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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 to take on Niagara in first round of ACHA tournament

Ohio is about to play the first game of the tournament it has waited all season for: the American Collegiate Hockey Association national tournament. 

The ACHA tournament has been on the Bobcats' minds since the preseason. However, when they lost 10 of their last 11 games, the tournament looked out of sight. Despite this, when the top 20 teams who made the tournament were announced on Feb. 22, the Bobcats found themselves sitting at No. 15. Their national championship hopes were still alive. 

So who will Ohio play in the first round of the tournament? It’s set to take on No. 18 Niagara. Here’s everything you need to know about the matchup:

Opponent: Niagara (22-4-5)

Location: Centene Community Ice Center (St. Louis, Missouri)

Date and Time: March 10 at 4:45 p.m. CST

How to Watch: Subscribe here

Series History:

Ohio and Niagara have already played each other twice this season, in what might have been Ohio’s most frustrating series. Niagara arrived in Athens and handed Ohio two overtime losses. On Dec. 4, Ohio led Niagara 3-0 going into the final period. Despite letting a couple goals slip through, it still led 3-2 in the final minutes of the game. Before Ohio could even blink, Niagara had tied up the score. Ohio was stunned and ended up losing 4-3 in overtime for the second straight night. 

Beating Niagara won’t be easy. The Purple Eagles just won the Northeast Collegiate Hockey League championship and may still be riding that high. But because it beat Ohio in two tough overtime losses at home, Ohio will be looking to get revenge on Niagara by spoiling its chances at a national championship.

What if Ohio wins?

If Ohio beats Niagara on Thursday, it will play No. 2 Minot State on Friday at 4:45 p.m. CST. Minot State has been a force to be reckoned with in the ACHA, and it's only lost two games this season. 

However, if the Bobcats lose Thursday, it will be the end of a season that has been full of firsts and growth. Ohio has a lot to be proud of this season and a lot to look forward to in the future, as well. 


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