Gianni Evangelisti waited patiently in the face-off zone. He watched his teammates pass the puck back-and-forth, and he felt the play out.
His patience paid off.
The junior forward sent his second power play goal of the night home after he fired a slap shot.
“I’ve been working on the one-time shot a lot in practice and coach has been harping on me to shoot more,” Evangelisti said. “(Nick) Grose made a nice pass, faked the goalie, the goalie didn’t see the pass come over and I just got lucky I guess.”
Maybe his goal was lucky, but behind his play and that of his teammates, Ohio defeated league rival Robert Morris-Illinois, 4-0, Saturday night.
Unlike the night before, the Bobcats got off to a more traditional start: Fast and aggressive.
The Bobcats were able to draw penalties early and often from the Eagles. They had four alone in the opening period, and their first was what got the ball rolling for the Bobcats. With 9:41 left in the first period, Ohio’s man-advantage began. A series of deflections and ricochets occurred in front of the Robert Morris net with players from both sides trying to gain possession.
As it obtained possession for a mere second, Ohio’s power play unit, behind the stick of Evangelisti, took the early lead.
“It’s always nice scoring, but you can’t get too high or too low,” he said. “I thought we were a lot better today.”
The longer the game went on, the better Ohio’s power play operated.
“Finally,” coach Sean Hogan said in regards toward the power play’s efficiency. “It’s almost about the opponent – when you play Lindenwood it’s hard to get it going, but when you play a struggling Robert Morris team, it looked a little better.”
Recently, Hogan has expressed some concern about his team’s passiveness with the man-advantage. While some of the Bobcats’ opportunities took longer than others, they did what their coach has wanted them to do all along.
Send shots to the net, win the puck battles and score off the deflections. That’s precisely how Ohio scored its third and fourth goals Saturday.
Nick Grose fired a shot from the blue line and Austin Heakins’ hot weekend continued as the junior forward tipped the puck past the Eagles’ goalie.
Moments later, Heakins found the back of the net again because of a one-timer in the slot.
Because of the success on the power play, a certain aura of confidence exceeded throughout the Ohio skaters as they exited the ice.
After a few weekends of crushing overtime loses and tight regulation defeats, ultimately, it was Ohio’s power play that put them back in the win column, a sweep nonetheless.
“We wanted the sweep,” Hogan said. “We need another sweep over Illinois, we’ve got an important week coming up.”