The Bobcats have struggled against Liberty all season. They went into Sunday afternoon’s quarterfinal matchup with a 1-7 record on the season against the Flames, hoping for a different outcome.
But it wasn’t meant to be. That record now stands at 1-8.
Ohio’s season ended Sunday at Maryville University Hockey Center in St. Louis, Missouri, after falling 10-2 to Liberty.
Liberty was in control for the entirety of the contest. Even when Andrew Sacca managed to tie the game up at one late in the first period, Liberty immediately responded and did not look back.
Though everything about the Bobcats’ play seemed off Sunday afternoon, there were several main aspects that led to their demise.
It only took 20 seconds for Liberty to jump out ahead of the Bobcats.
Ohio was caught off-guard following Ryan Cox’s immediate goal to give the Flames a 1-0 lead, and it took the Bobcats a while to regroup.
Though they managed to get out of the first period only down 2-1, Liberty set the tempo, and the Bobcats could not keep up.
Second period collapse
Ohio gave up five goals in the second period.
Liberty’s Zach Bartel scored two within the first three minutes as the Flames started to pull away.
Devin Melice’s goal with just 49 seconds remaining in the period was the dagger for the Bobcats, who would go on to put in their third-string goalie for the third period.
Struggles between the pipes
Max Karlenzig was pulled after giving up four goals, two of them early in the second period. After that, Matt Server gave up another three.
Senior goalie Mason Koster was given the opportunity to play the third period for the Bobcats, his second appearance of the season.
Liberty scored 10 goals on 33 shots on net, a .697 save percentage for Ohio.
Struggles like this have happened before for the Bobcats, but they rarely occur. It could not have happened at a worse time for Ohio.