Sophomore netminder Tommy Burke stops 16 shots for Falcons

Sophomore goalie Tommy Burke made 16 saves for the Falcons

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio - The Bowling Green State University ice hockey team defeated the University of Alaska on Friday night (Jan. 10), by a score of 3-0, extending their winning streak to a season-best four games. Playing in front of 1,505 Falcon faithful at the BGSU Ice Arena, the Falcons saw three different skaters score goals, while Tommy Burke (9-2-4) earned his third career shutout by stopping 16-of-16 shots throughout the night.

The Orange and Brown received goals from Adam Berkle, Ryan Carpenter and Bryce Williamson in the winning effort. Bowling Green went 0-for-5 on the power play, while going a perfect 2-for-2 on the penalty kill. The Falcons showcased a strong defensive showing allowing just 16 shots on goal and tallied 11 blocked shots on the night.

In a matchup that featured two teams averaging better than three goals per game in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, both the Falcons and Nanooks used a strong defensive showing in the opening period to come away scoreless after the first 20 minutes of action.

However, the Falcons dominated the remainder of the game, outshooting Alaska by a 30-12 margin. Bowling Green made the most of their opportunities by scoring once in the second period and twice in the third to defeat the Nanooks in the series' opener.

Bowling Green scored the game's first goal at the 17:14 mark in the middle frame, netting an even-strength marker to end the scoreless drought. After creating a turnover near the neutral zone, the Falcons worked the puck into their offensive zone on the far side of the halfboards. Freshman Matt Pohlkamp found senior captain Cam Wojtala behind the goal line. Wojtala quickly fired a pass past several Alaska defenders to the slot for a waiting Williamson, who beat Nanooks' goaltender Davis Jones for his 10th goal of the season.

The Falcons' 1-0 lead stood for the remainder of the period, as the Orange and Brown dominated the 'Nooks 14-6 in shots over the middle frame. Burke, who entered the night with an impressive 4-0-1 record at the BGSU Ice Arena, was able turn away all 10 shots faced through the first two frames.

The Falcons doubled their lead in the third period by netting an even-strength goal at the 11:36 mark, coming off the stick of Carpenter. Carpenter, who made his season debut tonight, stood in front of Jones near the crease. The Falcons' worked the puck around the boards to DeSalvo at the point. The junior forward fired a slap shot towards the scrum near the crease. Carpenter redirected the shot and beat Jones, lighting the lamp for the first time this season.

Leading 2-0, the Orange and Brown tacked on an insurance goal with 5:43 remaining in the game with a shorthanded goal. With Alaska on the power play, DeSalvo created a turnover in deep in their zone and found Berkle skating hard towards Jones. Berkle received a pass in the slot and beat Jones for his fifth goal of the season.

The shorthanded goal was Berkle's third of the season, which leads the Western Collegiate Hockey Association for the most goals short-handed. The right-handed forward from Collegeville, Pa. has now totaled five goals and six assists for 11 points in 20 games this season.

With the victory, Bowling Green remained in third place in the WCHA with a 12-9-4 overall record and 9-6-2 in league play. The loss dropped the Nanooks to 8-10-3, and sit at 5-9-1 in league standings. The Falcons are now 7-2-1 on their home ice, and improved to an impressive 10-3-0 when entering the final period with a lead.

The Falcons will be right back in action Saturday night (Jan. 11), facing off against the Nanooks of Alaska in their second game of their two-game home series. The puck is set to drop at 7:07 p.m. at the BGSU Ice Arena.