Ohio returned to Bird Arena Saturday after pulling off an impressive upset against No. 1 Minot State on Friday night. Saturday however was a different story. Ohio suffered an 8-5 loss in its own barn.
Despite their solid performance overall, the Bobcats could not keep up with the Beavers’ scrappy offense. A last-minute scoring rally from the Beavers allowed them to overtake the Bobcats.
“I think their transition game was better tonight. They were able to find our players with more speed, and we had to get back up and down the ice a lot. That really hurt us in the long run,” Ohio coach Lionel Mauron said.
Overall, the Bobcats still have room to improve before playoff season begins, but they held their own against the Beavers and were able to correct a few of last week’s issues, such as penalty minutes. Ohio only had eight penalty minutes on Saturday.
The first period was Ohio’s best. Hollander Thompson started the action with a goal slightly over five minutes into the first period. The freshman has recently proved himself to be an offensive asset for the Bobcats and made his way into the starting line. Another freshman, Laker Aldridge, then scored power-play goal seconds later despite the Beavers’ taunting.
Minot State wasn’t quite ready to settle yet. With six minutes left in the first period, defenseman Eric Soar scored, and Minot State was on the board.
Ohio faced a brutal start to the second period. Minot State scored just 30 seconds in, and then again less than a minute later. Ohio didn’t let that rain on its parade, though. Aidan Grieco found a way to tie the game by scoring his 10th goal of the season. Ohio then reclaimed the lead on a slap shot from Luc Reeve that came from halfway across the ice.
Bird Arena was a deadlock. Both teams took their intensity to the next level, however, it was Ohio who broke through. Lucas Renzoni scored his first career goal to give Ohio the lead.
Renzoni’s goal wasn’t enough, though. Minot State’s physical attack grew tenfold and it scored four goals in the third period.
“We are a little short-handed this weekend. We played three lines throughout the weekend and in the third, we were running on fumes a little bit. We’ll get back healthy,“ Mauron said. "I’m happy about the way we played this weekend.”
Aldridge shared a similar outlook as Mauron. Ohio was outmanned by Minot State.
“I think we just have to bare down. You have to score the big goals, get the team in the right spot and score more goals than the other team. That’s hockey.”