The clock ticked down to 12 seconds. Lindenwood had six skaters and its goalie on the bench. It was setting up in their zone for one final rush to try and tie the game.
With the clock down to the final five seconds, one of the passes on the rush went wide, and the puck slid back into the Lions’ zone.
Both teams watched as the black piece of rubber went farther away from Ohio’s zone and then the final horn signaled the end of the game. Ohio's bench jumped over the boards and piled into Jimmy Thomas' crease as the Bobcats defeated No. 3 Lindenwood 2-1 in a much-needed win over a ranked opponent.
The final five minutes of the game were suspenseful with Lindenwood’s ability to maintain possession in the Ohio zone for the majority of the time. Despite the Lions having the Bobcats under siege, the defense stood tall. During those moments, time felt like it was crawling by.
"It seemed like I went through a couple birthdays out there," Thomas said.
Thomas was excellent during that time frame, but he owes a lot to his teammates as well. The Bobcats were not afraid to sacrifice their bodies to help their goaltender.
Andrew Wells stuck out in particular when it came to blocking shots. In the waning minutes of the game, Wells blocked two shots consecutively. He made both blocks with his leg before hobbling to the bench.
"The kid was an animal tonight," Thomas said on Wells. "Selling out his body wearing as little pads as they do. Just ripping one, then getting up and blocking another. Then still having the courage to get over to the bench."
For Wells, it was just something that had to be done for the good of the team. He cared only about finding a way to win the game.
"The puck’s got to get out," said Wells, who could barely stand after the game. “Just play your hardest. You've got to play for your teammates. That's all that matters."
While the third period was dramatic, the middle period featured what little offense the game had from both teams. The Bobcats managed to find the back of the net twice that period. Ohio did that despite being outshot 14-6.
Andrew Sacca and Drew Magyar put on a nifty passing display on a 2-on-1 opportunity to tie the game. It was Tyler Harkins who stole the show on offense, however, right before the period came to an end.
The senior forward was able to chase down a Lindenwood turnover and get in all alone with the Lions goaltender. Harkins beat Cooper Seedott to the far post and scored the game-winner for the Bobcats.
Saturday's game was more than just a win for Ohio. It's the confidence boost this team has needed. It hadn’t won a game against a ranked opponent since Oct. 25.
The Bobcats had been close in plenty of those games but couldn’t find a way to win. Saturday night, Ohio proved that they can win a game against the top teams in the nation.
"I think we finally played up to our potential," coach Cole Bell said. "We played 60 minutes that we are capable of. That was really good to see."