After almost two weeks off from gameplay and a month away from its home ice, Ohio wasn’t able to take the first of its two-game series against Niagara. It lost 3-2 in overtime in Bird Arena on Friday night.
“I think we deserve better,” Ohio coach Lionel Mauron said. “I thought we dominated most of the game (and) I think we created a lot of chances.”
Those chances weren’t enough for Ohio as the game slipped away from it on Friday. The game came down to the end, but Niagara was able to score more with the opportunities that it had.
Friday’s contest started slow for both teams with little action throughout the beginning. A goal from Andrew Sacca with less than two minutes remaining in the first period got things started for Ohio, although Niagara took away this early lead when it scored with eight seconds remaining in the period.
Niagara was able to respond to the plays that Ohio created. It benefited from coming out aggressive on the ice and staying that way throughout the duration of the game. Niagara’s aggressiveness didn’t come as a surprise to Ohio.
“I knew they were going to be really aggressive in their gameplay,” Mauron said. “We have to get back up on our power play a lot more and that’s probably what cost us the game in the end, but I think that’s just part of the game.”
Mistakes on the power plays were a common problem for the Bobcats’ offense. They were one-for-five on the power play and couldn’t find the back of the net when they needed a score the most.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t get good bounces on the power play, which if we did it would have been a different game,” Mauron said. “I think defensively we played well too, just a couple of bounces that went their way.”
Ohio was successful on the penalty kill and forced Niagara to go zero-for-three on its power plays. The Bobcats created many stops on the defensive side which led them to keep the game close.
Nick Erker is a player who has had a huge impact on Ohio’s defense as of late. On Friday, he helped prevent bigger plays from happening on Niagara’s power plays. Erker also scored the Bobcats’ second goal of the game to put them ahead for a majority of the second period.
Unfortunately, after Erker’s goal, Ohio failed to find the back of the net throughout the entirety of the third period. In overtime, the Bobcats weren’t able to get a chance with the puck, as a goal from Niagara sealed the game not even a minute into the five-minute overtime period.
“(In overtime) it’s three-on-three,” Mauron said. “You (have) to make quick decisions, unfortunately, that was the wrong one and it cost us the game.”