Ohio decimates Illinois hockey in home shutout loss


Photo courtesy of @IlliniHockey twitter

The Illini face off against opposing players at the center of the rink. The team suffered an 0-8 defeat on Saturday against Ohio.

By James Barrowman, Contributing Writer

Illinois hockey faced Ohio on Saturday and was dominated by the visitors in Champaign. The final score was a 8-0 shutout, making the Illini’s record 0-5-0 on the year.

Illinois started off well, spending most of its first shift in Ohio’s zone but it all fell apart from there. The Bobcats dominated in terms of time in the Illini’s offensive zone, puck possession and time on the power play, all factors of which led to their thrashing of the Illini. 

A large part of Ohio’s dominance throughout the game was their complete control of the neutral zone. The Illini struggled to push the puck up the ice, and every time an effort was made, the Bobcat’s forwards would disrupt the Illini’s efforts to push up through the neutral zone. 

Another facet that hurt the Illini’s game was the lackluster performance from special teams. Illinois got a power play opportunity at 18:01 but completely failed to capitalize on the chance, with the power play unit looking lethargic out on the ice. In terms of the team’s penalty kill, they didn’t fare much better throughout the night, with four of Ohio’s goals coming while on the power play, a stat that head coach Chad Cassel was well aware of.

“Special teams, (Ohio) really pressured us, and we had a hard time getting past that,” Cassel said. “We gotta move the puck quicker. We just stand around, stick handle too much, move the puck quicker, better puck support. And the penalty kill there was just way too many passes through the slot.”

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That lack of quickness in moving the puck is what ultimately led to the Illinois’ downfall Saturday night. Too much time was spent keeping the puck close in the defensive zone rather than making plays up along the length of the ice or making quick and efficient passes. This led to the team being pushed back into their own zone where the defense also struggled heavily despite the efforts of the goalies, sophomore Nolan Woodring and junior Ben Mazurek.

Looking ahead to Sunday’s game, Illinois will be looking to get their first win against Ohio by staying out of the penalty box, keeping the pucks out of their zone and closing Ohio’s passing lanes. 


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