COLUMBUS, Ohio – Saturday night's Ohio Athletic Conference opener featured much defense on both sides and ended in a way fitting for two postseason teams battling for a good start to the season. Defending conference champion John Carroll University used a burst of offense in the fourth quarter plus one last defensive stand to hold off the Purple and White, 9-8, at Bernlohr Stadium.
John Carroll (3-4, 1-0 OAC) found themselves trailing at the end of the third, 6-5, but broke out with four unanswered goals over a nine-minute period. Down 9-6, freshman C.J. Hughes (Cincinnati, Ohio/Walnut Hills) ripped a shot from the right wing for his 17th goal of the season and left 4:15 on the clock. Junior Brennan O'Callaghan (West Chester, Ohio/Lakota West) got the crowd on its feet with his 18th goal of the season. Senior Brent Walton (Pickerington, Ohio/Pickerington Central) drove deep into the zone and kicked a pass out to O'Callaghan waiting on the near post where he quickly flicked in the goal with 1:35 remaining.
On the ensuing faceoff, John Carroll committed a violation which granted the ball to Capital … John Carroll sent an errant pass across the field that flew out of bounds and gave Capital one last change with 21 seconds to go. Capital quickly drove it upfield but had difficulty penetrating the Blue Streaks defense. Junior Carson Paull (Sandpoint, Idaho/Sandpoint) made a drive toward the goal and while being hit got off a shot that was blocked down in front of the net. O'Callaghan collected the loose ball but not with enough time to regroup for another shot. The horn sounded with the final score reading 9-8 in favor of John Carroll.
Capital led the match 3-1 at the end of the first quarter, scoring all three in a row to start the game. Facing a 3-0 deficit, John Carroll then scored four straight, but took the better part of one-and-one-half quarters to do so. The two teams battled back and forth through the duration of the third quarter, before Paull broke the tie and with an unassisted goal to claim a 6-5 lead heading into the final frame.
Walton led the Crusader offense with a five-point and a team-high three goals, all in the first half, in Saturday's loss. Sophomore Ryan Rampi (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Darby) has a four-point day behind two goals and two assists. He also added three ground balls.
Junior goaltender Cole Palmby (Delaware, Ohio/Olentangy) faced 20 shots and made 11 saves on the day. His counterpart, Kyle Lake, made nine saves on 17 shots against.
John Carroll held a wide advantage in the faceoff battle, with Kyle Patterson taking 15-of-21 off the 'X'. Six of those wins came off Capital violations.
Collin Rice led John Carroll with two goals and one assist for a three-point day. He was one of three Blue Streak players to record a pair of goals, including Keegan Flinter who scored the last two for JCU.
Capital (2-4, 0-1 OAC) has now lost four straight heading into next weekend's rivalry match with Otterbein University. The Crusaders and Cardinals will meet on Purmort Field at Bernlohr Stadium on April 1 for a 1 p.m. start.
The Capital-Otterbein game will also feature an event pitting four teams of Capital living quarters for the chance to win a Jimmy John's party platter for finals week preparation. If you are a Capital student, make sure you register with the marketing team for the attendance competition and sign up to compete in the halftime competition. The last portion of the competition will see the winner determined by pure cheering volume. Come to the game for a rivalry showdown, and a chance to win!