Bobcats make Flames pay on PK, completing sweep in Ohio, 5-2
By sweeping Liberty University’s ACHA Division I men’s hockey team this weekend — winning 7-0 on Friday and 5-2 on Saturday at Bird Arena in Athens, Ohio — Ohio University re-established the lead in the all-time series between the two teams, 18-17. The Flames had won 14 of the previous 17 matchups, but have now lost three of the past six.
Seeking to respond to being shut out for the first time in nearly a year, the No. 3-ranked Flames (13-8) overcame a 1-0 deficit after the first period to score twice in the opening 3 minutes of the second to seize a 2-1 lead. Senior forward and alternate captain Matt Bartel netted the equalizer just 36 seconds after the opening faceoff, finishing a feed from freshman defenseman Laz Kaebel. Two and a half minutes later, Joe Clark put Liberty on top off an assist from fellow junior forward Jacob Kalandyk.
“Bartel and Clark scored back to back and I liked our effort a lot more tonight,” Flames Head Coach Kirk Handy said. “Our guys played a lot better tonight and there is a lot that we can build off of going into next weekend’s home series against UNLV.”
However, the Flames’ advantage was short-lived as the Bobcats (19-4-1) answered less than 5 minutes later on the first of their three power-play goals. Andrew Wells put away a pass from Ryan Leonard at the 13:52 mark, knotting the score at 2-2 before Hollander Thompson capped the second-period scoring off an assist from Ryan Hastings, lifting Ohio to a 3-2 edge that it would not relinquish.
The Bobcats pounced on two more power-play opportunities in the third period on goals by Andrew Sacca at the 17:06 mark and Laker Aldridge with 3:13 to play to extinguish the Flames’ comeback hopes.
“Penalties were a difference,” Handy said. “We were in the box a little more. We had three power plays and they had nine, so that was a bit of a discrepancy there. There were a couple missed spears on the ice and a few other things. We had too many PKs tonight and it is tough to win a game that way. They capitalized on (three) of them and we didn’t have any (power-play goals). At the end of the day, we’ve got to find ways to capitalize.”
Ohio only outshot Liberty by a 36-34 margin, but Bobcats goalie Max Karlenzig was again dominant in net, making 32 saves. Flames freshman Jackson Glassford made his debut after transferring in for the spring semester and he held his own, blocking 31 shots on the night.
“Jackson played very well for us tonight,” Handy said. “He made some big saves for us and held them scoreless through the first few rounds of penalty kills.”
The Flames will look to get back on track when they host the Rebels in a rematch of a series they swept at UNLV before Thanksgiving break.
“It’ll be good,” Handy said. “I am excited to see ourselves get going again here.”
By Ted Allen/Staff Writer