Club hockey falls to Ohio in playoffs

Carolyn Drummond

The Kent State club hockey team entered this weekend feeling confident after beating Ohio three consecutive times this season, but the Bobcats put an end to that streak Friday morning.

The Flashes lost 2-1 to the Bobcats in the first round of the Central States Collegiate Hockey League playoffs.

“It was a good game,” Kent State coach Jarret Whidden said. “Unfortunately, we came up on the wrong end of it.”

Junior forward Eric Horschler scored the only goal for Kent State to tie the game in the second period. Sophomore forwards Mike Lepre and Kevin Colleran assisted the goal.

Ohio scored the game-winning goal later in the second period when a shot was deflected in off of Kent State senior forward Chris Hourigan’s elbow.

Last weekend the Flashes beat the No. 10 Bobcats twice at Ohio in close games. Kent State swept the weekend in a 4-3 shootout win and then a 3-2 overtime win.

“We knew their game plan,” Lepre said. “It was nothing we weren’t prepared for.”

Hourigan said Ohio made one small change to their style.

“They forced us to work it down low,” Hourigan said.

Except for the final score, the team was happy with its effort.

“It was a good skating game,” Whidden said. “Both teams were going hard. Everybody played well.”

There were scoring chances, but the Flashes weren’t able to capitalize. Senior forward Eddie Martin and Colleran had breakaways, and Hourigan shot a puck off the crossbar.

“We were all over them,” Horschler said. “We just couldn’t bury our chances.”

While Ohio won again Saturday to advance to the championship game, the Flashes lost 8-4 to Robert Morris College in a game to determine fifth place.

Kent State takes on Duquesne at 2 p.m. Saturday in Pittsburgh in their final game before the American Collegiate Hockey Association Division I National Tournament.

“Next weekend is going to be a tune-up for Nationals,” Hourigan said.

The Flashes are ranked No. 12 in the country and will face No. 5 Oklahoma March 14 at Gilmour Acadamy in Cleveland to start the ACHA tournament. This is the team’s third consecutive nationals appearance and sixth this decade.

Contact club sports reporter Carolyn Drummond at [email protected].