|1st||14:07||BMJ||1-0||EV||Cory Ward (4)||Markus Gerbrandt/5, Brendan Harms/5|
|2nd||11:43||BGS||1-1||EV||Adam Berkle (1)||Mike Sullivan/5, Dan DeSalvo/5|
|3rd||0:17||BGS||2-1||EV GW||Mike Sullivan (2)||Sean Walker/4, Kevin Dufour/2|
|3rd||19:47||BGS||3-1||EV EN||Jakob Reichert (2)||Brent Tate/1|
|Shots on Goal||1st||2nd||3rd||SOG|
|Team Stats and Records||PP||PIM||SHGF|
|Bemidji State (3-8-0)||0/2||6/12||0|
|Bowling Green (9-3-1)||0/5||3/6||0|
|Bemidji State Goaltending||MIN||GA||1||2||3||Saves|
|Michael Bitzer (L, 2-4-0)||59:09||2||4||11||7||22|
|Bowling Green Goaltending||MIN||GA||1||2||3||Saves|
|Tommy Burke (W, 4-2-1)||60:00||1||7||6||8||21|
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio - The Bowling Green State University ice hockey team defeated Bemidji State, 3-1, at the BGSU Ice Arena on Friday (Nov. 21) night in the first game of the weekend series in front of 2,503 Falcon faithful. The triumph clinched the program's best start to a season since the 1995-96 season.
After falling behind, 1-0, in the first period, the Orange and Brown received goals from Adam Berkle, Mike Sullivan and Jakob Reichert. Sullivan's goal just 17 seconds into the third period stood as the game-winner, while Reichert's empty-net tally with 13 seconds left in the contest secured the victory. Junior goaltender Tommy Burke turned away 20-of-21 shots to earn his fourth win on the season.
With the win, Bowling Green improves to 9-3-1 (6-1-0 WCHA) on the campaign, while Bemidji State falls to 3-8-0 (2-5-0 WCHA).
"When we're cycling the puck, we're a competitive team. That's the only way we know how to play," head coach Chris Bergeron said. "We've recruited kids to play a certain way, and that's the way we have to play."
The Falcons only registered four shots in the opening period, as Bemidji State took the lead into the first intermission. After Bowling Green turned the puck over in its own zone, Marku Gerbrandt connected with Cory Ward for a one-timer right in front of the net - Burke had no chance. But it was Burke who kept the Falcons in the game during the opening frame. The junior made a breakaway save about five minutes into the game, and then made a sprawling kick-save in the final seconds of the period. In total, Burke made seven first-frame saves.
The second period, however, was a different story. Bowling Green dominated possession and outshot the Beavers, 12-6. The hard work finally paid off, as the Falcons knotted the contest at 1-1 at the 11:43 mark. After receiving the puck from captain Dan DeSalvo, Mike Sullivan shot a puck just wide, but Berkle was alone at the side of the cage and was able to shove it home. The flurry - which included two previous shot attempts from Sullivan - was rightfully capped off by the goal, and the two teams entered the third period deadlocked at one.
"That was the type of shift we wanted to have a lot more of," Bergeron said of Berkle's goal. "It was a great shift by everybody and we got rewarded for it."
The third period was very even, as both club's had their chances, but Bowling Green was able to break through while Burke stopped all eight shots he faced. The Orange and Brown jumped right out of the gates, working the puck into the Beaver zone directly from the puck drop, prior to Walker gaining possession of the puck at the point. Walker then slid the puck over to Sullivan, who blasted it home. Michael Blitzer - who saved 20-of-22 Bowling Green shot attempts on the evening - had no chance, as the Falcons screened the goaltender nicely.
The Falcons seemed to cling to the lead for the duration of the period, before Bemidji State went all in by pulling their goalie with 1:13 left on the clock. The Beavers struggled to earn quality zone time, however. And Brent Tate eventually won a puck battle, dished it over to Reichert, who cleared the puck from the Falcon zone all the way into the empty goal.
In total, Bowling Green outshot Bemidji State, 25-22. The shot discrepancy could have been larger, if it weren't for the Beavers blocking 24 shots. The Falcons killed off both of Bemidji State's power plays, but failed to convert on all five of their own.
The two teams will conclude the weekend series tomorrow night at the BGSU Ice Arena. The puck is scheduled to drop at 7:07 p.m.