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Ohio's Patrick Spellacy, left, tries to keep Kent State from scoring during the game on Sept. 30, 2016. Ohio won 4-0. (EMILY MATTHEWS | PHOTO EDITOR)

Hockey: Thomas gets first career shutout, Bobcats sweep Kent State

Ohio moved to 4-0 this season after a 4-0 shutout Friday followed by a 4-2 thriller Saturday to top Kent State.

The close game Saturday against the Golden Flashes could provide valuable experience for the No. 7 ranked Bobcats, who will take on the No. 8 Colorado Buffaloes this weekend.

Thomas gets the shutout

Jimmy Thomas got the first start of his career between the pipes Friday and handled the moment well. Thomas did not allow a goal on any of the 11 Kent State shots that came his way in the Bobcats' 4-0 win.

He looked comfortable in the position and showed potential as the starting goalie for next year. Thomas said getting the first start under his belt was a good experience for himself moving forward.

“I’m floating on cloud nine right now,” he said post-game. “I came out strong, played the puck well and my teammates gave me a lot of blocked shots. Obviously I was nervous (playing in first game) but I feel like the team played really well defensively.”

Coach Sean Hogan was pleased with Thomas’ performance.

“Jimmy’s a good goalie,” Hogan said. “They had a couple of point blank chances that he made saves on. I’m proud of him.”

One area the freshman Thomas looked like a veteran in was retrieving pucks from behind the net. He worked on that aspect last week in practice and showed his ability Friday night.

“That’s always been one of my strengths,” Thomas said. “Playing the puck is one of my favorite things to do. You can get out of the crease and get a little face time.”

Hazel continues offensive show

One welcome surprise for the Bobcats through four games has been defenseman Grant Hazel's offensive showing.

He tallied only nine points all season last year, but through two weekend games Hazel is up to six points through four games this season, including a second period goal in the Bobcats 4-2 win Saturday night.

“I’ve just been getting my shots off a little quicker this year,” Hazel said. “I think I have had a little better opportunities.”

Experience has played a part, and Hazel knows what to expect after having a full year under his belt.

“I’m knowing what I’m getting into now this year versus being a freshman last year,” Hazel said. “Knowing the ins and outs a little better and the style of play helps.”

Spellacy returns to the ice

In last season’s American Collegiate Hockey Association National Tournament, Patrick Spellacy was ejected from the first-round game and suspended two games.

After serving his suspension in the opening series against John Carroll, Spellacy was back on the ice to face Kent State.

He capped off the Bobcats 4-2 win Saturday night with an empty net goal in the third period.

Other than the goal scored, Spellacy said he brought a few other things to the ice after his absence in the first two games.

“(Just bringing) experience being in a close game,” Spellacy said. “Leadership and a physical presence (on the ice).”

@spencerholbrook

sh690914@ohio.edu

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