot total of less than 40. The Bobcats have yet to allow more than one goal in a game as well.

As Saturday showed, a great shooting performance by Ohio doesn’t guarantee a victory and in a game against a team like Robert Morris, a fact like that will only be magnified.

“I think it’ll be a matter of playing good, disciplined hockey,” goalie Aaron Alkema said. “One thing Hogan wanted to emphasize after this past weekend was focusing on the little things. At this point in the season, if we’re able to hammer down those little details, I think that’ll make the difference.”

Depth has shown through for the Bobcats to this point in the season, something showcased last Friday, when eight different players scored goals in Ohio’s 8-1 victory. Joe Breslin and Paul Sergi (a defenseman) are currently tied at the top of the team’s scorers with seven points.

Michael Harris, Nathan De La Torre, and Liam Geither each have six points.

Robert Morris has a similar structure, with plenty of scoring depth from top to bottom.

Eagles forward Derek Winkler will enter this weekend with 10 points (two goals and eight assists), leading an impressive total of ten players who have at least six points through the first six games.

“It’s definitely a case of not having to worry about who’s on the ice,” Alkema said. “You don’t have to worry about one superstar player, but every guy out there can be dangerous. You have to be aware at all times.”


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