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Ohio goaltender Matt Server (#33) makes a save during the Bobcats’ game versus Liberty on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021, in Bird Arena. Ohio lost the game 2-0.

Hockey: Third period rally leads Ohio to 3-0 win over Lindenwood

The sound of Ohio’s bench painted a perfect picture of the mood during the third period.

After Ryan Hastings scored Ohio’s first goal of the night with seven minutes left to give his team the first lead of the game, hoots and hollers roared from the Bobcats’ bench, and that energy stayed alive all night during and after the clock hit 0:00. Ohio earned those victory chants when it took down previously undefeated Lindenwood 3-0 Friday night at Bird Arena.

It’s no secret that the third period hasn’t been the Bobcats’ (2-12) strong suit this season. All season, it’s felt like Ohio has given up ties and leads game after game in what were almost wins for the Bobcats. Ohio turned those tables Friday night against Lindenwood (12-1) and scored three goals late in the third period in what had previously been a close and defensive game for 53 minutes.

The rally started with Hastings’ first goal of the season with about seven minutes left in the game. He had a long way to get the puck into the Lions’ net but delivered a perfect strike to give the Bobcats the lead.

“I was just trying to get pucks to the net, shoot through traffic,“ Hastings said. “I know if I get it there, my forwards can bury one.”

After the goal, Hastings didn’t have much time to react before he was swarmed by his teammates congratulating him. Ohio’s mood and morale were up in Bird Arena, and they didn’t go down afterward.

Drew Magyar scored two more goals, including an empty net score, with less than two minutes left in the game to secure the Bobcats’ victory for good. Ohio had just beaten an undefeated and top team in the country, and its players’ excitement could be seen and heard on the ice after the game and in the locker room moments later.

Ohio coach Cole Bell saw belief that was previously missing return to the team Friday night. The Bobcats finally proved to themselves that they’re capable to late-game rallies.

“This is just a belief that the process works,“ Bell said. “A little swagger, a little confidence, something we can build off of and feel good about.”

Ohio had much to learn after its previous losses. Bell sees the last loss to Liberty being the biggest educator to his team for Friday’s win. The Bobcats had a lead against the Flames in the third quarter on Saturday night but didn’t hold it like they did the next weekend against Lindenwood. 

Bell saw everything he’s been teaching his team come to life on the ice.

“We battled,“ Bell said. “We reloaded above the puck, we were responsible, we were mentally tough through any kind of adversity. We stuck in there and hung through it and battled all the way through.”

Ohio’s defense also deserves credit for the win. If it weren’t for keeping up with Lindenwood’s speedy offense and a couple of excellent saves from goaltender Max Karlenzig, the offense may not have been in a position to win the third period. From the puck drop to the final whistle, Ohio’s defense wasn’t letting anything get past it.

“We kept the same energy from the first, second, to the third,“ Hastings said. 

If that energy stays with the Bobcats for the rest of the season, they can end their season with more high notes than expected. 

@elifeaz  

ef195418@ohio.edu 

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