All good things must come to an end.
Ohio just finished its season full of ups and downs. In everything from canceled series to shootout losses and problems with the ice resurfacer, Ohio powered through it all. It finished the season 14-14-5.
While the Bobcats wish they could have some games back, those tough days will help them make improvements in the offseason. As we await to see Ohio back in action again, we reflect on this past season.
What went right
Ohio’s season got off to a promising start. It opened the season with a dominant 8-1 win against John Carroll and did not look back from there. In the first 10 games of the season, Ohio went 7-3. It only lost one complete series: Iowa State. The start was similar to Ohio’s in 2019, when it finished 24-8-4 and had the potential to win a national championship before COVID-19 canceled the national tournament.
Ohio’s offense was near-unstoppable thanks to some of its new players like Phil Angervil. Angervil had three goals and five assists in Ohio’s first six games.
Many veteran players evolved and grew as well. In the 2020-21 season, J.T. Schimizzi played in 18 games, only scoring four goals and five assists. This season, Schimizzi led the team with 19 goals and had 14 assists. Ohio fostered a lot of talent besides Schimizzi this season which served it well also.
What went wrong
Flip to the second half of the season, and It was a different story.
The opponents Ohio faced on the ice were a lot tougher. Almost every single team Ohio played in 2022 was ranked 11th or higher. When it played these top ranked teams, Ohio struggled to keep up. It went from scoring over five goals a game to sometimes scoring none. Between September and November, Ohio scored 103 goals. After November, it only scored 49.
The Bobcats also struggled in overtime. They lost all five of their games that went past regulation. When games got long, the Bobcats got tired. Closing out close games just wasn’t their speciality this season.
Despite its troubles during the second half of the season and in overtime, Ohio finished the regular season ranked No. 15 and eked into the American Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs. In the playoffs, Ohio smashed expectations by defeating the No. 2 team, Minot State, and making it to the quarterfinals.
Stat leaders from the season
Total points: Sam Turner (36)
Total goals: Schimizzi (19)
Most game winning goals: Turner and Schimizzi (3)
Most powerplay goals: Nick Carretta (6)
Most assists: Turner (23)
Most penalty minutes: Andrew Wells (2.3 minutes per game)
Goalie with the most wins: Max Karlenzig (7)
Maria: Ohio 3, Liberty 2 – Nov. 13
This was arguably the best win of the season for Ohio. It was able to get revenge on Liberty — who was no. 3 at the time — after it suffered a 4-1 loss the night before. The Bobcats stunned the Flames in their own house, giving them their first home loss of the season. Karlenzig saved 32-of-34 shots on goal and ended with a 94% save percentage. He was a crucial part of Ohio’s dominance.
It was essential that Ohio to not only got the victory, but that it also saw that no matter how tough the opponent may be, it’s always possible to win.
Things were looking bleak for Ohio going into its matchup at Iowa State on Jan. 22. Iowa State was ranked No. 5 in the ACHA, and Ohio didn’t seem ready to pull off an upset. Ohio had just lost its fifth game in a row, which at the time was its longest losing streak of the season.
However, seven different Bobcats put up points that day to bring home the win. In addition, Jackson Chilberg played arguably his best game of the season, deflecting 33 of the Cyclones 34 shots on goal.
It was a critical win at a time where Ohio desperately needed one. What made the win even sweeter was that it was on the road against a top five team who also happens to be a Central State Collegiate Hockey League opponent.
Maria and Molly: Niagara 4, Ohio 3 OT – Dec. 4
Ohio’s series against Niagara was one of its most frustrating of the season. After losing the night before 3-2 in overtime to Niagara, it wanted revenge. Instead, it got the opposite. Its loss against Niagara on Dec. 4 was a huge smack in the face and the start of a very tough stretch. After this series, Ohio would go on to lose nine of its next 10 games.
Not only was it Ohio’s second-straight overtime loss, but it also led up until the last two minutes of the game which made the loss hurt even more. Ohio could taste the victory, but the win was snatched from its jaws at the last second.
Ohio may have not ended its season with a national championship and still has wins it wishes it could have back, but it learned many things throughout the season. Those pieces will carry into next season and help lead them to success. To start, it was announced on Feb. 11 that Ohio head coach Lionel Mauron had his contract extended and will be back through the 2022-23 season. Under Mauron, Ohio will look to improve and grow under his leadership into next season.
The Bobcats may have lost six seniors but have many valuable players who will step up and fill their shoes. It will be essential for Ohio to not only get wins in big moments but to also never get too comfortable in the position it is in.
Way too early predictions for next year
Molly: By next fall, Mauron will have had time to reflect on his first season as head coach. He can use what he learned about his team to help adjust and come back stronger next year. In addition, Ohio has a lot of young talent and leaders returning.
The only thing stopping Ohio is a long season and fatigue. If it can avoid the slump it ran into in the second half of the season, Ohio can be up there with some of the ACHA’s top teams. I predict that Ohio will win 20 games and finish in the top 10 next season.
Maria: With many Ohio players returning next year and Mauron having his first season as head coach under his belt, it will be successful. If it wants to move towards the top of the ACHA, it will have to start the season strong and keep the energy until the end. Ohio will come out looking to prove who it is and if all of the pieces are put together, I am confident that it will go far.