After losing its first two games to Lindenwood, Ohio (0-2) will look for its first win when it returns to Athens for a two-game series against Liberty.
Here’s the information for the series:
Opponent: Liberty (2-3)
Game Location: Bird Arena
Meet Dates: Feb. 8 at 7 p.m. | Feb. 9 at 5 p.m.
This series was supposed to be how the Bobcats started their season, but the schedule had to be rearranged due to COVID-19 protocol. After two tough losses to a tough opponent on the road, Ohio is eager to get back to Athens and play in its own territory.
Ohio will play Liberty a lot in this shortened season. In fact, eight matchups against the Flames make up over half the Bobcats’ 14-game schedule. Coach Cole Bell doesn’t seem to have a problem with this common opponent.
“They’re another good program in the (American College Hockey Association) and a good test for us,“ Bell said. “Those are the games that we want to play.”
Bell usually doesn’t focus on individual players in his scouting reports, but he does have an experienced roster he needs to look out for on Liberty. Quinn Ryan, Cole Gammer and Brock Thompson are all senior forwards who will make Ohio’s next two games a good fight. The defense is also seasoned, being led by seniors Chaydan Lauber and Dmytro Kobylyanskyi.
The Flames went 33-7 last season and had a pair of games against the Bobcats. Ohio went 0-2 against Liberty last season and has lost the last three matchups against it. One of the losses was a brutal 8-2 victory for the Flames after a midnight start and was one of Ohio’s worst losses last season.
“We had a pretty young team,“ Bell said. “I think the moment got too big for us.”
Liberty may be 2-3, but they should not be taken lightly by Ohio. In January, the Flames beat an NCAA Division I opponent for the the first time in program history when they defeated Long Island 2-1.
Liberty has played five games already while Ohio has only played two. However, three of the Flames’ games were in the fall, so Bell sees the two teams as having equal experience this year.
“It’s just about keeping things simple, being disciplined in our play (and) working hard together as a team,“ Bell said. “I have no doubt that we’ll find a way at the end of a game.”