BOWLING GREEN, Ohio - The Bowling Green State University ice hockey team tied the University of Alaska on Saturday night (Jan. 11), earning one point in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association standings, skating to a 1-1 standstill after 65 minutes of action. Playing in front of 1,896 Falcon faithful at the BGSU Ice Arena, the Falcons saw their lone goal scored by Mark Cooper, while sophomore goaltender Tommy Burke (9-2-5) turned away 31-of-32 shots.
With the OT tie, the Orange and Brown took three of the possible four WCHA points over the weekend, and improved to 7-2-2 on their home ice. Bowling Green went 0-for-2 on the power play, while going a perfect 6-for-6 on the penalty kill. The Falcons have now taken at least one point in their last six WCHA games, going 4-0-2 for 10 total points during the stretch.
Despite a 10-9 advantage in shots on goal and two power plays for Alaska in the first period, it was Bowling Green that scored the game's first goal just 1:52 into the period, coming off the stick of Cooper. The Orange and Brown worked the puck into their offensive zone from the opening draw, and capitalized on an unusual play.
Sophomore defenseman Ralfs Freibergs shot the puck on the near side of the blue line in an attempted dump, but was redirected off the skate of a linesman. Alaska's starting goaltender John Kenney, who went to play the puck behind the net, slipped in an attempt to get back, as Cooper gathered the loose puck and sent a slap shot into the back of the net.
The Falcons' 1-0 lead stood until the 7:44 mark in the third period, as the Nanooks lit-the-lamp for the first time in the weekend series, tying the game at 1-1. After coming away with the puck in a scrum along the boards in Alaska's zone, senior captain Colton Beck found Marcus Basara near the left side of the crease. Basara's shot sailed past Burke's right shoulder for the equalizer.
With both teams deadlocked at 1-1, neither team could solve the opponents netminder over the final 12 minutes of regulation, forcing the Falcons to play their eighth overtime game of the year.
Alaska outshot Bowling Green 3-1 in overtime, but it was Burke's game-saving stop with a little over a minute remaining to avoid losing for the first time five games. Garrick Parry created a turnover in the middle of a Falcon line change and skated towards Burke. The junior forward's shot was denied by the left pad of Burke for the breakaway save.
Burke remained unbeaten at the BGSU Ice Arena with a record of 5-0-2, including a 1.28 goals-against average and posting a .949 save percentage in the seven games.
With the tie, Bowling Green's record now sits at 12-9-5 overall, and 9-6-3 in league standings. The Nanooks overall record sits at 8-10-4, while moving to 5-9-2 in the WCHA.
The Falcons will continue their six-game homestand on Jan. 24-25 versus Lake Superior State University at the BGSU Ice Arena. The puck is scheduled to drop at 7:07 p.m. on both nights.