|3rd||0:12||BGS||1-0||EV GW||Brent Tate (5)||Adam Berkle/6|
|3rd||14:08||BGS||2-0||EV||Matt Pohlkamp (6)||Pierre-Luc Mercier/11, Kevin Dufour/4|
|3rd||18:53||BGS||3-0||EV||Adam Berkle (4)||Sean Walker/7, Brent Tate/2|
|Shots on Goal||1st||2nd||3rd||SOG|
|Team Stats and Records||PP||PIM||SHGF|
|Bowling Green (13-3-3)||0/4||5/10||0|
|Davis Jones (L, 9-5-0)||59:56||3||8||7||16||31|
|Bowling Green Goaltending||MIN||GA||1||2||3||Saves|
|Chris Nell (W, 6-0-1)||60:00||0||7||3||8||18|
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio - The No. 11 ranked Bowling Green State University ice hockey team defeated Alaska, 3-0, Friday (Jan. 9) night in front of a packed crowd of 3,579 fans at the BGSU Ice Arena. The Falcons received third-period goals from Brent Tate, Matt Pohlkamp and Adam Berkle, while freshman goaltender Chris Nell - who is still undefeated with a record of 6-0-1 - turned away all 18 of the Nanooks' shots to earn his third shutout on the season.
"The third period, we put more pucks and more people towards their net, and we got rewarded for it," head coach Chris Bergeron said. "That was the main difference between the first two periods, and the third period."
The shutout ties Nell with three other Falcons - Tommy Burke (2013-14), Jimmy Spratt (2008-09) and Tyler Master (2000-01) - for the program record for most shutouts in a single season.
With the victory, Bowling Green improves to 13-3-3 (9-1-1 WCHA), while Alaska drops to 12-9-0 (7-8-0 WCHA). The Orange and Brown - who haven't been defeated since Oct. 14 (3-2 vs. Ohio State) - are now 6-0-2 over their last eight games.
After two scoreless periods to open up the hockey game, Tate scored just 12 seconds into the third to give the Falcons the lead for good. After quickly winning the faceoff and working it into the Alaska zone, Berkle stole the puck, circled out from behind the net and found a cutting Tate. Tate then slid the puck five-hole on Davis Jones - who stopped 31-of-34 Falcon shots - to give BGSU all the momentum.
"It was huge," Berkle said of the first goal of the evening. "The team that strikes first has the momentum there. The crowed we had, the building erupted after we scored. It was a good momentum push for us - it carried us for the rest of the third."
Seconds later, Pierre-Luc Mercier walked out in front of the goal and nearly put BGSU up 2-0, but Jones made an impressive glove save with the net gaping. However, it was then Mercier who played a huge part in giving the hosts that two-goal advantage.
After picking a loose puck up in the neutral zone, Mercier dangled a pair of Nanook defenders before dishing a pass between his legs to Pohlkamp, who smashed the biscuit into the bottom-left corner of the cage.
Bowling Green dominated during the final frame, out-shooting Alaska, 19-8. The Falcons continued to put on the pressure in the dying moments of the game, and were rewarded a third time when Berkle cleaned up a rebound that put BGSU ahead, 3-0, with just 1:07 to go in the contest. Sean Walker - who was on the ice along with Mike Sullivan for all three of the Falcons' goals - fired a shot from the point that was initially denied, but Berkle was in the right place at the right time.
As BGSU struggled to score across the first two periods, the Falcon power play unit - which entered the contest ranked second in the nation - killed power play attempt after power play attempt, as Alaska frittered away some early chances to take the lead. In total, Bowling Green went 5-for-5 on the kill - catapulting the Orange and Brown to the top ranked penalty kill unit in the country (93.4 percent). The Falcons limited Alaska to just four shots over their five power play opportunities.
Nell stood tall the entire night. The freshman stopped a breakaway just 27 seconds into the game, while also denying a 1-on-the-goalie chance in the final seconds of the contest. He was flawless in between those stops as well, making a point-blank save at the midway point of the first, prior to making a kick-save in the third that helped kill off another power play.
"Our penalty kill unit, we're on the same page," said Bergeron. "We're executing at a pretty high level. Special teams make the difference in these types of games."
The two teams will complete the weekend series tomorrow night at the BGSU Ice Arena. The puck is scheduled to drop at 7:07 p.m.