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Luc Reeve(8) dribbles the puck down the ice at Bird Arena. OHIO Hockey beats Drexell University 6-2 on Saturday January 21, 2023.

Hockey: Power plays boost Ohio in 10-1 win

The beginning of Ohio's fourth game against Illinois Saturday started out like most of its other games this season, with Ohio scoring first. However, the rest of the game looked different from what Ohio is used to. 

Despite three disqualifications and 63 penalty minutes throughout the game, the Bobcats crushed the Fighting Illini 10-1 in front of, once again, a packed Bird Arena.

Based on those numbers, it would seem as if penalties were a problem for the Bobcats, but they actually helped them win. The Bobcats capitalized on the Illini's mistakes and kept them from using theirs. 

Before heading to the locker room after the first period, multiple players from both Ohio and Illinois engaged in an almost bench-clearing fight. It resulted in Phil Angervil, Andrew Sacca and Ryan Hastings each earning 15-minute major fighting penalties with disqualification. However, four players from Illinois also got disqualified, putting Ohio on a five-minute power play to start the second period. 

That power play gave the Bobcats, who struggled for most of the first period, new life. Andrew Wells and Luc Reeve each scored a goal less than three minutes into the period, giving the Bobcats confidence and strengthening their lead from one goal to three. 

Ohio didn't stop there and was the only team to score from that point on. With three of its go-to players out, Ohio looked to younger players like Christian Albertson and Jack Glen to fill the gaps. Each one scored a goal in the second to put Ohio up 6-1 heading into the second intermission. 

Because Ohio has such a deep bench, the team was not panicked by the disqualifications. It gave other players like Albertson, Glen, John McLaughlin and Lucas Renzoni more of a chance to play. 

"We have players that really stepped up," Ohio coach Lionel Mauron said. "When the other guys got kicked out, it gave ice to guys who usually play a little less. They brought a lot of energy, and our depth was really useful right now."

It also gave Ohio's usual scorers a chance to step up. Wells and Ryan Higgins each used Illinois' 88 penalty minutes to their advantage and finished the night with two goals. Reeve, who continues to lead Ohio and the American Collegiate Hockey Association in points, ended the game with six, including two goals and four assists. 

J.T. Schimizzi also added two assists, earning his 100th career point on Saturday.

"I think everyone had to step up with a couple guys out of the lineup," Reeve said. "But we really got it together and held the ship together while it was kind of going downhill."

With the win against their Central States Collegiate Hockey opponent Illinois, the Bobcats were crowned CSCHL regular season champions. It is a great honor for the team, but they are already looking at what's ahead. 

"It's a great feeling," Reeve said. "We're gonna celebrate tonight, but it's going to be short lived. We're gonna come back tomorrow. We're gonna be working hard, getting ready for Minot (State) next weekend." 


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