BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — For Bowling Green, it was just one of those days.
One summed up in the closing seconds of the Falcons’ 6-1 loss against Michigan, when freshmen Kevin Bieksa and D’Arcy McConvey collided at center ice, leading to the final Wolverine goal over a sprawling Tyler Masters.
The defending Central Collegiate Hockey Association regular-season champion Wolverines got their repeat hopes off to a good start behind three-point nights from the sophomore duo of Mark Mink and John Shouneyia.
The linemates, along with defenseman Mike Komisarek, would give the Wolverines the lead halfway through the first period when Mink roofed it over Falcon goaltender Masters at the side of the goalmouth.
That goal would be a prelude to the importance of special teams in the matchup. In the first, Michigan converted one of three chances on the power play, while the Falcons were forced to shoot from the blue line due to the passive box being played by Wolverine coach Red Berenson, only to come up empty in four attempts.
With the Falcons struggling offensively, Michigan was able to force 17 shots on goal with Scott Matzka scoring the game-winner on a breakaway 13:38 into the frame.
Mink would get his second goal of the night, and Mike Cammalleri got the only shorthanded goal of the contest on yet another Wolverine breakaway.
“We have the power play,” Falcon head coach Buddy Power recalls “Then Cammalleri comes down and undresses one of our guys and scores the shorthanded goal. That has a deflating effect on one’s team.”
The Falcons would return the favor 37 seconds later on the same power play, when freshman McConvey scored his first NCAA collegiate goal by picking up a loose rebound in front of the Michigan cage and shooting it high past goaltender Josh Blackburn.
“I picked the rebound up, didn’t even look and shot it top right corner,” the freshman said. “It was awesome. There is no better feeling than that, except maybe winning.”
The Wolverines would get two more goals in the third period, with defenseman Jeff Jillson scoring on the power play and John Shouneyia tallying the final with 1:05 left on the clock. Michigan ended the night two-for-nine with the man advantage, whilej the Falcons went one-for-ten in a physical game.
“We knew it would be a tough game in here,” Berenson said. “Scoring early was important and having the lead throughout the game was good for our team.”
The trio of Mink, Shouneyia and Komisarek combined for three goals and five assists.
“I think we spread the offense around tonight,” Berenson said. “Different guys took advantage of their chances, which is important because we do not want to be a one-line team. Mink and Shouneyia are starting to score now and Cammalleri is going to be a threat every night, as is [Jed] Ortmeyer, though he did not score tonight.”
Bowling Green, now 0-3-0 on the season, will be looking to regroup with a practice Saturday morning, hoping to rebound for the rematch on Sunday.
“We made some big mistakes that led to goals and we need to cut down on those mistakes,” Powers said. “We need to finish our chances better, our goaltending needs to be better and we cannot have the turnovers and get beat on one-on-one situations.”
The Wolverines (3-0-2) will be looking to stay undefeated with a victory on Sunday before playing their home-opening series against Miami next weekend.