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Ohio forward Drew Magyar (#25) watches his shot go into the net during the first period of the Bobcats game against the Golden Flashes on Saturday at Bird Arena.

Hockey: Matt Rudin and the seniors lead Ohio to a 9-2 win

Matt Rudin stood outside the Bird Arena locker room, an Ohio hat perched on his head.

He received hugs and congratulations from a lot of people, but his embrace with coach Sean Hogan might have been the most meaningful. It was the two’s last game at Bird. Rudin — and all the Bobcats — have built a strong relationship with their coach. They were both sent off with a win.

Rudin, a senior, recorded a hat trick in his final game on the Bird ice. The hat he wore? The lone hat tossed onto the ice after his third goal.

Those three goals led Ohio to a 9-2 win over Kent State on Saturday. And for Rudin, scoring those three goals is something he will remember.

“It’s surreal,” Rudin said. 

Rudin let the moment soak in post game. He returned to the ice for pictures, he took pictures off the ice. He tried to make those last few moments of a post-game at Bird last forever. Posing for the camera with line-mate, his best friend Tyler Harkins gave him something to look back on after his unforgettable night.

Harkins and Rudin share a chemistry on the ice, displayed by Harkins assisting on all three of Rudin’s goals. After the third, the two shared a celebratory moment before being mobbed by the other skaters. 

“It all goes back to when we played with the (Cleveland) Barons,” Rudin said. “We have that chemistry. With me graduating this semester, we’re not going to be together anymore. That’s something we’re going to miss.”

Coming into the weekend, Ohio had wanted to send its seniors off on a high note. It wasn’t able to Friday night, but Saturday eased the sting and allowed the Bobcats to send their seven seniors out well.

Four of them chipped in points, with Grant Hazel notching a goal and an assist, Bryan Lubin adding a goal and four assists, and Gabe Lampron kicking in a goal. 

A strong senior class that has been to the brink of a national championship started the beginning of the end of their time in Athens on a high note. A win on senior night? Like Rudin said, it will be something they remember and cherish forever. But they know they have some more to do.

“This is the time of the year you want to be playing in,” Hazel said. 

Ohio has two weeks to prepare for the Central States Collegiate Hockey League Tournament and a week after that to prepare for the American Collegiate Hockey Association Tournament. 

The seniors still have some time to put on an Ohio sweater, but leaving Bird with a win was a relief. Hogan was glad he could send his seniors — his friends — out with a win. They were glad to send him out on top, too. Hogan has shown his appreciation for his seniors all season, but none was more fitting than the hug he had gave the hat trick hero.

“I was proud of him,” Hogan said.

But at the end of the day, there is still work to do. 

“At the end of the day, all that matters is if you hang a banner,” Hogan said. 


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