|2nd||8:55||NMU||1-0||EV||Zach Diamantoni (1)||Darren Nowick/16, Robbie Payne/6|
|2nd||9:59||BGS||1-1||EV||Tyler Spezia (6)||Dan DeSalvo/17, Sean Walker/13|
|2nd||14:17||BGS||2-1||EV GW||Brandon Hawkins (15)||Mark Cooper/12|
|3rd||13:24||BGS||3-1||EV||Brandon Hawkins (16)||Sean Walker/14, Mark Cooper/13|
|3rd||18:52||BGS||4-1||PP||Brent Tate (8)||Adam Berkle/14, Nolan Valleau/17|
|Shots on Goal||1st||2nd||3rd||SOG|
|Team Stats and Records||PP||PIM||SHGF|
|Northern Michigan (14-18-6)||0/2||11/49||0|
|Bowling Green (23-10-5)||1/6||4/8||0|
|Northern Michigan Goaltending||MIN||GA||1||2||3||Saves|
|Michael Doan (L, 4-11-2)||60:00||4||8||15||15||38|
|Bowling Green Goaltending||MIN||GA||1||2||3||Saves|
|Tommy Burke (W, 14-5-3)||59:54||1||7||5||7||19|
BOWLING GREEN, Oh. - For the third time in five years, the Bowling Green State University hockey team defeated Northern Michigan in a conference tournament best-of-three series, capping a sweep over the Wildcats with a 4-1 victory at the BGSU Ice Arena Saturday. It marks the sixth time BGSU has won a best-of-three series in the past five years, winning at least one such match-up in every season under head coach Chris Bergeron.
Freshman Brandon Hawkins scored two goals as BGSU's vaunted freshman class had five of the seven Falcon goals on the weekend. Classmate Tyler Spezia scored his second goal in as many nights for Bowling Green and junior Brent Tate iced the game with a goal with just 68 seconds remaining in the contest.
"What I like is that the bar continues to get set," BGSU head coach Chris Bergeron said. "We expect to play at home in the playoffs; we expect to win at home in the playoffs. That means that the future looks good."
After a scoreless first period in which Bowling Green held a slim 8-7 advantage in shots on the goal, the Falcons dominated over the final 40 minutes. BGSU outshot Northern Michigan 34-13 in the last two periods, scoring twice in each of the last two stanzas.
But it was Northern Michigan that actually got on the scoreboard first, taking a 1-0 lead on freshman Zach Diamantoni's first career goal. That came at the 8:55 mark to give the Wildcats a lead for the second night in a row but much like Friday night's series-opener, BGSU struck back.
This time, the Falcons answered quickly as Spezia, who was the overtime hero in game one, found the back of the net just 64 seconds later. He took a pass from senior Dan DeSalvo and skated up the left side, firing a shot over Northern Michigan goalie Michael Doan's shoulder to tie the game. Sean Walker added an assist on the play - the first of two assists on the night for him.
"To come back right away and Tyler Spezia just finds a way," Bergeron said. "This group has been there before. The older guys have been in that situation before and I thought we acted that way."
Bowling Green continued to press for another goal and got it when junior Mark Cooper dropped the puck for Hawkins on a nifty play. With Cooper shielding Doan, Hawkins fired away for his first goal of the night with 5:43 remaining in the second.
As the second period turned to the third, Northern Michigan found the sledding tough while the Falcons turned up the pressure offensively. Finally, at the 13:24 mark of the third period, Hawkins scored again, this time on a deflection. Cooper won a faceoff, sending a puck to Walker, who fired a slapshot. Hawkins got his stick on the shot, deflecting it past Doan for the 3-1 lead.
Things got chippy late and Tate picked up a goal on a 5-on-3 power play with just over a minute to play as NMU racked up 41 penalty minutes in the final four minutes of the third. Senior Adam Berkle and freshman Nolan Valleau earned assists on the final score of the game.
BGSU held Northern Michigan scoreless on two power play opportunities on the night and Wildcats went without a power play goal on the weekend. The Falcons were 1-for-6 with the man advantage.
On the defensive side, Tommy Burke made 19 saves to improve to 14-5-3 on the season in net. Freshman Mark Friedman, a Philadelphia Flyers draft pick, had three blocks and took three shots. Redshirt junior Dajon Mingo had three blocks and recorded a +1 on-ice rating. Senior Mike Sullivan was +3 on the ice as well.
Sophomore Matt Pohlkamp had a team-high seven shots and Hawkins added six with a +2 on-ice rating.
Northern Michigan's season comes to a close with a record of 14-18-6. Bowling Green moves on to the WCHA Final Five in St. Paul, Minn., carrying a 23-10-5 record into the semifinals. The Falcons will play Friday at the Xcel Energy Center against Michigan Tech at a time to be determined. Winners of Friday's semifinals will play Saturday for the Broadmoor Trophy at 7:07 pm.