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Ohio senior defender Paul Sergi has scored six goals and tallied eight assists so far this season for the Bobcat hockey team and has helped them to a 12-2-2 record. 

A star on both sides of the ice

The Bobcats’ senior defenseman is currently third on team in points.

 

It was the end of the second weekend of the season when Ohio had welcomed Pittsburgh to Bird Arena by throttling them in back-to-back games.

Among the names contributing to that scoring outburst, many were recognizable shooters for the Bobcats. 

One of those names, however, hadn’t found the scoresheet regularly in the past. 

Paul Sergi, a senior defensemen for the Bobcats, plays a position that does not call for much offensive firepower.

Yet, there he was at the top of the statsheet, lighting Pittsburgh up with back-to-back two point nights. The next Friday, West Virginia came to town, and Sergi added two points again. With three straight two-point games, he had seven points on the season, tied for the most on the team through the first three weeks.

It would be easy to write off Sergi’s offensive surge as being nothing more than a product of a team-wide offensive breakout — that is if he had cooled off in the following weeks. But, he didn’t. 

He’s scored seven more points in the five weeks since that hot start, matching pace with Ohio’s standout forwards Patrick Spellacy and Nathan De La Torre, and blowing away the scoring paces of the team’s other defenseman.

Sergi’s total stands at 14 points — six goals and eight assists — following the very low-scoring weekend against Lindenwood.

“It’s pretty difficult to do what he does,” Ohio defenseman and team captain Michael Kretz said. “Our main job is to keep the puck out of our own net, and it’s always a plus when a defenseman scores a goal. We’ve faced some teams this season that do a great job of blocking shots, and Paul’s done a great job of getting the pucks through to the net.”

Sergi is a native of Mississauga, Ontario in Canada, and played high school hockey at St. Aloysius Gonzaga. After graduating, he remained in Ontario for three years, playing junior hockey for the Kitchener Dutchmen of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League. It was in Kitchener where he was put in contact with Dan Morris, the coach for Ohio at the time, who helped persuade him to play for the Bobcats.

Two years later, current coach Sean Hogan couldn’t be more pleased with Sergi’s decision to play for the Bobcats.

“He makes our jobs as coaches a lot easier,” Hogan said. “He does a great job buying into our system, and he’s a great leader.”

Less than halfway into the season, Sergi’s 14 points are already five points higher than his previous career best scoring total at Ohio — and it’s only November. He isn’t, however, a complete stranger to offensive breakouts. In his second season with Kitchener, Sergi racked up 35 points (nine goals and 26 assists) in 46 games, all from the defenseman position.

“The coaches have come in here and given me more responsibilities and given me more chances to succeed,” Sergi said. “The style makes me focus on skating more, getting with the puck and joining the rush. When you’re doing that, it makes everyone a bigger part of the play and gives everyone more chances to score.”

While the offensive stats are certainly impressive, they shouldn’t take away or distract from how fundamentally sound Sergi is at his position on defense. His experience and technique at his position plays a key role on the staunch and unyielding Ohio defense that has allowed just 19 points in 18 games this season.

“His habits are fantastic,” Hogan said. “Ninety-nine percent of the time, he makes the right play, and gets the little things right. He reads the ice really well, reads power plays well, and best of all he gets pucks into the net.”

Even given his rare and increasingly impressive stat line, it’s his contributions to the final score of each game — not his final stat sheet — that are clearly what Sergi is most focused on when discussing his play on the ice.

“All the personal stuff that’s happening is nice, but at the end of the day, you’re not going to remember any of the individual recognition,” Sergi said. “It’s all about the team right now. As long as the team keeps winning, everybody’s happy.”

@_Tonywolfe_

aw987712@ohio.edu

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