Ohio was facing an uphill battle before it even stepped onto the ice, but it still put up a worthy fight until the end.
The Bobcats had their opener swapped from a home game to an away game, their opponent had already played four games prior to this one and Lindenwood is already one of the toughest teams Ohio will be facing this season. Despite all that, Ohio gave Lindenwood plenty of scares in its 6-4 loss Tuesday afternoon at an empty Centene Community Ice Center.
The game appeared to be evenly matched for most of the first half. Until there were about 11 minutes remaining in the second period, the Lions (5-0) held only a 1-0 lead while the Bobcats (0-1) were holding their own. Ohio began to slip up after that.
In a Lindenwood power play sparked by a slashing call on Timmy Thurnau, Jeremy Velazquez scored to give the Lions a 2-0 lead. Three minutes later, Vegard Faret scored another goal for Lindenwood to make it a three-score game.
At this point, with all the odds stacked against them, the game seemed to be a lost cause for the Bobcats. However, coach Cole Bell’s team never let the game be out of reach.
With 5:45 left in the second period, Matt Shipko scored the first goal of the season and the first of his career to put Ohio on the board. The second period ended with the Lions leading 3-1, but the Bobcats came back in the third period.
Less than two minutes into the final period, Drew Magyar scored Ohio’s second goal when the teams were playing four-on-four hockey due to penalties on both sides. After being down three scores, the Bobcats were just one good play away from a tie game.
Kyler Newman responded quickly for the Lions, but Kyle Craddick later canceled out that score with a goal of his own with seven minutes remaining. No goals were scored for the next three minutes, until J.T. Schimizzi scored while diving for the puck with three minutes remaining. Ohio had silenced Lindenwood even after things looked bleak in the second period.
Unfortunately for the the Bobcats, the tie didn’t last long, as Faret scored his second goal of the game to give the Lions a 5-4 lead again. With a minute remaining, Ohio went into empty-net formation in one last attempt to even the score, but Lindenwood just added on another goal, the final of the afternoon, to win the game 6-4.
The biggest stat from the game was Ohio being outshot 39-21 on shots-on-goal. The Bobcats were expected to be rusty in their first game back, but they can’t allow their opponents to have nearly double the number of scoring attempts in the future. All game it looked as if goaltender Max Karlenzig — in his first career start — couldn’t take a moment to relax against the Lions’ aggressive defense.
Ohio will get a second chance to take down Lindenwood on Wednesday at 2 p.m. back at Centene. Now that they’ve played their first game, the Bobcats can finally learn from their mistakes and prepare for their rematch.