It’s been six months, 23 games and 118 goals since the puck dropped on Ohio’s season.
The Bobcats hold a top-5 spot in the national rankings and, at 15-3-5, one of the best records in the country.
Impressive numbers put on by the Bobcats’ best — but not entirely.
Ohio’s small but crucial freshman class has largely gone unnoticed merely because it’s not scoring the goals or tallying the assists game in and game out.
What it has done, however, is learn how to play at the speed that’s demanded in the American Collegiate Hockey Association. It’s learned how to see the game differently. It’s learned how to play in a new system.
Most of all, the four-man class is building a core that will serve to carry on for the remainder of their careers.
Here’s a look at how the class of 2022 has performed throughout the 2018-19 season.
Scott Bagby - defenseman
- Leads all freshman in total points — 12 (5 goals, 7 assists)
- Leads all freshman in penalty minutes — 18
- Leads all freshman in games played — 23
In his freshman campaign, Bagby is showing signs as being the next Tom Pokorney. Bagby, a skilled defenseman, also has shown traits of taking an offensive approach to his game. Multiple times against Syracuse, he skated the length of the ice with puck possession and registered shots on goal — similar to that of the senior Pokorney. With the season dwindling, Bagby hopes to increase his workload.
“In the final stretch, I definitely want to start contributing more offensively and just play with more confidence out there,” Bagby said.
The Bobcats will have an exodus of defensemen at the end of the season with three of their eight defensemen graduating. That said, Bagby’s role will heavily increase next season.
Drew Magyar – winger
- Most points among freshmen forwards — 9 (3 goals, 6 assists)
- Most games played among freshmen forwards — 21
- First freshman forward to start for Ohio
As mentioned in , Magyar has the stick skills and smarts to potentially be a standout player for Ohio. His quick speed also has played well into the Bobcats’ system, which has allowed Magyar to fluctuate between the third and fourth lines. In games against better competition, however, Magyar’s ice time goes down as guys with more experience try to win the games. That’s a role he’s fine with.
“I kind of like being the cheerleader,” he said. “I’m making sure that the top guys are doing OK and keeping their head up.”
Ryan Higgins – winger
- 8 total points (2 goals, 6 assists)
- Fewest amount of penalties minutes among freshman — 4
- Scored his first point in his first game
While he hasn’t posted the highest numbers, Higgins’ role with Ohio has seen him grow as a player. As of late, he’s seen more ice time as a result of the end of the season drawing to a near and giving bottom lines more opportunities. Higgins is trying to make the most of his opportunities.
“I feel like my role this year has been to be an energy guy,” he said. “Even though I’m a small guy, I still like to bring the energy and speed and finish my hits to get the guys going.”
Alex Singely – winger
- 6 total points (2 goals, 4 assists)
- First freshman to score a goal for Ohio this season
- Most penalty minutes among freshman forwards — 13
The numbers on the score sheet about Singley don’t reflect his role on the team. One of the scrappier players in the freshman class, Singely hasn’t been afraid to use his body as one of his tools in his playing habits. In his first game as a Bobcat, the Latrobe, Pennsylvania, native scored a goal and tallied an assist, but from there to numbers have dwindled.
“In the beginning of the year, the teams (we played) weren’t so great, and so I scored a couple of points and stuff and I thought that I could keep it up,” Singley said. “Not that I can’t produce now, but it’s just during these tighter games, the freshman class are more locker-rooms’ guys making sure everyone is happy.”
Coach Sean Hogan brought in these four players for a reason. They all fit the system, and they fit in it well. They’ve combined for 35 total points so far and have set a good basis to build off as they get close to the end of their first season.
“Long term, all of them are going to be really good players for us,” Hogan said. “It’s hard at times to see that your freshman season is just one year of a four-year development.”
Time will only tell how good this freshman class will be, but for now they are what they’re supposed to be: students of the game.