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Bobcats celebrate after scoring their second goal of their game against John Carroll University at Bird Arena on September 19, 2014. 

Pecka is overtime hero in game one, Ohio dominates in game two

Pecka becomes overtime hero in game one, Ohio dominates in game two

 

The matchups surrounding a team’s big game can be just as important as the action itself.

The week in advance, there’s the risk of a team overlooking its opponent to get to the next week. The week after, there’s a risk the team will have its guard down having gotten its big target out of the way.

Ohio finished proving it was capable of avoiding those risks this weekend, when it followed up its 1-0-1 weekend at No. 2 Robert Morris with a sweep of No. 25 Syracuse. The Orange forced overtime in Friday’s game, only to have the Bobcats prevail 1-0. Ohio then dominated Saturday’s action, claiming a 5-1 victory.

“We’re still playing well defensively,” coach Sean Hogan said. “That’s what you need to be successful long-term. There’s a big difference in consistently winning games 5-1 or 6-1 and winning games 5-4 or 6-4. That’s a really good sign of where we’re at right now.”

Friday’s game saw a strong showing from both goalies, as the Bobcats failed to generate any goals out of 40 shots during regulation. Ohio goalie Ryan Heltion, meanwhile, got his third start of the season, and shut out Syracuse with 14 saves.

The teams took a scoreless game into overtime, when a Syracuse forward committed a holding penalty, allowing Ohio to take over on a power play. The first shot on that power play, coming off the stick of junior Tyler Pecka, went sailing past the Orange keeper, giving the Bobcats the win.

“We work on power plays a lot in practice,” Pecka said. “We’re going against our own guys, which is probably our best competition. If we can get it done in practice, there’s no reason we can’t get it done in games. It’s just a matter of being able to execute.”

The second game of the series played out much differently for the Bobcats, as a hat trick by forward Nathan De La Torre gave the offense a boost, leading to a 5-1 Ohio win.

It took less than ten minutes for the Bobcats to get on the scoreboard on Saturday night, as the team’s leading goal-scorer, Joe Breslin and De La Torre came up with back-to-back goals to quickly give the Bobcats a 2-0 lead.

The Bobcats weren’t finished with their dominant first period play yet, however, as Michael Harris stepped up with a long-range goal with less than four minutes to play in the period.

Ohio’s offense was all De La Torre from then out. The senior struck his second goal of the game, just ahead of the only Orange score of the weekend.

De La Torre completed the hat trick with 7:46 remaining in the third period, giving the Bobcats a 5-1 lead that stuck until the end of the game.

“I think it all started on our defensive zone,” De La Torre said. “We were a little sharper (Saturday), and that led to more offensive chances. We tried to work the puck down low and get them out of position, and I think that’s what helped a lot our shots get through tonight.”

Scott Boyd got the win for Ohio on Saturday night, stopping 21 of 22 shots that came his way.

Ohio will begin a two week road trip next weekend as it leaves to face Illinois.

AW987712@OHIO.EDU

@_TONYWOLFE_

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