There were many aspects of Saturday’s loss to Minot State that were familiar to Ohio. It got out to a typical early lead and lost itself in the final period as it’s done a handful of times this season
However, there was one detail of the game that was noticeably different. The normally physical Laker Aldridge was not rattled by the slew of Minot State players constantly coming his way on Saturday.
When the Bobcats get in a scuffle, Aldridge is often the first one there. He is not afraid to be aggressive on the ice, even if it has gotten him in trouble a few times. Aldridge’s 87 penalty minutes is the 10th-most in the American Collegiate Hockey League.
On Jan. 21 against Drexel, Aldridge was involved in an all-out brawl. It led to him getting disqualified from the game and sitting out the next two. Friday’s game against Minot State was his first game back, and he finished with only one minor penalty.
The Beavers tried very hard to change this on Saturday. They attempted to agitate the forward by slamming him into the boards many times throughout the game and even shoving him to the ground. The Beavers tried all they could do to get Aldridge into the penalty box or out of the game.
Aldridge is a huge threat on the ice, so it makes sense why Minot State would try to limit his play. He is a key part of Ohio’s offense, as he has 22 goals and 23 assists this season. It’s also no secret that Aldridge can get fired up, so he understands why teams may target him.
“I think everybody knows I have a slight fighting issue that we're working to correct,” Aldridge said. “Other teams see that I get angry and I mean, I would do the same thing if I was in their shoes.”
Despite being battered and bruised, Aldridge kept his composure and remained calm for the whole game. The freshman finished with zero penalty minutes on Saturday.
Had this not been the case, Ohio’s 8-5 loss in its second game against Minot State may have been a lot worse. Ohio’s penalty kill struggled for most of the weekend, so few more minutes in the box could have potentially effected things.
Ohio coach Lionel Mauron was happy with Aldridge’s composure and the help he provided on offense Saturday. Aldridge scored Ohio’s second goal of the game and assisted on its fourth.
“I'm really proud of him,” Mauron said. "He kept his head, he was able to produce offense. He played really well.”
When asked what helped him play so cool on Saturday, Aldridge replied with:
"Just happy thoughts, happy thoughts,“ he said.