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Ohio's Grant Hazel tries to control the puck against Liberty defenders at Bird Arena on Jan. 15. (FILE)

Hockey: Ohio stunned in first round of the ACHA Tournament

Ohio got off to slow start and couldn't recover, falling to Lebanon Valley 3-2.

BENSENVILLE, Illinois — The Bobcats sat in disbelief.

Some put their heads down, some stared into blank space and others burst into tears. It wasn’t supposed to end this way.

The scoreboard hurt to look at, but yet there it sat.

Lebanon Valley 3, Ohio 2.

“It’s just disappointing," coach Sean Hogan said. "It’s hard to put into words. You work so hard for a season, you make the national tournament, and you lose in the first round and you’re done.”

A season that began with national championship aspirations ended Saturday with a wave of Ohio forwards shooting everything toward the Lebanon Valley net, only to see them blocked away.

The Flying Dutchmen's goalie, Chase Wilson, stole the show, turning away 48 of the Bobcats 50 shots.

“I’d say the puck was in their zone about 70 percent of the time,” junior forward Joey Breslin said. “We just couldn’t find one. Their goalie played a hell of a game.”

No. 7 Ohio controlled possession for the majority of the game, but was unable to solve Wilson's outstanding play in net. Even with the consistent pressure, the Flying Dutchmen's defense held strong, clearing the puck even if it meant an icing call to prevent a Bobcat chance.

“They didn’t have a lot of good breakouts, but they boxed out and they blocked shots," Hogan said. "Give credit to them. We worked hard, we just couldn’t find the net.”

The Bobcats entered the game without knowing much about Lebanon Valley and Wilson, as the schools have never faced one another. But Ohio offered no excuses for the loss, even with notable names absent from the lineup.

Seniors Diego Breckenridge and Tyler Pecka did not play Saturday for the Bobcats. Hogan did not elaborate on the reason as to why.

With those two not in the lineup, Ohio stumbled early.

The No. 10 Flying Dutchmen jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the game’s first 10 minutes, only to see Breslin and Gabe Lampron score in the second and third periods, respectively, to tie the game at two.

“They just had a fast start,” freshman forward Lampron said. “We didn’t match their intensity until about halfway through the first, and I thought we controlled the game for the most part.”

Lebanon Valley later drew a five-minute major from junior forward Patrick Spellacy, a penalty that drew ire from the Bobcats. The Flying Dutchmen scored during a four-on-four with 5:26 left to seal the win.

Ohio would threaten late, throwing everything it had at the Lebanon Valley net, only to be continually turned away by Wilson.

“I thought we deserved to win the hockey game," Hogan said. "That’s the hard thing with single elimination tournaments. You play so hard and they get a couple bounces they get goals on.”

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Ohio’s dream of adding a national title banner to the rafters at Bird Arena will have to wait until at least next year, a tough thing for the Bobcats to endure.

The single elimination style burned the Bobcats who don’t have a chance to redeem themselves the next day, or the next week.

“We lost in the first round my first year, second round my second year, and first round this year,” Breslin said. “It’s tough to put into words.”

@AGill072

ag079513@ohio.edu

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