Bobcats best Oklahoma, remain unbeaten
Submitted By Ryan Boyd on Sunday, October 14, 2012
What a night.
60 minutes of regulation hockey wasn’t enough. Five minutes
of sudden death overtime wasn’t sufficient. It took a thrilling shootout for
the top-ranked Ohio Bobcats (8-0-0) to complete a sensational sweep over the 4th-ranked
Oklahoma Sooners (6-2-1), 5-4.
The triumph captivated a large crowd on hand that gathered
for the Homecoming celebration. Ohio protected its home ice for the seventh
consecutive time to start the season, and continued a streak of 22 wins in 26
games at Bird Arena.
However, the victory was far from assured in the early stages of the game. Nick Rostek picked up the first goal of the contest late in the first period to give the ‘Cats the lead, but he was almost immediately matched by the Sooners’ Stan Smrke. The 1-1 tie carried into the next period.
Defense dominated the two-game set this weekend in all but one of the 20-minute frames – the second period on Saturday. The Bobcats and Sooners spent the majority of the period in the penalty box, which allowed for six goals between the two clubs. Michael Harries (2) and Rostek lit the lamp for Ohio, while Jordan Greenberg (2) and Chad Hudson did the damage for Oklahoma. The names shouldn’t surprise anyone, as the four scorers are amongst the team-leaders on both sides.
With the game knotted at four, the final 20 minutes of regulation returned to normalcy. The squads battled back-and-forth relentlessly, but goaltenders Fedor Dushkin and Nick Holmes were up for the task. Between the two, there were 58 saves on the night, which was critical in sending the contest to extra time.
The five-minute overtime period was exceptional. Each side dropped a man to play four-on-four, which created numerous scoring opportunities on the odd-man rush. In fact, Oklahoma’s Holmes picked up arguably the best save of the night when he denied Jonathan Pietramala during a three-on-one.
In the end, the contest – and the series – was decided in the shootout. The sides went scoreless until Brett Agnew cruised toward Holmes and buried the winner in the top part of the net. It was a dandy.
Special teams defined the contest. Overall, Oklahoma and Ohio combined for 15 penalties, six power play tallies and a short-handed goal. The four power play goals for the Bobcats were more than they had accumulated through the first seven games of the season combined (3).
Offensively, the ‘Cats line of Rostek, Harris, Tyler Pilmore, Tyler Benson and Mike Kretz was unstoppable. It’s as simple as that. They totaled all 12 points that were scored by the green and white during the contest.
On the other end of the ice, Dushkin picked up his fifth win in as many attempts. And despite allowing four goals, he kept his goals against average below 2.50 and his save percentage at 90 percent. He was an irreplaceable piece to the puzzle in the difficult sweep.
Ohio will put its undefeated record on the line next weekend when the 19th-ranked Arizona Wildcats come to town. Arizona is coming off of an impressive sweep of Illinois and boasts a 4-2-0 record to this point in the campaign.
The puck will drop at 7:30 p.m. ET on both Friday and Saturday night, and should be available on channels 19 and 25 in Athens or online. But like always, we suggest that you come enjoy the game in the arena!
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