Ohio’s longest losing streak since 2012 is over.
The Bobcats are back in the win column and broke a five-game losing streak after their 10-2 win over Slippery Rock on Friday at Bird Arena.
Ohio’s offense found multiple catalysts to dominate the Lions, but no player shined more than Ryan Higgins. The forward scored two goals to bring his season total to seven and added an assist in the third period.
The first of his goals was scored 44 seconds into the second period. The second came three minutes later when the Bobcats were on the power-play.
Even with two goals, Higgins was not worried about the hat trick.
“You don’t really think about it that much,” Higgins said. “Obviously, you want to score, but it looks better if you also set your teammates up because you want them to get goals just as much as you want goals.”
Another scorer that stood out was J.T. Schimizzi. The freshman forward was excellent in the first period, where he had three points, including his third goal of the season and his first tally since the Toledo series in the first week of October.
For Friday, Schimizzi found himself on the top line and was paired with Gianni Evangelisti and Drew Magyar. Schimizzi clearly received a boost from the two Ohio veterans. Together, the line combined for six points against the Lions.
Overall the Bobcats had a total of 11 players make their way on the score sheet. Six of those 11 players had multiple points in the game.
The offense wasn’t the only thing that worked in Friday’s game, either. The Bobcats finally strung together a 60-minute game, something that coach Cole Bell has stressed, but had yet to full receive, in his first season with Ohio.
“Hats off to the guys,” Bell said. “The first intermission, it was them talking about playing a complete game. A full 60 minutes. I think we took our foot off the gas for a couple of minutes in the first, and they recognized that.”
One of Slippery Rock’s two goals came during that two-minute stretch in the first period. The Bobcats turned the puck over in their defensive zone, and the Lions capitalized with a fast break that ended with the puck in the back of the net.
A 60-minute game is something that has been missing from Ohio in the past few series. Bell is confident the Bobcats will build such performances at a more consistent mark this season.
“We were putting together 45-50 minutes,” Bell said. “Controlling the game and playing really good hockey just couldn’t closeout. We put in another good week of work and saw a good result today.”