The Bobcats traveled to Lynchburg, Virginia to try and bounce back against Liberty following two third period collapses against Adrian College.
Though Friday night’s game was mostly evenly matched, the outcome was similar.
A combination of taking penalties and an inability to contain Liberty’s Quinn Ryan contributed to Ohio’s 4-1 loss at the LaHaye Ice Center Friday night. Ohio is 0-3 against Liberty in 2021.
The game was evenly played for the better part of the first period, with few shots on net and both teams going back and forth with the puck. It wasn’t until with 7:24 remaining in the first period, when Ryan scored top shelf on a one-time slap shot to give Liberty (5-3) a 1-0 lead.
Ohio’s Kyle Craddick would score a power play goal on a wrist shot from the point to tie the game. But with Craddick in the penalty box shortly after, Liberty regained the lead with 2:17 left in the period when Ryan deked his way through several Bobcat (1-8) players and passed the puck across the goalie crease to Brock Thompson, who buried the puck for another power play goal.
The game would remain scoreless until with 14:46 remaining in the third period, when Ryan would strike again on the power play.
Liberty’s Dmytro Kobylyanskyi would add on for the Flames when a slap shot from the point that went just wide of the net bounced off the boards behind the net and popped right out for him to bury it, sealing the deal for Liberty.
Though the Bobcats did not suffer a total breakdown Friday night, Liberty appeared to be in control of the game throughout the third period.
There were several variables that led to Ohio’s loss.
Though the Bobcats struggled to get the puck out of their own zone, they did not always struggle on the penalty kill, especially in the second period. But three of Liberty’s four goals came while the Bobcats were down a skater.
Ohio took six penalties on Friday night. While that may not seem like too many on paper, that means that Ohio was short-handed for one-fifth of the game, a giant chunk of time that could have been used trying to narrow Liberty’s lead that was wasted on the penalty kill.
Quinn Ryan controlled the game
When the puck was on his stick, Quinn Ryan was in control of the game. His ability to skate through defenders and make a play, find the open ice as well as finding his open teammates was a difference maker for Liberty.
Friday night’s game was relatively even between Ohio and Liberty, with total shots on net 33-31 in Liberty’s favor.
Ohio had several scoring chances that they just weren’t able to get past Flames goalie Cedric LeSieur. Ohio came extremely close to tying the game with six seconds left in the second period, but an incredible glove save by LeSieur held the lead for Liberty.
The Bobcats return to action against Liberty Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. at LaHaye Ice Center for game two of their weekend series.