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Freshman Jaden Pashe (26) and Senior Sam Turner (27) race a Toledo player to the puck in Bird Ice Arena on Dec. 2, 2022.

Hockey: Ohio doesn't let penalty minutes get in the way of 6-1 victory

Ohio was back in Bird Arena this weekend for its last series of home games after traveling to Lynchburg, Virginia, last weekend to face Liberty. Ohio thrives on home ice, though, and that showed in Friday’s 6-1 victory.

“It is awesome being back with the band (Marching 110) being here. There was so much energy in here and it was so fun, and you could tell that was making the guys really energetic,” said Ohio coach Lionel Mauron.

The energetic environment coupled with a clean offensive strategy and confident play allowed Ohio to run away with the victory early on.

The Bobcats came out of the gate with their typical first period energy. The scoring started early with a goal from senior Andrew Sacca just under four minutes in. Hollander Thompson followed up with a power play goal, giving Ohio a 2-0 lead. This lit a flame for Niagara, and it countered with its only goal of the night seconds later. Another senior, Andrew Wells, capped the period off with a slapshot into the net, bringing the score to 3-1. 

In contrast to a fairly run-of-the-mill first period, the second period was action-packed from start to finish. It was a big night for the seniors, as Ryan Higgins scored the Bobcats' fourth goal five minutes into the period.

Ohio was on a roll, as Luc Reeve smacked one in for his 33rd goal of the season. This also prompted a goaltender change from Niagara, which Reeve immediately capitalized on for his 34th goal, giving the Bobcats a five-goal lead.

Tensions began to bubble and eventually boiled over when two Niagara players taunted Luc Reeve. That led to a brawl that ended with Laker Aldridge and Hollander Thompson getting disqualified, as well as a Niagara player.

The Bobcats and the Purple Eagles earned 34 and 19 penalty minutes, respectively, in the second period alone. Yet, the Bobcats didn’t get tripped up. Justin Damon produced impressive saves in the second half and again proved to be quite the defensive asset for the Bobcats.

”For the past three to four weeks he’s been lights out and tonight he made some big saves again and kept us in the game the whole time,” said Mauron.

No goals were scored in the third period, but the penalty trouble continued for both teams.

“I was pretty frustrated … Niagara was putting their fourth line against our top guys and trying to stir things up,” said Mauron. The Bobcats had a similar problem against Minot State, who also attempted to stir things up amongst some of Ohio’s top players, particularly Laker Aldridge.

It’s the Bobcats' last weekend at home this season, meaning it’s the seniors’ last weekend ever in Bird Arena. Andrew Sacca, who had a goal and an assist and is having one of his best seasons yet, is trying to block that feeling out.

“I’m trying not to think about it too much, I think in a couple years I’ll look back and reminisce on this, but for now I just have to play,” Sacca said.


Emma Erion

Managing Editor

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