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Ohio junior Matthew Hartman tries to handle the puck around Liberty's goal at Bird Arena on Jan. 15. Ohio hockey will play its final games of the season this weekend.

Hockey: Ohio splits series with Robert Morris earning second seed in playoffs

Ohio split the weekend series with Robert Morris, finishing the season 28-8-1.

Heading into the regular season’s final weekend, Ohio needed a little help from Lindenwood to earn the No. 1 seed in the Central States Collegiate Hockey League playoffs and to win the league for a second year in a row.

Ohio got the help it needed Friday when Lindenwood lost to Iowa State, putting Ohio (28-8-1) in prime position to win its second-consecutive title with a sweep of Robert Morris.

Ohio, however, was not able to get the sweep needed to secure the top seed, falling 6-3 Friday to Robert Morris, though the Bobcats defeated the Colonials 5-2 Saturday.

The Bobcats will be the second seed heading into the league playoffs. Ohio has a bye Friday, before traveling to Ames, Iowa, to play No. 3 seed Iowa State on Saturday.

“The difference between one, two and three isn’t a ton, because you get to skip that first game,” Ohio coach Sean Hogan said. “The only thing is, we wanted to win the league two years in a row as regular season champions.”

After losing Friday, the Bobcats rebounded Saturday to defeat the Colonials, playing as Hogan would emphasize, “much better,” in clinching the second seed in the league.

After giving up the first goal of the evening, Ohio outscored Robert Morris the rest of the way, finishing the game with three unanswered goals.

Senior forward Derek Rahme led the Bobcats in points Saturday, tallying three assists during the game.

“They got the first goal. We thought the net was off, but that kind of energized us,” Hogan said. “We played much, much better tonight than we did (Friday).”

Hogan complimented Ohio's ability to utilize the penalty kill, saying it did a “great job” killing off multiple penalties. Robert Morris went 1-12 with the power play during the weekend.

Friday night, however, was not as kind to the Bobcats, as they fell 6-3 to the Colonials and out of the top spot in the league.

“It was a lot like what happened in the first period against Illinois. We just were not ready to go,” Hogan said. “They scored three goals in about six minutes and we never quite got going.”

The Colonials opened Friday's game scoring three times, jumping out to a lead that the Bobcats weren’t able to reverse.

Hogan said the Bobcats missed crucial opportunities late in the third period. Ohio has lost four out of its last nine games.

"We battled back," Hogan said. "We were only down one and in the third period it was 4-3. We missed two breakaways. We hit two posts.”

Ohio rallied to cut the game to a one-goal deficit. It scored three of the next four goals with the help of the second line — Matt Rudin, Matt Hartman and Liam Geither — only to see Robert Morris score twice in the third to put the game away.

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With the weekend split, Ohio remains in second place in the league standings, earning a game against host Iowa State at the ISU Ice Arena. Ohio swept Iowa State in the four games they played earlier this season.

“That’ll be tough, but we can beat them,” Hogan said. “We’ve shown that we can beat them and we’ll make sure we’re ready to go.”


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