The Bobcats make their anticipated return to Bird Arena on Saturday for their first time in six months for the Green and White Scrimmage.
The game is an annual showcase for fans to see how the Bobcats look heading into the season opener. After the scrimmage, Ohio will have two weeks until its first game with John Carroll to make any adjustments coach Cole Bell may see fit in his first year with the Bobcats.
Ohio finished last season at No. 6 in the American Collegiate Hockey Association and has recruited an 11-player freshmen class to replace the six players that graduated.
Here are three things to watch for at the scrimmage on Saturday:
Coach Bell’s leadership
The cornerstone of coach Cole Bell’s plan for success is to improve his players’ speed. Bell’s believes that practicing at a slower pace than how games are played will never improve the Bobcats.
The drills Bell has implemented push the Bobcats further than what they are used to in practice in previous seasons. Ohio’s previous head coach, Sean Hogan, always conditioned the Bobcats to their highest levels, and Ohio rarely lost games due to a lack of energy, and Bell has maintained that level of practice intensity.
In the game setting Saturday, Ohio will see how well Bell’s efforts have translated thus far.
New recruits want to show off
The most glaring sign of Ohio’s future is to look at the freshman class. Its newest recruits are willing to put in work to prove they deserve a spot on the roster.
The Green and White Scrimmage is a team-wide game, and it will be the first glimpse to see which freshmen will fit on the roster.
Players gaining experience
The sophomores and juniors on the Bobcats are ready to take on larger roles.
Sophomore Drew Magyar wants to slowly takeover similar to how seniors Tyler Harkins and Gianni Evangelisti have become top players on the Bobcats. Magyar is hoping he can break out early this season and carry an increased workload from last season as a freshman. The left wing scored four goals and nine assists last season and is hoping to expand on that this season.
Junior goalies Jackson Chilberg and Mason Koster should also see ample ice time Saturday. Jimmy Thomas will see the majority of work in the crease this season, but the scrimmage will provide a look at how Chilberg and Koster might fare if their names are called. Chilberg had a .822 save percentage and a 4.36 goals against average in three games played last season, while Koster allowed four goals in one game last season.