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Ohio forward Nick Erker (#2) handles the puck in the offensive zone during the Ohio Bobcats game against the Liberty Flames on Friday, March 5, 2021, at the Bird Arena in Athens, Ohio. (FILE)

Hockey: Ohio honors seniors despite senior night loss

Saturday’s 4-3 overtime loss to Liberty marked Ohio’s final game in Bird Arena this season. It also marked senior night for six of the Bobcats.

At the end of this season, Ohio will say goodbye to Alex Singley, Drew Magyar, Ryan Higgins, Nick Carretta, and Scott Bagby. It will also say goodbye to fifth-year Jackson Chilberg, who was honored at last season’s senior night. Regardless, It was a special night for all of them, and the rest of Ohio who had to say goodbye to their faithful fans until next season.

Ohio started the night by honoring the seniors out on the ice. It rolled out the red carpet so that the seniors could share a moment on the ice with their families. Each player was presented with a picture and flowers and was surrounded by those that they love.

Each senior also got to play “shoot the puck” with their mom at the first intermission. Each mother got three chances to shoot the puck in a small slot in front of the goal.

Family means a lot to Ohio, so it was important to have the seniors' families there and participating in the night. Ohio coach Lionel Mauron said the families presence, as well as having a huge crowd Saturday, means a lot to him and the team.

“I think the whole team is a big family,” Mauron said. “That extends to the parents and our Booster Club and everybody involved. To see everybody here to celebrate our seniors just shows the kind of environment that we have because of the people who are around the players, and I'm really thankful to be part of it. There's no better place than Ohio.”

When it came time to decide who would start Saturday, the decision was easy to make. Singley, Magyar, Higgins, Carretta and Bagby were all first in rotation for Ohio while Chilberg started in goal. When it came down to a shootout at the end, Mauron didn’t think twice about who to put in, either. He let all five seniors have a chance at the game-winning shot. Although Carretta was the only one who scored in the shootout, Mauron stands by his decision.

“It was their night,” Mauron said. “They deserved it.”

Each senior brings a different element to Ohio’s team that will be hard to replace. Bagby is defensive player, while Magyar and Caretta work on offense. Higgins and Singley are forwards and also all-around players that Ohio can count on in all areas of the ice. Together, they are part of the crux of Ohio.

To Mauron, it was a privilege to coach them. Even though the season isn’t finished yet he wishes them all the best.

“They all came from (five) completely different backgrounds,” Mauron said. “They really impacted the program in their own ways. I think we're just really thankful that they decided to be part of Ohio. And honestly, I'm really proud of what they've done over the four years and tonight. I’m just really happy that I got to coach them.”

The words from Mauron to his seniors were simple before Saturday’s game.

“I told them to go and enjoy it,” Mauron said. “The last time at Bird is always really special.”


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