Ryan Heltion, team passing looks shaky in exhibition game
Sophomore forward Drew Crandall glided across the neutral zone at Bird Area, and senior forward Diego Breckenridge couldn’t contain himself any longer.
Breckenridge used his shoulder to drop Crandall on his backside, inviting a collective “oh” from the crowd. Crandall got up and, when the play was blown dead, skated over to Breckenridge and gave a quick jab of retaliation with his stick.
“We’ll hit each other, we’ll be mad for about 10 minutes, and then we’ll get in the locker room and love each other again,” Crandall said. “It’s just part of the game.”
An otherwise hitting-free game — because all the participants are teammates — ended Friday night with "Team Green" (wearing black jerseys) defeating "Team White", 3-2, in Ohio’s annual intra-squad exhibition.
Ohio coach Sean Hogan made sure to clarify after the game that no contact between players was meant to be harmful.
“They were hitting trying to win puck battles,” he said. “They compete against one another — they don’t want to lose.”
Senior forward Derek Rahme, who netted two goals, said the biggest positive from the scrimmage was the team’s willingness to play at a competitive level.
“It doesn’t matter that both jerseys say Ohio,” Rahme said.
Early season sloppiness
When junior goalie Ryan Heltion let a weak wrist shot graze under his arm, part of a tough night in which he allowed four of the five total goals, Hogan gave him the benefit of the doubt.
Heltion did in fact finish third in the American Collegiate Hockey Association last season with a 1.50 goals against average.
Hogan was less forgiving when it came to poor passing in the defensive zone, such as a couple breakdowns that led to goals at Heltion’s expense.
But even then, Hogan understands that further game experience will help tighten that up. The players have time to work on crisp passing and other tedious aspects of their game in the coming week.
They’ll also be able to check their calendars and see, for the first time this semester, a real opponent -- John Carroll University -- coming up next Friday.
“We’ve been waiting since that last (ACHA national quarterfinal) game against Minot State to get back at it and it feels good,” Rahme said. “I’m excited for next week. I want to start tomorrow.”