Ohio was up by seven, the biggest lead and the most goals it had earned all season.
That was just at the end of the first period. In a season that’s been full of narrow games that usually end with the Bobcats getting the short end of the stick, Ohio got a shot in the arm after an 11-0 blowout victory over Mercyhurst on Tuesday afternoon at Bird Arena.
While the score implies an easy matchup for the Bobcats (3-13), games like these never have a guaranteed outcome. Like the loss to Robert Morris a week prior, the game against the Lakers (1-2) was scheduled less than a week in advance, and anything can happen with sporadic scheduling.
“After we dropped the ball last week against Robert Morris, I had my breath held,” Ohio coach Cole Bell said. “These games can be tricky sometimes. I certainly knew we were capable of this result, though.”
Instead of holding their heads down after a game they were meant to win, the Bobcats played up to their potential against the Lakers. Matt Server earned his first shutout with Ohio, and eight Bobcats scored goals Tuesday. Alex Burnett and Zach Curry’s goals were their first with Ohio, and Curry’s was also his first after he injured his hernia last season.
“Sometimes it’s good to get the monkey off your back,” Bell said. “Curry and Burnett are some of the hardest working guys we have on the team. It’s good to see them finally get rewarded.”
Aiden Grieco had two goals and Drew Magyar had three, further proving themselves to be Ohio’s most dangerous offensive weapons this season. Magyar was happy with so many Bobcats getting a chance to star on the offense.
“A lot of guys stepped up,” Magyar said. “There’s a lot of guys scoring their first goals of the year, first goals of their career here at OU.”
All the Bobcats who earned time in the spotlight Tuesday had their chance because Ohio continued to give a 100% effort regardless of how big of a lead it had.
“(Giving 100%) was definitely important,“ Magyar said. “Especially at the end of the year here, getting ready for playoffs and just proving to ourselves, to our coaches that we play a full 60 and not let off the gas once, no matter what the score is.”
The win over Mercyhurst can serve as a source of optimism for the Bobcats going forward.
“It was an opportunity for us to get some confidence,” Bell said. “Put a few goals in the back of the net, something that’s nothing against Mercyhurst, but much harder to do against Lindenwood, Liberty or Adrian.”
The Bobcats certainly won’t have had as easy a time in their future endeavors. They still have two games against Liberty in the regular season, followed by one game against Lindenwood and Iowa State each in the Central States Collegiate Hockey League round robin tournament the weekend after. Rather than take the result against Mercyhurst as a sign the road is getting smoother, Ohio will instead keep its drive steady and constant for the upcoming battles.