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Ohio defenseman Jacob Houston (#11) controls the puck during the Bobcats’ game on Friday, Feb. 21, 2020, in Bird Arena.

Hockey: Takeaways from Ohio's 9-1 loss to Liberty

Just about everything went wrong for Ohio.

In their lowest moment of the season, the Bobcats (1-9) fell to Liberty (6-3) 9-1 Saturday at LaHaye Ice Center. Ohio has had its struggles throughout all of 2021 but managed to be a tough competitor for most of its games. Saturday felt like the culmination of all its problems and more, even with a late goal from Aiden Grieco with one minute remaining in the game. 

Here are three takeaways from Ohio’s loss:

Sluggish start

Most of the Bobcats’ problems this season have shown up in the second and third periods after keeping it close for the first 20 minutes.

That wasn’t the case Saturday. Ohio fell into a deep hole early after it allowed three goals in the first period and let in a fourth score 16 seconds into the second. It was the first start the Bobcats have had all season, and it set an early tone that Ohio didn’t reverse afterward.

Goaltender struggles

For only the second time this season, Ohio had to substitute its goaltender in the middle of the game. Matt Server was taken out and replaced with Max Karlenzig early in the second period after five early goals went past him. 

Karlenzig didn’t have a great day, either. He allowed four goals in nearly two periods as the entire defense was offbeat against the Flames. Defense has been the Bobcat’s strong suit in 2021, and their early failures only set in motion more problems for the rest of the game.

Rare failure to adjust

Even if they don’t win, the Bobcats have at least adjusted to their opponents after the first game in a series to keep things closer the next day. After a 4-1 loss to Liberty on Friday, Ohio only looked more shaken up in the second game of the series.

Ohio’s next opponent will be Liberty again from March 5-6, but that series will be in Athens. Ohio coach Cole Bell has plenty of things to go over with his team to prepare for their third series against the Flames this season. The Bobcats were at their lowest point Saturday, but they only have one direction to look now: upward.


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