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Ohio forward Diego Breckenridge gets ready to shoot the puck into Iowa State University's goal to score Ohio's second goal of the game on Dec. 4, 2015. Ohio won 5-3. 

Hockey: Ohio uses balanced attack to get season sweep over Liberty

Ohio got contributions from all over the lineup to get the weekend sweep over No. 16 Liberty.

This season, opponents typically have had trouble containing Ohio’s offense led by an overpowering top line attack from senior Michael Harris and juniors Joey Breslin and Patrick Spellacy.

Over the weekend against No. 16 Liberty, every line pitched in a goal in an effort unlikely to be thwarted by even the best of defensive teams.

The Bobcats (23-4-1) used their balanced attack to get a season sweep over the Flames (10-13-1).

“Any of our lines can get the job done on any given night,” junior forward Matt Hartman said. “Not all four lines are going to be steaming hot, but as long as we got a couple lines that are rolling we should be in good shape.”

The No. 7 Bobcats exit the weekend with a staggering +86 in goal differential, meaning that in 28 games they have averaged a victory over their opponents of 3.07 goals per game.

On Saturday, Ohio cleaned up its defensive errors from the previous night and successfully was able to penalty kill at the end to defeat Liberty 4-2.

“We were much better tonight, I think all-around,” coach Sean Hogan said. “Defensively we were really good, they had some opportunities, but Aces (junior goaltender Aaron Alkema) was good in net, and he was better in net than he was Friday for sure.”

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Saturday was Alkema’s fourth-consecutive start, a season-high for the goalie.

“I think he’s playing really well. He’s practicing really well, too,” Hogan said. “Of the three, he’s doing the right thing, but that can change at any time.”

The back-and-forth game was not decided until the third period, ultimately put away by a 3-on-3 goal from freshman forward Matt Rudin.

Rudin put an impressive deke on the goaltender and put the Bobcats up 4-2, ending an already impressive weekend for the second line.

“Me, (Matt Hartman) and (Liam Geither), we’re not the biggest of guys, but we dominate teams down low,” Rudin said. “Our speed is a key to our line, and if we use it we create great opportunities for ourselves.”

The Bobcats received some good news Saturday, as it was found out that junior defenseman Graham Harwood, who had to be stretchered off the ice Friday due to a back and head injury, has a concussion and will be fine, according to Hogan.

The second line was an impressive unit Friday, as well, helping the Bobcats defeat the Flames 6-4.

Liberty pushed the game to a tie in the second period with three goals, but Ohio came out in the third and dominated from the jump, outscoring the Flames 3-1, and outshooting them 16-1.

“It’s not gonna be pretty every game,” Hartman said. “I didn’t think we had our best game, but we stuck to the grind zone in the third, we kept our heads, we played hard, and we just ended up getting rewarded.”

The Bobcats found a way to win Friday, their seventh win in eight games.


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