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Ohio forward JT Schimizzi (12) passes the puck during the second period of the Bobcats game against Robert-Morris Illinois on Friday, October 11, 2019, at Bird Arena in Athens, Ohio. The Bobcats won 4-3 in a shootout. (FILE)

Hockey: Ohio's power-play is not broken, just struggling

The Bobcats want to score more on their power play.

The Bobcats so far this season have converted on 25% of their power-plays. Having a power-play that scores 25% of the time is solid, but it does leave room for improvement. If the stats from Ohio's exhibition game against Chatham are included, the power-play drops to 21%.

While the power-play has good numbers, it has taken a dip after the team's series against Toledo. Ohio has played three series since facing the Rockets. In those three series, the power-play has dipped to 20%. With the Chatham exhibition game, the percentage drops down to 16.

Just because the power-play has struggled to find the back of the net in its last three series doesn't mean it is broken. Even though the numbers are dropping, the team is not worried about the production. 

The Bobcats are finding quality scoring chances. The puck just hasn’t always finished in the net.

"I think you only have to start to worry about the power-play when you're not getting chances," senior forward Gianni Evangelisti said. "I think the last couple weekends we've had some good chances, and they are just not going in.

The Bobcats are finding good zone entries and setups on the majority of the power-plays. It’s the little things, however, that have prevented them from finding the back of the net.

The smaller details could be the difference for the Bobcats power-play. Details like getting shots off quicker, cleaner passes and foot placement.

"It just little details on the power-play," coach Cole Bell said. "Where we are moving the puck. Even just little things as how we're catching passes and how we are getting shots off."

The opposing goalies deserve credit, too. Ohio has faced some of the top goaltenders in each of its last two series against Michigan-Dearborn and Iowa State.

Michigan-Dearborn's Thomas Proudlock is currently ranked eighth in the American Collegiate Hockey Association  with a 1.58 goals against average, and Iowa State's Nikita Kozak is seventh with a 1.56. Both goalies are in the top seven in the nation when it comes to their save percentage.

"We've been up against a couple good goalies," Bell said. "That's something we have to expect when playing good teams. Good teams are good in part because they have good goalies."

The Bobcats won’t be discouraged, though.

"For the most part, when we get in, and we were doing the right things, the chances were there," Bell said. "There's no big overwhelming changes that we need to make. We just need to fine-tune some things and make sure we find the back of the net."


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