Ohio went on the road to Lynchburg, Virginia, and defeated Liberty on Friday and Saturday nights to improve to 10-1-1 on the season.
Early scores and good goalkeeping helped the Bobcats improve to 3-0-1 on the road this season.
No official word for goalies
On the weekend road trip, Ohio only gave up two goals. The man stopping the other 35 shots from going into the net was freshman Jimmy Thomas rather than senior Aaron Alkema.
This weekend marked Thomas’ seventh and eighth starts of the season, and his sixth and seventh win.
Although Thomas has gotten the majority of the starts this season, coach Sean Hogan still has not made a decision on who will start in net moving forward and likely will keep it a secret as the season moves along.
Hogan did not name a starter, but spoke highly of the way Thomas has been playing in the net, as well as the team effort when Thomas plays.
“Friday night, we go up 3-0, and then they get a powerplay goal to make it 3-1, and Jimmy made some big saves after that,” Hogan said. “If they would’ve scored one of those goals and made it 3-2, then momentum slides.”
Third line a key moving forward
One area the Bobcats are not lacking and no questions are being raised is the third line.
The third line combination of Mike Palasics, Tyler Harkins and Gianni Evangelisti has grabbed the attention of Hogan and the coaching staff with its play.
Evangelisti is riding an eight-game point streak, with 16 points and a hat trick during the streak.
He had a goal Friday night, and he and Palasics both had goals Saturday night in the wins over Liberty. Harkins added an assist on Evangelisti’s goal Friday night.
“The third line makes our team so much deeper,” Hogan said. “Gianni has been putting up points and Mikey (Palasics) has been playing really well, and Tyler Harkins as well.”
Early leads well in rough atmosphere
Ohio jumped out to lead in the first period of each game over the weekend, which was key in an arena Hogan described as “awesome.” With crowd noise, a instant replay jumbotron and a lively atmosphere, LaHaye Ice Center is not friendly to opposing teams.
The Bobcats did everything they could to combat that, as they scored on a powerplay goal from Joey Breslin less than three minutes into Friday night’s game and scored one minute into Saturday night’s action.
Ohio went on to build a 5-0 lead in the first game and a 3-0 lead in the second, never letting the Liberty crowd into the game.