Ohio is back home this weekend at Bird Arena and has already started its weekend with a win. Stuck in a tight game against Niagara, the Bobcats solidified their win in overtime, ending with a 2-1 victory over the Purple Eagles.
Friday night’s game had the stands packed, consisting of a rowdy group for Military Appreciation Night. The energy from the crowd seemed to fuel those on the ice, even though Ohio and Niagara were neck and neck for the majority of the game.
Senior goalie Justin Damon displayed a powerful performance against the Eagles. With a 96% save rate, Damon was the star of the night, continuing to show the consistency he has in the net. His 22 saves became more and more impressive as the game went on.
The first period ended with zero goals from the Bobcats while the Eagles’ top scorer, Devin Sanders, landed a short-handed goal only a few minutes after the puck drop. The second period also had little action until freshman Will Cohen scored with 1:45 left. Sophomore Lake Aldridge ended the game with an overtime goal.
Ohio and Niagara went head to head earlier this season in October. Both games ended in a loss for the Bobcats, with a 1-7 score the first night and 0-1 the next. This weekend, Ohio is already showcasing the improvements it has made in the past few weeks. Coach Lionel Mauron weighed in on the positives he saw on the ice last night.
“The way we moved our feet with the puck and position, we created a lot more ozone time than we have in the past because we’re doing that well, and that’s something we have not done well at all,” Mauron said.
In terms of the competition with Niagara, Mauron recognizes the team’s ability to quickly switch from one play to the next. For the Bobcats to be able to keep up with it two nights in a row, Mauron understands what needs to change on the ice.
“I think we can manage the puck better because they’re a transition team,” Mauron said. “When we miss the net that allows them to transition.”
Mauron hopes that the tough win from Friday night will motivate the Bobcats to find the desire for another as soon as the puck drops during the second game with the Purple Eagles on Saturday.
“We have a lot of energy, greed and emotions from tonight. We want to use that to start the game well.”