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Nick Carretta #17 fighting for the puck against John Carroll at Bird Arena on September 25, 2021.

Hockey: Ohio's penalty kill struggles in 7-1 demolition by Adrian

Penalties have been a thorn in Ohio’s side all season, but they have never cut deeper than they did in Friday’s 7-1 loss to Adrian.

The Bobcats (7-6) had 23 total penalty minutes, with 21 of them coming in the first two periods. To make matters worse, the Bulldogs scored their first four goals on the power play, including three in the second period that allowed them to pull away after a close first period.

Ohio coach Lionel Mauron has confidence in his team to kill a few penalties per game, but Friday night simply had too much.

“You just can’t kill for 25 or 30 minutes a night,” Mauron said.

The Bobcats have been successful this season when they are not forced to kill an excessive amount of penalties. However, they went on the penalty kill seven different times Friday, and Adrian made them pay with four goals.

“I honestly think if we get three or four penalties a night, we’ll kill them,” Mauron said. “But that amount of minutes, you can’t kill them all.”

The most impactful of Ohio’s penalties came about halfway through the second period, when forward Philippe Angervil took a five-minute major for slashing. It was exactly the kind of stick penalty that Mauron has lamented throughout the season as the type that really gets Ohio in trouble.

During the five-minute penalty kill, Adrian scored twice, increasing its lead from one goal to three and knocking Ohio out of the game.

It was not just the penalty kill that was an issue for the Bobcats, however. Twice in the game, they took penalties while on the power play, robbing them of potential opportunities to narrow the Bulldogs’ lead. The second of these penalties was particularly problematic.

Ohio trailed 4-1 near the end of the second period when Adrian forward Chris Donaldson was called for slashing. However, a mere 10 seconds later, Ohio defenseman Spencer Schons was called for holding and the teams were back at even strength. Adrian proceeded to score with just 13 seconds left in the period to go up 5-1.

This play perfectly encapsulated what was just about the worst special teams night possible for Ohio, and Mauron knows that it cannot afford those games, especially against teams like Adrian.

“We never really had the chance to create momentum on our special teams tonight,” Mauron said. “That’s something you need to have if you want to beat good teams.”

Coming into Friday’s game, Ohio was eighth in the American Collegiate Hockey Association in penalty minutes, but it could climb as high as fourth following its 23 minutes against Adrian. When that is combined with a penalty kill percentage that ranks 49th out of 69 teams, it is easy to see why Ohio has allowed the joint most power play goals in the ACHA.

It is clear that the biggest reason the Bobcats have dropped to 7-6 on the season is that they cannot stay out of the penalty box and are unable to consistently kill off penalties. The Bobcats will have two days off following this weekend’s series, but then they will be back to work trying to fix this glaring weakness.

@willocunningham

wc425318@ohio.edu

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