Tom Pokorney headed into the locker room with a smile on his face and his fist pumping. As he chanted “sweep sweep sweep,” the senior was met with the simple realization.
He played a full 60 minutes of the game as a winger – not a defenseman.
In No. 5 Ohio’s 2-0 win over No. 4 Iowa State, the Bobcats had to shuffle their roster just a bit as they were missing four skaters because of injuries.
Because of that Pokorney and Alex Singely, switched positions on the lineup.
“It felt great (playing forward),” Pokorney said. “They couldn’t handle our speed and our possession time down low, we really gelled well as a line tonight.”
Pokorney’s line, consisting of himself, Gabe Lampron and Kyle Craddick, scored the game winning goal.
Pokorney is listed on the Bobcats’ website as a forward and a defenseman because of his knowledge and offensively-minded play style.
While useful as a defenseman, when applied as a forward, Pokorney has the potential to be one of Ohio’s most valued weapons and in Saturday’s win – he was.
“It was nice to just try and focus on scoring goals and creating offense,” he said. “Instead of having to get back after I rush the puck up, it felt nice to be able to be let loose and just try and score.”
Pokorney didn’t score a goal, but he earned an assist on Lampron’s goal that ultimately decided the game.
Inversely, with his absence on the defensive game, it was the freshman Singley to step up against one of the best teams in the country – and he did.
Largely in part of the constant rotation of defensive pairings, Singley spent most of the night with assistant captain and senior defenseman Grant Hazel. Prior to the game, Singley said that Hazel drew up some plays that might be helpful and that typically most forwards don’t think about.
“It’s not easy stepping in after playing forward all these years of my life,” he said. “But against such a rival and such an opponent, it’s even more nerve-wracking, but my teammates did a good job of supporting me and having my back.”
Ohio’s ability to shuffle around players and still find a way to win goes to show the skill that sits on its bench, and because of that coach Sean Hogan feels confident in the direction his team is heading it.
“I thought we were really good tonight,” Hogan said. “We capitalized on our chances it was an old school hockey game and it was fun considering all the guys we were missing.”
Ohio after sweeping the No. 4 team in the country has earned itself a bye-week and a potential bolster in the rankings.
With the lingering injuries and non-stop playing over the last few weeks, Pokorney’s smile will continue to stay on his face. The fist pumps will still go on and the utility man for Ohio can relax for a second.
“Top to bottom I thought we played really well,” he said. “It’s an exciting time for our team.”