The Bobcats played their first game in front of fans in over a year and a half Friday night, and they treated the crowd to an 8-1 thrashing of John Carroll. The fans were loud all night, and they did not have to wait long to get excited.
Not even two minutes into the game, senior defenseman Scott Bagby gave Ohio the lead, and the crowd went crazy. Only 41 seconds later, senior forward Alex Singley doubled the Bobcats lead, and they never looked back.
“It was huge,” coach Lionel Mauron said about Ohio’s fast start. “We got that monkey off our back from last year, and we needed to find that confidence.”
The Bobcats scored three more goals in the first period and headed into the first intermission with a 5-0 lead having outshot John Carroll 17-6. Ohio was firing on all cylinders in the first period, and that only continued in the second.
The Bobcats were on cruise control for much of the period, but a power play with around five minutes left gave them just the boost they needed to really put the game out of reach. After just 30 seconds with a man advantage, captain Sam Turner scored the Bobcats’ sixth goal of the night. A few minutes later, junior Zach Curry added a seventh, and the game was well and truly over.
While many of Ohio’s veterans stepped up, with senior Ryan Higgins and Turner being named the game’s first and third starts respectively, it was freshman forward Philippe Angervil who shone brightest for the Bobcats.
Playing in his first game for the program, Angervil notched a goal and two assists, all in the first period, and was a huge reason for Ohio’s hot start. His speed and skill gave the Blue Streaks defense fits all night as he built on his strong preseason performance.
“His creativity is through the roof,” Mauron said. “I’m just excited because he seems to be able to find the net every time he shoots.”
For Angervil, it was just important to get his season started on the right foot.
“It just felt good getting it off my shoulders right away so I don’t have to worry about it in future games,” Angervil said. “It was fun today. I love seeing the fans and I’m looking for many more.”
With fans back in the arena for the first time since the 2019-20 season, it was always likely to be an electric atmosphere at Bird Arena. The crowd gave the Bobcats a major boost, and it did not go unnoticed.
“It gives us a lot of energy when you skate down the boards and you have fans cheering you on,” Angervil said. “It just gives you a lot of energy that the other team doesn’t have.”
That energy is something Ohio will be able to get used to, as 14 of its first 15 games are at home.
The Bobcats will take on John Carroll once again Saturday night. If Friday’s matchup is anything to go on, the fans at Bird Arena are in for another treat.