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Junior Drew Gardner (2) watches for the puck at the game against Niagra at Bird Ice Arena, Dec. 1, 2023, in Athens, Ohio.

Hockey: Ohio sweeps Niagara, earns 9-3 victory

After a tight overtime win Friday night, Ohio was looking for a more comfortable victory on Saturday. Although revenge is best served cold, Ohio was hot during its second game against Niagara. The Bobcats' undeniable energy as a team in the first period, coupled with a newfound confidence, allowed them to earn a 9-3 win and a series sweep after the Purple Eagles swept them in their last meeting. Head Coach Lionel Mauron was pleased with the amount of offensive action in the game.

“I think we scored on all our chances,“ Mauron said. "We did a better job than last night and I think we moved our feet well and created offense."

The first period was action-packed, with Hollander Thompson scoring the first goal of the evening just 1 minute in. Laker Aldridge followed that up with a goal of his own, and Mathieu Ovaert slid another in just moments later. Ovaert also assisted on Thompson’s first goal and on Luc Reeve’s goal that capped off the period and gave Ohio a 4-0 lead. Justin Damon’s defensive performance is not one to be overlooked in this period either, as he had some impressive saves that kept the Purple Eagles at bay. 

Niagara scored its first goal of the evening early on in the second period, but Ohio used the energy from the bench to get its momentum back up and running. 

“Even the guys who didn’t dress tonight, we need everybody if we want to go all the way,“ Mauron said. "Everybody is making contributions and that shows our depth."

Jack Glen scored his first goal of the season and the first Ohio goal of the second period. John Mclaughlin followed it up just moments later, tacking on his first goal of the season as well. Niagara fought back by sneaking in another goal, but the score remained 4 goals in Ohio’s favor. The tensions were high, escalating to a large brawl on the ice that ended with both teams earning a mix of major and minor penalties. This wasn’t the only battle of the evening, and the physicality had an effect on the Bobcats.

“I thought they were trying to be very physical and trying to get us off our game,“ Mauron said. "I don’t think we kept our composure very well. At the same time, when we were 5-on-5, I think we played really well so you can’t get that upset."

Andrew Sacca scored to give Ohio a 5-goal lead heading into the third period, with newcomer Barron Stibbe earning his second assist of the evening. Stibbe was proud of the way the Bobcats played overall and the role he played in earning their victory.

“We were putting the puck in the back of the net,“ Stibbe said. "I think all four lines just did a good job getting it on the forecheck. It’s great (to be a starter); I had a couple of assists and a lot of help from my line-mates."

Aidan Grieco got the third period started with his third goal of the season; however, it was quickly answered with a goal from Niagara. The Bobcats were not going to let that slide though, and hit right back with Will Cohen scoring their final goal of the evening. All 9 goals were scored by different players, showing how Ohio has improved as a whole in the past few weeks.

“It’s great, it gives everybody confidence and everybody has been working hard for a few weeks, so it’s great to see them get rewarded for it,” said Mauron.

Ohio secured its fifth straight victory and revenge on Niagara. Stibbe knew that this showed how much the team had grown since the beginning of the season.

“I think we’re a different team than we were when we played them last time, so it feels good to get these two back-to-back (wins).”


Emma Erion

Managing Editor

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