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Ohio forward Ryan Higgins (#9) on the ground after getting shoved into Niagara goalie Jake Sibell (#30) during the Bobcats' game on Dec. 3, 2021.

Hockey: Ohio's defense crumbles in second overtime loss to Niagara

Ohio faced a familiar feeling after losing in overtime to Niagara for the second night in a row. But its loss on Saturday was different: It stung. Ohio blew a three-goal lead in the third period and was beaten in overtime for a 4-3 loss.

“I felt the momentum switch,” Ohio coach Lionel Mauron said. “I kind of felt like it was gonna turn out pretty bad once they started coming back because our effort just wasn’t there.”

The Bobcats allowed three unanswered goals in the third period alone to force overtime. The Purple Eagles made quick work of them and scored 70 seconds into overtime to seal the game. The Bobcats ran into problems on the defensive end which culminated in a full-on collapse. 

“It’s really a five-man work,” Mauron said. “I felt like at forward we were not coming back as hard as they were at the beginning and they made it hard out deep to find outlet passes.”

Ohio’s defense couldn’t finish when it needed to. Ohio was able to come out more aggressive than the previous night by stopping plays that could have proved costly. Goaltender Max Karlenzig made 21 saves on 25 shots. Ohio held Niagara to score on just one of its four power plays. 

But Ohio couldn’t hold Niagara back. Niagara scored three goals on 10 shots on goal while Ohio failed to score on nine shots. Karlenzig was scored on twice in the first five minutes of the third period. 

“I think he played well (as) some of the goals were just right in front of him,” Mauron said. “We don’t do a good job letting him see the puck (and) we allow traffic in front of our net, it’s getting outworked mostly, he did what he could (and) he kept us in the lead for a while.”

Karlenzig had multiple tough saves in the third period, including a dive. But the longer Karlenzig was out on the ice, the more fatigue set in. He began to look tired as the game wore on, and by the time the Bobcats reached overtime, Karlenzig was on his last legs. 

The Purple Eagles scored with ease, and the Bobcats were left dumbfounded.

Ohio is left without many positives from its weekend against Niagara. It suffered two overtime losses in a row, and the second came by their own mistakes. Three goals and strong defensive plays for two periods weren’t enough. Ohio lost its lead in less time than it took to build. 

“We made some mistakes,” Mauron said. “We tried to make easy plays instead of just a hard pass or hard play out of the zone and obviously those turnovers at the end of the day cost us the game.”


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