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Junior forward Gianni Evangelisti (#7) fights for the puck in the third period of Ohio's game against West Virginia in Bird Arena Friday. The Bobcats defeated the Mountaineers 12-1.

Hockey: Four things to watch against the No. 4 team in the country, Davenport

Ohio will play Friday and Saturday against No. 4 Davenport at Bird Arena. 

This week was the first that the American Collegiate Hockey Association released its first computer rankings. 

The rankings come from an average of two rankings made by ushsho.com. The combination comes from Ranking A (based on wins with a maximum goal differential of seven) and Ranking B (wins with a maximum goal differential of one). 

Ohio found itself at No. 9 this week, while its opponent is ranked fourth. 

Here are four things to look for against Davenport. 

Back at Bird

For the first time in three weeks, Ohio will be back in Bird Arena. Two weekends ago, the Bobcats hit the road for the first time this season to play Central State’s Collegiate Hockey League foe Iowa State. 

Last weekend, the Bobcats were off. 

So, this week will be a welcome return to the friendly confines of Bird. Ohio only has one more road trip this semester, with a trip to Liberty next week. The final three weekend series of the semester — Lindenwood, Robert Morris and Illinois — will all be in Athens.

Playing fast

Something that coach Sean Hogan hopes his team can do against Davenport is play fast. He hopes his team can find ways to get up and down the ice better.

In facing the No. 4 team in the country this weekend, the Bobcats, the ninth-ranked team in the country, will have to fight for every chance they can get. Keeping possession of the puck and being able to set itself up in both the offensive and defensive zones will be a key.

Ohio has shown this in practice, at least to Hogan’s liking. 

“We’ve been pretty quick in practice,” he said. “I thought (Thursday) was OK, but the rest of the week was pretty good.”

Tough Road Ahead

This series against Davenport is the first in a stretch of games where Ohio will see the toughest part of its schedule to close out fall semester. With the new computer polls, the Bobcats will play six teams in the top 15. 

This stretch will be key in where they sit going into the second part of the season. 

And a huge part of the success will come from the power play. Hogan noted that last season, Ohio was able to take advantage over Davenport with a man-advantage. Gianni Evangelisti had a few power play goals, with him getting back to full strength after missing the opening weekend. 

Dads, Dads, Dads

With it being Dad’s Weekend at Ohio, a usually raucous Bird crowd should be even louder. 

“It’ll be sold out,” Hogan said. “It’ll be busy. It’ll be fun.”

@trevor_colgan

tc648714@ohio.edu

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