Senior night appeared to be headed toward overtime Saturday evening, with Ohio and Lindenwood tied late in the third period.
But with 1:49 left in the game, Lindenwood’s Zach Mitchell scored on a wrist shot from the high slot to give the Lions a 2-1 lead. Lindenwood would then manage to hold on until the very end.
The Bobcats (2-13) managed to play evenly matched hockey all weekend against Lindenwood (13-1), splitting their two game series. But the Bobcats came extremely close to sweeping the top-ranked team in the nation.
“I just told the guys there’s not a single thing I would change,” coach Cole Bell said. “We were one bounce away and, when you play good teams, you got two good teams on the ice, that’s the way some of these games go.”
The game was fast paced and evenly matched the entire 60 minutes. When Ohio went down at the very end of the second period, the Bobcats managed to come back out the next period and keep fighting.
“We don’t get down on ourselves; we don’t doubt ourselves,” Bell said. We have a belief, and we just talked about, ‘Hey, we’re beat up. We’re tired but no excuses. We’re gonna get this job done. We’re just gonna keep grinding, keep grinding, keep battling.’ That’s who we are.”
Ohio’s five seniors put up an impressive performance Saturday evening. Ohio’s lone goal was scored in the third period by senior defenseman Kyle Craddick.
Shawn Baird and Timmy Thurnau also played a solid game, playing a shutdown game on defense and leading the way for the Bobcats’ strong defensive performance this weekend.
Bell in particular praised senior goalies Mason Koster and Jackson Chilberg.
Dressed for the first time all season, Koster and Chilberg helped keep Ohio in the game, only allowing two goals on 32 shots on net from the Lions.
Koster, who was noticeably energetic after the game, said he was nervous going into tonight. But having “missed the feeling so much,” once he got back into the atmosphere, Koster said he felt right at home.
Koster also said there weren't any difficulties going up against a top-ranked team in Lindenwood, seemingly in line with the way his team performed this weekend.
But Koster was just happy to be out there on the ice, going up against a talented team in Lindenwood, knowing his teammates always have his back.
“It’s the most fun I’ll ever have playing hockey,” Koster said. “Playing those guys is a dream come true, and I love the challenge that it faces.”