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Ohio defender Mike Kretz (#4) tries to skate past a Mercyhurst player in their game on Saturday night at Bird Arena. 

Hockey-Bobcats sweep Lakers, remain undefeated at home

Michael Harris powers Ohio’s offense to a pair of wins against Mercyhurst with four goals on the weekend.

 

The Bobcats almost started their Thanksgiving break early.

But after struggling through first period ties in both games this weekend, Ohio’s offense broke open to topple Mercyhurst by scores of 8-2 on Friday and 3-0 on Saturday.

Mercyhurst came into the weekend as the winner of four of its past five games and kept up with No. 4 Ohio early in both games.

The Lakers took the first eight shots of Friday’s contest and controlled the puck for most of the first period. The Bobcats would eventually return to their puck-possession strategy, but the score after one period was tied at two apiece. 

Ohio (16-2-2) took over the next two periods of play by outshooting Mercyhurst 28-9 and scoring six times to easily walk away with a victory. 

The slow start was disappointing in the eyes of coach Sean Hogan, who said the team didn’t do a lot of good things in the game. He suggested that coming off a huge weekend against then-No. 4 Lindenwood might have resulted in Ohio not coming out as hard to start the first game. 

Michael Harris charged Ohio’s offense with two goals and an assist in Friday’s win. He netted two more in Saturday’s 3-0 victory to become the Central States Collegiate Hockey League goal leader with 14 this season. Harris also sits tied for second in the league’s scoring race at 24 points with Joey Breslin.

“That’s what I’m here for – shooting the puck and hitting people,” Harris said. “It’s a great feeling.”

Saturday’s shutout victory featured a much more defensively sound Ohio team from start to finish. The Bobcats yielded only nine shots to the Lakers the entire game.

Ohio still faced many frustrations offensively, but used its physicality to help overcome the challenges.

The scrappiest and perhaps smallest player on the ice for the Bobcats, Matthew Hartman, never shied away from being aggressive. The 5-foot-8 forward took two roughing penalties in the second period of Saturday’s game that provided energy for his teammates to score the game’s first goal shortly thereafter.

“I just try to get the guys really going when I’m (being physical),” Hartman said. “I try to get everyone energized and ready to play hard.” 

On the weekend, 30 minor penalties were doled out to Ohio and Mercyhurst. In addition, Saturday’s game ended with a skirmish that resulted in three major penalties handed out per side.

Most coaches would be concerned with that number of penalties, but Hogan sees it as hard work rather than a lack of discipline. He pointed out that tripping and slashing penalties are not the type that he wants to be giving up, but sometimes roughing penalties are results of playing hard.

Hogan rewarded his team with the entire week off as Ohio heads into the long Thanksgiving weekend. One of the more appreciative players was the hardworking Hartman.

“A lot of boys are looking forward to (the break),” Hartman said. “Just getting back with the family. … and getting your legs back for the second part of the season.”

@JordanHorrobin

jh950614@ohio.edu

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