When Ohio skated into the locker room after the second period against Illinois, it didn’t realize it had played its last period of the night.
The Bobcats’ second game in its series versus the Fighting Illini ended early Saturday, and it wasn’t due to an issue with either team. It was because of an OLYMPIA malfunction.
The Bobcats (7-4) played two periods, falling to a 4-1 deficit after Illinois (3-7-1) took advantage of a power play to take a three-goal lead. They were ready to make a comeback run in the third period and attempt to secure their eighth win of the season, but the Bobcats never got the chance.
During the second intermission, the OLYMPIA rolled out onto the ice like it normally did to resurface the ice between periods. Things didn’t go as planned this time. The ride seemed awkward from the beginning, but it took a turn for the worse when the OLYMPIA stopped in the middle of the ice.
Multiple members of Ohio’s staff came onto the ice to check out what the issue. After about five minutes, the OLYMPIA kept on rolling but not without leaving a giant puddle in its wake.
It wasn’t until the officials, Ohio and Illinois skated back onto the ice that they noticed something was wrong. The three game officials stood over the puddle and discussed while players waited on the ice and stretched.
The officials brought out squeegees and a trashcan in an attempt to spread out the excess water and help it freeze faster. This process of squeegeeing and scooping the ice went on for almost twenty minutes while both teams waited patiently.
When just a squeegee and a trashcan failed to get the job done, the OLYMPIA was brought back onto the ice. Ohio and Illinois reentered their respective locker rooms while the OLYMPIA headed back onto the rink. The two teams never returned.
Shortly thereafter, it was ruled that the ice was unsafe to play on, and the game was suspended for the time being. There is speculation that the third period of Saturday’s game will be played on Feb. 18, when Ohio travels to Illinois for another two-game series. However, this decision has not been finalized.
Multiple members of the Ohio staff declined to comment on the incident.
Throughout the waiting process, fans at Bird Arena found other ways to kill time. Many fans were up dancing to the music that the arena staff was playing and laughing at the announcer’s commentary. Fans were jamming out to One Direction, Taylor Swift and Walk the Moon.
In order to pass the time, fans were also anonymously requesting songs to be played in Bird Arena on the app Yik Yak. To the delight of some fans, their song requests were heard and fulfilled. One Yik Yak user requested “Let’s Groove Tonight” by Earth, Wind & Fire. About two minutes later, the song started playing.
Although frustrated with the result of Saturday’s game, Ohio coach Lionel Mauron agrees with the officials’ decision to delay the remainder of the game. Mauron believes it wasn’t worth risking a player being injured in order to finish a game.
“I think it's the right decision to stop it, and then resume at a later date,“ Mauron said.
The Bobcats were unsure of what to do after the game was suspended. Mauron is disappointed that Saturday’s game ended early, despite Ohio ending the second period in a 4-1 deficit. For now, the Bobcats decided the best decision is to move past the incident and prepare for the remainder of its October schedule.
“It’s really tough to end games like this, but we have a couple of days to turn the page,” Mauron said. “Right now we’re kind of in shock.”
Correction: A previous version of this article stated that the ice resurfacer at Bird Arena is a Zamboni, when it’s an OLYMPIA. This article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information.