Hockey: 'Cats look to get season rolling vs. Mountaineers

Ohio will look to turn mountains into molehills on Friday when they face off with West Virginia at Bird Arena.

The Bobcats (1-0-1, 3 pts.) face a Mountaineer team (0-2-0, 0 pts.) that has been outscored 13-5 during their first two games.

Yet, after dropping one game — and nearly losing both — against John Carroll last weekend, the Bobcats aren’t expecting any gifts.

“I mean, John Carroll wasn’t the team they were last year and they came in here and surprised us a little bit,” senior defenseman Paul Sergi said. “I think if we come in with an attitude that we will run all over West Virginia because they aren’t ranked … they could surprise us as well.”

The Bobcats expect the Mountaineers to play a similar trapping style that was successful for John Carroll last weekend. Sergi said the team has been working in practice to break the trap.

Head coach Jonathon Sheridan said the team made adjustments on their breakouts this week in preparation, but he wasn’t pleased with the team’s effort in Thursday’s practice.

“We struggled today,” Sheridan said. “I wasn’t happy with the work ethic coming into a pregame skate, so I’m challenging them tomorrow to come out and work harder. I don’t think they worked that hard vs. John Carroll, so I want to see what we can do if we do it right.”

West Virginia is known as a hard-working team, Sheridan said, and if the Bobcats don’t come fully prepared, there’s reason to believe the outcome will be similar to last weekend.

“It opened our eyes a bit,” Sheridan said. “I think the guys took a look at who was in the room and said, ‘wow we’ve got a good team here,’ but they took it for granted and neglected to do what they needed to do.”

Sheridan said the team isn’t in mid-season form by any means, and that there is still a lot of work to be done.

“I’m going to make mistakes, our team is going to make mistakes,” Sheridan said. “So, as long as guys are working hard, doing things the right way, I can handle a mistake. But a lazy penalty where they use their stick and trip someone because they weren’t using their feet, that’s something we have to remedy.”

Sergi acknowledged that the team didn’t have the greatest start last weekend.

“It’s just about being prepared, tough and physical, and it’s something we have to establish early in the game tomorrow.

Top defenseman J.C. Gulch was scratched from the lineup for an unspecified reason last weekend, and Sheridan said he hasn’t made a decision on whether he will play against the Mountaineers.

“It’s kind of something we have to work out and we will figure out more (Friday),” Sheridan said.

Sheridan added that he hasn’t decided on who will start in goal against West Virginia, although he “has an idea.” Freshman Ryan Heltion seems like the choice, as he stopped 18-of-19 shots against John Carroll in his first game with the Bobcats.

Up Next:

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Who: Ohio vs. West Virginia

Where: Bird Arena

Cost: $5 for students; $7 everyone else

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