Ohio University hockey keeps 11-game winning streak against the Flames

  • Flames’ 30 minutes spent in penalty contributes to Liberty’s 2-1 loss against Ohio University on Friday.
  • Flames fall to the sweep after losing the second game on Saturday 4-3


Liberty (8-3-0) was unable to overcome its 30 total minutes spent in the penalty, as the Flames fell to Ohio University (8-2-1) 2-1 Friday, Oct. 27.


“We just did not play the way we needed to tonight,” head coach Kirk Handy said. “We are a better team than we showed tonight.”


The Flames, who have had a strong power play running this season at 28 percent, were 0-6 on the power play. The opportunities were there, but the Flames were unable to capitalize.


Penalties were a deciding factor, as Liberty spent a total of 30 minutes in the penalty compared to Ohio’s 16.


Because Ohio was able to keep more men on the ice, the Bobcats were able to record more shots (36-32) and they had more faceoff wins (32-31).


Freshman forward Jordan Bochinski said that that the Flames will need to get more shots on goal in Saturday’s game.


“(Ohio’s) goalie is pretty good, so if we can take his eyes away and get lots of pucks on net, skate with pace, move the puck quick and play our game, we will win tomorrow,” Bochinski said.


The game started as a stalemate as both teams were unable to find the net in the first period.

Early in the second period, a major fight broke out which resulted in two roughing penalties (Bergen and Bochinski), one boarding (Bochinski), and a 10-minute misconduct penalty (Bochinski) for the Flames and two roughing penalties for Ohio (Grant Hazel and Kyle Craddick).


“I have to take responsibility for 12 minutes of penalties tonight,” Bochinski said. “That is something that we can’t do. This was a winnable game, which is the frustrating part about it.”


The big fight early on in the second period led the officials to maintain a tight control on the rest of the game.


“It is tough to gauge on penalty calls,” Bochinski said. “With the whole scrum at the beginning of the game, I think the idea there was to just calm the game down and get the game back into the referee’s control.”


After the fight, there were opportunities for both teams to score on the power play, but it was not until both teams were at full strength that the Flames were able to score their first and only goal of the game.


The Flames broke the tie when sophomore defenseman Josh Berger scored off an assist from senior forward Grant Garvin. Just a few seconds after the Flames goal, the Bobcats answered back with a goal of their own to tie the game at 1-1.


The score remained even through the start of the third period, but within the first 30 seconds, the Bobcats scored another goal, to put them ahead of the Flames 2-1.


“They really bounced back after their first goal and they just kept pressing for the rest of the game,” Bochinski said. “That is something we have to focus on, not getting down after getting scored against.”


Coach Handy said his team did not play as they should have played and that they are going to regroup for the second game of the series.


“Our top guys weren’t our top guys tonight and those guys have to be our top guys,” coach Handy said. “We weren’t the team we needed to be.”


Saturday’s Game


After a hard-fought 60 minutes, the Liberty University men’s ice hockey team fell one goal short to Ohio University Saturday, Oct. 28, 4-3, marking their 11th consecutive loss to the Bobcats.


“We battled hard,” head coach Kirk Handy said. “I thought in the first 40 minutes our game was okay. It was a lot better in the last 20.”


Ohio grabbed the momentum early as they scored less than two minutes into the game. Although Liberty received multiple chances throughout the first period to score, bad puck control and the inability to execute kept the Flames off the board until the second period.


“That was a big thing,” Handy said. “We need to be better earlier on in the game and we weren’t, and we’re going to be better next time.”


After having a difficult time generating anything offensively in the first period, senior forward Timothy Bierema came up with the first goal for Liberty, only for Ohio to score another goal less than 30 seconds later.


With less than six minutes left in the second period, forward Sam Carlson took a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct, which allowed Ohio to score on the power play and take a 3-1 lead.

“We have to kill those off, though,” Handy said. “We let them score one power play goal and those are things we want to make sure that we’re better in areas.”


After allowing a fourth goal about midway through the third period, Handy felt like his team really stepped up and gave a great effort at the end of the game.


“I thought that we were fantastic in the third period,” Handy said. “Especially right after they scored that fourth goal, I thought our guys really turned it around and played really well.”


Forward Cole Gammer scored two goals to make it a 4-3 game, and Liberty kept the attack for the rest of the game. They thought they tied it up with only a few minutes left, but the referees called it back as they said the net was loose, according to Handy.


They continued to push after that to try to tie it back up, but they could not find the back of the net again. Their attack was also halted when defenseman Jacob Fricks took a penalty with only a few minutes left in the game.


“We’re gonna grow from this experience and be better next weekend,” Handy said.

Handy said the team really stepped up after the first, but he wants the team to be on a constant attack from start to finish.


“We just challenged the guys a little bit. We have a great group of guys in there,” Handy said. “Those guys work hard and they got a lot of heart and I’m proud to coach this group of guys.”


The team had a chip on their shoulder, having lost 10 consecutive games to Ohio coming into the game, so it took a lot of heart and willingness to try to end the streak.


“I think you just try and challenge them to be better,” Handy said. “That’s a good team in there and we’re going be a good team and we’re going to continue to build here.”


At the end of the game, Handy waited until there was less than a minute left before he pulled his goalie. He said he wanted the team to show more pressure and he wanted to see more from the team.


For all three goals there were a few of the same people on the ice, and Handy said the team will watch film of the game to figure out how to disperse the puck more.


The hockey team will return home next weekend for a series against Stony Brook for a chance to rebound from this series sweep.



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