Things were looking bleak for the Bobcats following their loss to Robert Morris on March 9. They were completely outplayed in a 6-2 loss, their seventh in a row.
Aside from Robert Morris, Ohio clearly had a brutal schedule. Going up against top-ranked Lindenwood as well as Liberty and Adrian College, it was not all that surprising that the Bobcats started out the season 1-12.
But since that loss to Robert Morris, the Bobcats (3-13) have split a two game series against Lindenwood in what was an excellent defensive performance.
Then, Tuesday afternoon, they wiped the floor with Mercyhurst (1-2), cruising to an 11-0 victory.
The shutout, freshman goalie Matt Server’s first of his college career, was very much like how the Bobcats have played defensively the past couple games. But the goal scoring was unlike anything all season.
Before Tuesday’s blowout, the Bobcats hadn’t scored more than four goals in a game all year.
“Finding their groove, they played hard; they played the right way. That’s the most important part,” Ohio coach Cole Bell said.
Bell has constantly emphasized his team’s need for believing in each other and “trusting the process.” Even if there haven’t been any major adjustments to their game plan, he says this is what they have been building toward and hopes this recent string of solid performances is a continuation of their game plan and “who we are as a team.”
“The way we’re playing, the game plan we put in place is more or less the same as what it was day one,” Bell said. “There’s been some minor tweaks here and there, but at the end of the day, it’s the same identity we’re trying to have.”
Ohio’s 11 goals against the Lakers came from eight different skaters, including Zach Curry and Alex Burnett scoring their first goals as Bobcats. Drew Magyar led the way with a hat trick.
Magyar said his team had not been playing up to their true potential, but they have really stepped it up lately.
“I think we kinda just found our identity. I think we’ve realized that throughout the whole year we’ve been playing soft, not really playing Bobcat hockey,” Magyar said. “And these last couple games, we’ve gone back to Bobcat hockey. Blue collar, just playing hard. Nose to the grindstone every time we’re on the ice and getting the pucks to the front of the net and burying them home.”
The Robert Morris loss was the only other time Ohio had a very short period of time to prepare for a game due to a sudden schedule addition. With this being the case again for going up against Mercyhurst, Ohio definitely saw improvement.
Magyar said it’s weird to play a game at such a weird time, but his team did a good job of adjusting for today’s matchup.
“It’s definitely a little weird. Especially, it’s in the middle of the week; it’s an earlier time than what we’re normally used to,” Magyar said. “I think it’s just make sure you’re sticking to the same schedule that you do on normal game days, even if it’s up a few hours. Just make sure you’re staying the same way, preparing the same way as if it was a regular game on a regular weekend.”