Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” played from the Ohio locker room Saturday night after the Bobcats' win. The night before, the room had been silent.
No. 4 Ohio followed a humbling 3-2 loss Friday with a 5-1 win Saturday to earn a series split at Bird Arena against the University of Jamestown.
Friday’s loss will likely cost the Bobcats a few spots in the rankings, but coach Sean Hogan was at least pleased at the way his team responded Saturday.
“I thought it showed a lot about our character,” Hogan said. “Because we were feeling pretty bad about ourselves (Friday) night.”
The Bobcats were outhit and outworked against the Jimmies in the first game, starting with a Jamestown goal less than three minutes in.
Ohio took its first home loss since Nov. 20, 2015 against Robert Morris (Illinois). It was also Ohio’s first regulation loss this season.
On Saturday, Jamestown nearly jumped ahead early again with a shot that rung off the post in the opening minute. But after the first five minutes, in which the Bobcats took just one shot on net, the game changed.
Jake Houston’s low slapshot on the penalty killed broke the scoreless tie midway through the first, and Tom Pokorney added a goal of his own 70 seconds later. One night after scoring just twice — the lowest for Ohio this season — the Bobcats scored five to take a comfortable win.
“We got our confidence back,” Hogan said.
Evangelisti continues to roll
Routine must be an important thing for freshman forward Gianni Evangelisti.
As a new student on campus and new player on the team, he needed some time to figure out where his classes were, when practice was and generally how his schedule was set up.
As his comfort level off the ice has grown, so has his role on the ice. Evangelisti has been otherworldly on the stat sheet in the past three weekends and now leads the Bobcats in scoring with 14 points in 10 games.
“The first couple weeks, you try to find a routine,” he said. “So you’re a little uncomfortable. These last couple weeks, I feel like I’ve really settled in at school, and that’s translated to on-ice success.”
In the past six games, Evangelisti has registered a hat trick, four multi-point nights and 13 total points. He doesn’t credit anyone specifically for helping him thrive because he’s been “playing with just about everyone.”
It’s true. Hogan has mixed his lines several times to try to see what works best for perhaps the highest-skilled lineup he’s had in his three years as coach.
Evangelisti, like most of the other players, bounces around on even strength and spends time on the penalty kill and powerplay.
One aspect of his game he’s not particularly high on is his physicality. But even as one of the shorter players — listed at 5-foot-10 on the hockey team’s website — he uses his speed to deliver hits when the opportunity arises.
“I find that the more I check, the more often I get hurt,” he said. “But I’m going to work hard. If the check’s there, I’m going to take the check.”