The music was loud and the boys were bumping. That was the scene in and around the Bobcats’ locker room following their first win of the year Friday night.
Ohio (1-5) defeated a previously undefeated Adrian College (8-1) in a 2-1 nail biter at Bird Arena.
Having lost at Adrian the previous night 8-4, the Bobcats knew they had to perform better on Friday night.
“We knew that wasn’t our best game, but we knew leading up to that we had been playing really strong,” Bell said. “Trust the process, trust each other, and it was gonna happen.”
Despite Friday’s game starting out seemingly dominated by the Bulldogs of Adrian, it gradually became a more even first period of hockey. Ohio drew first blood on the power play at 10:48 in the first period. With Ryan Higgins scoring his first goal of the season, Ohio gained their first lead of the season.
Less than three minutes into the second period, Adrian’s Dakota Bohn tied the game on a shot from the point. But from that point on, Ohio was clearly the better team for the second period, outshooting the Bulldogs 19-13 and controlling the puck in all zones.
It was an Andrew Wells goal with 6:25 left in the second period that retook the lead for the Bobcats. And from that point on they never looked back, holding off relentless pressure and scoring chances from Adrian to finally earn their first win.
“These guys have been working hard all along. We’ve always been very confident, very comfortable with where we were as a hockey team even though the record was maybe not what we wanted,” Bell said. “We knew it was just a matter of time.”
Leading the way during the low-scoring battle, goalie Max Karlenzig kept the Bobcats in the game the entire time.
“He’s great,” Bell said. “It was a solid game from him, he bailed us out at times, and that’s what you want out of a goaltender.”
The performance of Karlenzig was quite a redeeming one. On Thursday, Karlenzig was pulled during the second period. On Friday, he stopped 40 of Adrian’s 41 shots on net, shutting down the Bulldogs on several Ohio penalty kills.
“I feel like a couple of the goals yesterday was just, there was a lack of effort on my part, I should have just thrown everything I could at it, and really just gassed myself,” Karlenzig said. “So tonight I just wanted to throw everything I could on the puck and just give it my all.”
Karlenzig also gave credit to his defense for limiting Adrian to one goal, as well as preventing other scoring opportunities.
“They were doing great. They were blocking, I mean it would be probably 20 more shots up on the clock there if it wasn’t for them,” Karlenzig said. “They were really eating up the pucks, and just driving the shooters to the outside. They didn’t have too many goal scoring opportunities.”
Clearly exhausted following Ohio’s fourth game in five days, Karlenzig was quite happy, nonetheless. While trying to regain his breath, he smiled as his teammates shouted in celebration, as they had just beaten the team that smothered them the night before.
“I am so fired up right now,” Karlenzig said. “But I’m also so tired that it’s kind of leveling me out. Yesterday was a tough one, we kind of beat ourselves that entire game. And today we came out and everyone did their jobs and it paid off. I played a better game than I did yesterday.”