Ohio got its third win in a row on Saturday in front of a sold-out crowd at Bird Arena.
Ohio (10-6) beat Western Michigan 8-2, but it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows throughout the game. The Bobcats got off to a quick start, picking up right where they left off Friday and going up 1-0 less than three minutes into the game.
From there, the Bobcats got quiet. They didn’t see as much offensive success in the first two periods as they did on Friday, but were able to slow Western Michigan to lessen the damage.
Ohio didn’t pick up the pace until the third period when it put up five goals against the Stallions. Despite the strong finish, Ohio coach Lionel Mauron wants to see more from his players.
“I think for most of the games, they outworked us,” Mauron said. “They were more disciplined, they were more structured, and we really struggled. I'm pretty disappointed with the first 40 minutes of tonight, but we turned it around in the last 20.”
The Bobcats were tired. They were playing their third game in three days, and their legs needed some rest. However, a packed house at Bird Arena brought Ohio back to life. It was Dad’s Weekend at Ohio, and there was not a seat to be had in the arena. It was the first sold-out crowd Ohio has had in two seasons.
“The crowd really got us going to be honest,” forward Phil Angervil said. “We had a little slow start, but every time we made a good play, the crowd was here to support us, our teammates were supporting each other and it gave us the energy that we needed to come out with the victory at the end.”
Angervil was one player who got Ohio’s offense going on Saturday. He was making all kinds of moves on the ice, maneuvering his way through defenders to create opportunities for Ohio. On his first goal on Saturday, Angervil dribbled the puck down the ice, sending arguably the best shot of the night through the legs of Western Michigan’s goalie Alex Hufford. Quick skates and puck control are some of Angervil’s greatest skills.
“He's a very fast player, and he's a danger with the puck,” Mauron said. “We're really relying on him for that offensive creation, and I think he did a good job with that today.”
Because he is a freshman, Angervil has never seen a sold-out Bird Arena before. It was a new experience for him, but Angervil thinks the energy of the fans boosted his performance against the Stallions.
“I just went with the flow,” Angervil said. “The crowd got me excited, so I gave them a little show.”
Overall, Mauron said resilience was the Bobcats greatest strength Saturday. They kept their heads up the whole game, even when they were struggling. Resilience enabled the Bobcats to persevere and come out with the win.
“It was a difficult game because we felt like we should have scored more goals in the first couple periods,” Mauron said. “We didn't get too frustrated. I think we stuck with it, and we found a way.”