Mason Koster dove on the puck. Then, a whistle blew.
It looked as if John Carroll was about to get its first even-strength goal on the weekend. But Koster’s dive, preceded by two shots that deflected off him, ended the Blue Streaks’ best chance to score on with all ten skaters on the ice.
Even though Koster gave up four goals in Ohio’s 11-4 win Saturday in Bird Arena, he stood tall when Ohio had its full allotment of skaters on the ice.
Koster picked up 14 saves on the night. The Bobcats posted an .875 save percentage over the weekend.
John Carroll’s last two goals came in the last four minutes of the game, when the game was clearly out of hand. One of those was on a 5-on-3 advantage for the Blue Streaks.
“When you can play straight up, five-on-five hockey the way we did, it’s phenomenal,” Koster said. “Penalty kill goals are going to happen. Those are things you can expect.”
Outscoring a team 21-4 over a weekend is no small feat. But when it comes against a nonconference opponent such as John Carroll, the Bobcats expect to win handily.
“You don’t want to give up four goals to John Carroll,” coach Sean Hogan said. “I thought (Koster) played well, for the most part.”
Having a backup who can play well to spell typical starter Jimmy Thomas — who pitched a shutout in Friday’s game, is nice. Thomas led the nation in minutes last season, and having understudies like Koster and Jackson Chilberg, who are able to take some of the load off Thomas, will keep one of the Bobcats’ key players on the ice when needed.
“That’s nice,” Thomas said. “Some tough weekends when you maybe hurt yourself and you got to play versus when you have a very reliable other goalie on the team that can always help hold the door shut.”
A strong defense played in front of both Ohio goalies this weekend. The Bobcats’ penalty kill posted a better outing Friday than Saturday, killing all of the Blue Streaks’ 11 chances Friday, compared to 43 percent on Saturday.
With that said, multiple skaters such as as senior defenseman Grant Hazel and sophomore Zach Frank had good shifts on the penalty kill.
And of course, the defense played well when both teams were at even strength, allowing only 32 shots over the course of the two games.
Couple that with goalies who will probably save more shots than not, and mix in the Bobcats’ offense’s ability to score a lot of goals, and there is a recipe for success.
“We’re very fortunate to have such a reliable defense in front of us,” Thomas said.
Correction: A previous version of this report incorrectly stated the combined score over the weekend. The article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information.