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Diego Breckenridge catches the puck while his teammate is checked by an opponent during a scrimmage on Sept. 11. 

Hockey Notebook: Ohio feeling confident heading into first weekend of play

With season opener on Friday, Ohio prepares to face annual foe John Carroll.

In coach Sean Hogan’s second season, he can point to one word heading into Ohio's opening weekend that characterizes this year: confidence.

“We’re confident. The main difference between last year and this year is the majority of our team knows what to expect, and what’s going on,” Hogan said.

Based on evaluations during the preseason, Hogan feels the Bobcats are ready for Friday's annual matchup with the John Carroll Blue Streaks. 

“I thought practice was real high-tempo Tuesday," Hogan said of this week's practice. "Guys are moving around. They’re excited.”

Confident Cats

While the excitement of opening night in Bird Arena can possibly lead to jittery play, Hogan is attempting to keep his team focused on what they do best.

“We want to play fast, physical hockey. We want to wear down our opponents,” Hogan said. “We want to have the puck much more than the other team, and that’s how you win long term.”

The Bobcats could have reasons to be confident this season, as the entire top line of senior captain Michael Harris and juniors Joey Breslin and Patrick Spellacy return to the Bobcats. The three led Ohio in scoring last season.

“Harris is poised to have a big year, and that whole line is as well,” Hogan said.

Both starting goalies, juniors Aaron Alkema and Ryan Heltion, have returned from last season. Both posted goals against averages below two last season.

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An unpredictable weekend

Ohio's goalie situation is still up in the air. When asked about who will start against John Carroll, Hogan cracked a smile and said, “We don’t know yet.”

Hogan said he’d like to have two of the three goalies play this weekend, but decided to keep his decisions close to the chest.

No changes have been finalized in the forward lines either, except for the top line of Harris, Breslin and Spellacy.

John Carroll's lineup also enters the week as an unknown, with Hogan only expecting two "hard fought" games.

“They’re surprising every year,” Hogan said. “They’re pretty tough to play against because they don’t quit. We expect a battle, and we’re gonna have to come ready to play.”


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