Cody Black was exhausted when he stepped off the ice Friday night at Bird Arena. The captain and a handful of other skaters scored goal after goal in No. 5 Ohio’s 10-0 rout over John Carroll.
What made Black’s goal so unique was the fact it was the Bobcats' first of the season.
“We’re just moving (the puck) around the circle and getting guys out of place,” he said after Ohio's first game of the season. “My goal was an unbelievable pass from (Matt) Rudin, it went from (Tyler) Harkins to Rudin and (I) just made a simple tap-in.”
Black, who had a goal and an assist, was positive. While it was only the opening game, Ohio’s power play unit has the potential to be something special this season.
“The way it looks right now is unbelievable,” he said. “There’s obviously going to be a few kinks on the breakout, but it’s a pretty hot start for a power play.”
A player’s perspective and a coach’s perspective, however, can always differ.
While he was pleased with the overall performance, coach Sean Hogan knows more lies in store for the power play unit.
“We only put the true power play unit out there one time and they scored,” Hogan said. “They scored right away and that was great to see.”
Comprised of Harkins, Black and Rudin, defensemen on the “true” power play unit are Nick Grose and Jake Houston.
The defensemen possess strong two-way games. Houston's offensive night ended with a four-point performance with two goals and two assists.
For as good as the “true” power play unit was, the penalty kill unit was even better.
Alternate captain and senior defenseman Grant Hazel has been an anchor on the PK unit ever since his freshman year.
And in Friday’s game, he picked up right where he left off — clearing pucks, blocking shots and winning puck battles.
“For me, the penalty kill is all about outworking the other team,” Hazel said. “If you can outwork the other team and anticipate where the puck is going to go, it makes your life a lot easier.”
And outwork the other team it did. Ohio’s PK unit saw over 10 minutes in ice time and killed every John Carroll opportunity.
Along with Hazel, Zach Frank had a strong few shifts on the penalty kill.
During the second period, the Blue Streaks pressured the Bobcats with a series of quick passes deep in the zone.
Yet, they were unable to even get a shot on goal because Frank blocked a shot, stole the puck and even registered a shot on goal despite being a man down.
It’s that kind of play like that powers Ohio’s PK unit to be one of the most productive in the American Collegiate Hockey Association.
While it’s only game one of 32, the Bobcats have the potential and the talent to have successful special teams’ units all season long.