Ohio ended its month-long break when it hosted Stony Brook in Bird Arena on Friday night. But that month away from the ice proved to be Ohio’s downfall. It fell behind early due to costly mistakes, and it left Bird Arena with a 5-2 loss.
The Bobcats struggled to find a rhythm from puck drop. Despite making 16 shots on goal in the first period, they couldn’t score. Stony Brook, meanwhile, scored three goals on 12 shots on goal. The Bobcats have been focused on grabbing the early lead in games in the second half of the season, but Friday was a step in the wrong direction.
“You could tell we were a little rusty and we still created a lot of offensive chances,” Ohio coach Lionel Mauron said. “Overall I’m proud of the effort and the character of the guys that didn’t give up.”
The lack of scoring wasn’t limited to the first period, however. Ohio missed plenty of opportunities near the net and was forced to play catch up. Although Ohio put up more shots on goal than Stony Brook, it could only muster one goal in each of the final two periods.
The Bobcats did try and mount a comeback. Less than a minute into the second period, defenseman Sam Turner scored on a power play to put the Bobcats on the board. Turner has been one of the Bobcats’ most reliable players this season, and Mauron says the Bobcats depend on him.
“He was on the ice the whole game,” Mauron said. “(He’s) our rock, we need him in every situation, he is big on the (penalty kill), power play and we rely on him to talk.”
But Turner’s goal didn’t mean much. Every time the Bobcats pushed, the Seawolves pushed back. Ohio’s final goal came from John McLaughlin with 18:24 left in the game, but the Bobcats never found the back of the net again.
Ohio goalie Matt Server made 26 saves, his second most in a game all season. Despite this, Server couldn’t hold back Stony Brook’s assault on the net. Stony Brook scored twice in the final two periods to retain a three-goal lead and keep the Bobcats down.
“We deserved a better result,” Mauron said. “I thought we were the better team out there, their goalie made some huge saves, he was definitely their best player.”
Matvei Kazakov, Stony Brook’s goalie, was a wall Ohio couldn’t break down. He saved 33 shots on goal and kept Ohio shut out of the first period entirely. Mauron is optimistic that Ohio can turn their failure against Kazakov on Friday around and ring in its first win after its month-long break.
“They had that (goalie) piece tonight,” Mauron said. “Hopefully tomorrow we bring more traffic in front of them, don’t let them see the puck as much and hopefully (get) a better result.”