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Ohio senior forward Gianni Evangelisti (#7) checks Kent State's Alex Halupnik (#17) during senior night against Kent State at Bird Arena on Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020.

Hockey: Ohio sweeps Kent State on senior night

The Bobcats ended the regular season on a high note Saturday night at Bird Arena.

Ohio defeated Kent 8-0 in a goal-scoring clinic. The win brought its record to 24-8-4 to round out the regular season before heading into the Central State Collegiate Hockey League tournament.

The Bobcats’ offense was flying high in the second game of the series. Six different players scored goals, and Kyle Craddick and Gianni Evangelisti scored twice. Evangelisti had five points Saturday night, giving him 10 points for the weekend.

The highlight of the goal-scoring parade came at the end of the first period when Ohio was on the power play. Evangelisti took a shot from the blue line. The goalie lost the puck in traffic, and as the clock ticked down to zero, the puck hit the back of the net.

Ohio scored twice on the power play Saturday night. Both of those goals were scored fewer than ten seconds into the team's man advantage and were netted by Evangelisti and Craddick.

"(Gianni) has always been there," coach Cole Bell said. "Craddick has picked it up on the offensive side of the puck. It has become the new normal for us. They show up every day and work hard. They are a big part of this team."

While the offense went to work, the defense did its part, too. Senior goalie Jimmy Thomas notched a shutout in his final game at Bird Arena and turned away all 20 shots from the Golden Flashes.

Thomas and the offense weren't the only parts working for Ohio. The defense prevented Kent from getting anything set up in the defensive zone. This included when the Flashes were on the power play. Ohio only allowed 20 shots on goals throughout the whole game and allowed only four shots in the third period. 

Facing a lesser opponent like Kent State late in the season, it is easy to take these games lightly, allowing them to be closer than they should be. The Bobcats knew they could not let this happen if they wanted to remain the No. 4 team in the nation.

"These games can really affect the seeding," Thomas said. "We went out tonight and played well enough to keep our spot and earn our seed."

With back-to-back sweeps to end the season, Ohio heads into the CSCHLs on a four-game win streak. The Bobcats will look to build off the confidence of the last two weekends as they head into tournament play. However, they will have to be careful not to get too confident and overlook an opponent.

"We have a lot of good veteran leadership on the team that knows what it is going to take," Bell said. "We stay focused on what we are currently trying to accomplish and take it one day at a time."


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