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Ohio junior Derek Rahme fights for the puck in a game against Canisius College in Oct. 2013. (Katie Klann | File Photo)

Hockey: Ohio sends Rahme to defense for national tournament

Injuries force Bobcats to adjust defensive lineup prior to ACHA National Tournament.

After a week off from American Collegiate Hockey Association play, the Bobcats (26-7-5) will begin the most important weekend of their entire season with an unfamiliar face on defense.

Junior forward Derek Rahme will be making the switch from offense to defense to give Ohio seven blue-liners when the ACHA National Tournament begins this weekend, according to coach Sean Hogan.

The move comes after senior defenseman Tyler Benson was injured while playing for the USA national team, as he is unlikely to see regular ice time while still attempting to get back to his full form.

Injuries and other issues this season have thinned Ohio’s roster of defensemen. Reilly Moore has not played since the Bobcats’ December series against Davenport, while Graham Harwood suffered a season-ending injury in the last weekend of the regular season against Illinois.

Hogan likes what he’s seen out of Rahme so far in his new position and intends on using him solely as a defenseman for nationals. The 6-foot, 165-pounder’s only experience on defense this season came at the Central States Collegiate Hockey League playoff tournament two weeks ago.

Rahme doesn’t feel like a player heading into unfamiliar territory, however, when he takes the ice as a defenseman.

“It’s been my natural position since I was about 10 years old,” said Rahme, who only began playing forward last season at Ohio because of an opportunity to gain more ice time.

As the seventh defenseman in the rotation, he will most likely split time with Jake Faiella on the third defensive pairing. If an injury was to happen or Benson was unable to play, Rahme would be called upon to fill a full-time role.

Rahme, who has 11 points (four goals and seven assists) in 34 games this season, said the only things that separate the other defensemen from himself are the differing styles of play and details that he isn’t quite used to after playing for the majority of his Ohio career.

“It’s kind of showed in practice sometimes — I look a little weird out there compared to the guys that have been doing it all year,” he said, “But besides that, I know where to be and I kind of understand the game from that point of view.”

@JordanHorrobin

jh950614@ohio.edu

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