BOWLING GREEN, Ohio. - The Bowling Green State University ice hockey team lost to Minnesota State University on Saturday night (Nov. 23), falling to the Mavericks 3-2 in overtime. Playing in front of 2,316 Falcon faithful at the BGSU Ice Arena, the Falcons saw two skaters score goals, while freshman goaltender Tomas Sholl turned away 30-for-33 shots in a Western Collegiate Hockey Association showdown.
The Orange and Brown got goals from junior defenseman Mike Sullivan and sophomore forward Mark Cooper. It was the first goal of the season for Sullivan, while Cooper scored his fourth goal over the weekend and sixth of the season. Bowling Green also scored on the power play for the second consecutive night, and finished 1-for-6 overall on the game. The Falcons' finished 5-for-7 on the penalty kill.
The Falcons' began the game with a 13-6 advantage in shots, and took advantage of their aggressive play early on. After a scoreless 13 minutes of play, the Orange and Brown found themselves on the power play. Bowling Green worked the puck around the blue line before Sullivan collected the puck at the left point.
Sullivan fired the puck towards Mavericks' starting goaltender Stephon Williams, and deflected off a Minnesota State defender. The puck redirected into the back of the net, handing Bowling Green a 1-0 lead with 6:39 remaining in the first period.
The Orange and Brown continued to put pressure on the Mavericks in the first frame, and doubled their lead with 3:57 left. Senior forward Cam Wojtala won a battle along the boards and kicked it out towards freshman Pierre-Luc Mercier. Mercier fired a pass towards the slot and found a cutting Cooper. The sophomore forward sent a one-timer towards Williams, but could not hold onto the initial save. Cooper quickly reacted and sent the rebound into the back of the net, lighting the lamp for the second time in the period.
However, Minnesota State battled back with goals in the second and third period to force the third overtime game between the two teams in two weeks.
The Mavericks scored their first marker of the game with 3:22 remaining in the second period. Minnesota State took advantage of two Falcon penalties and scored a 5-on-3 power-play goal, pulling within 2-1. After winning a faceoff JP Lafontaine found Matt Leitner in the right circle. Leitner corralled the puck on his stick and fired the puck past Sholl for his first goal of the season.
Trailing 2-1 in the third period, Minnesota State took advantage of another power-play opportunity with 11:20 remaining in regulation. The Mavericks tied the game at 2-2 when Lafontaine deflected a shot from the high slot right in front of Sholl to light the lamp once more.
Once again, the game entered overtime for the second-straight game of the two-game series. However, unlike last night, it was the Mavericks scoring the game-winning goal to finish the regulation season at an even 2-2 split.
The loss drops Bowling Green's record to 6-5-3overall, and 4-3-1 in league play. Minnesota State, who was picked to win the conference in the preseason coaches' poll, improved to 5-7 overall and 3-3 in the WCHA.
The Falcons will hit the road next week (Nov. 29-30) to take on Lake Superior State University at the Taffy Abel Arena in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. It will mark the first time the two teams will play each other since BGSU knocked the Lakers out of the CCHA playoffs in the first round last year. Now playing in the WCHA, the two will meet again for the first time this season. The puck is set to drop at 7:37 p.m. on Friday night and 7:07 p.m. on Saturday night.