BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — With less than five minutes left to go in regulation and the game on the line, Bowling Green’s Greg Day and Ryan Fultz found themselves with a full head of steam, driving into the Michigan State defensive zone versus netminder Ryan Miller.
Day and Fultz won the battle, converting a rebound chance into a goal for a 3-3 Falcon tie with the No. 1 Spartans.
With no chance to pass to Fultz on the two-on-one, Day took a slapshot on Miller, who kick-saved the puck directly in front of the goal, where Fultz was heading. Fultz then gathered up the puck and slammed it into a partially-open net for the tying score.
Early on, the Falcons built a quick lead by capitalizing on Spartan penalties in the opening minutes. MSU’s Joe Markusen was called for a crosscheck 2:45 into the first period, and was joined by teammate Damon Whitten in the box 48 seconds later on a slash.
The Falcon two-man advantage gave their recently successful power-play units room to work, and work they did. Curtis Valentine gave the Falcons the lead for the third time this season as he found a rebound in front of Miller and stuffed it by the sophomore goaltender for a 1-0 lead.
Then, with 1:35 still left on the Whitten penalty, the Falcons’ second power-play unit got into the act as Ryan Murphy redirected a Grady Moore shot into the lower left corner of the net.
“When you put yourself down two men that early in the game, it’s not good,” Spartan head coach Ron Mason said. “They were opportunists in that position and took advantage of it. They need some goals, and that is what the doctor ordered for that team.”
The Spartans were in no means finished, netting a two-pack of their own in the second period. Andrew Bogle and Sean Patchell both scored off one-timers to knot the game at two.
The third Spartan goal was something very special for Adam Hall and Brian Maloney. Less than two minutes into the third period Hall found himself trying to keep possession of the puck while being mauled by Falcon defenders, but he somehow found a way to slide it over to Maloney, who beat Masters by hitting the left post and the crossbar.
Afterward, Mason suggested that the Spartans were lucky to get a point against a BG team whose record of 2-7-4 belies its performance this season.
“I thought that BG played pretty well the whole game long,” Mason said. “We were pretty fortunate … to get back into the game. When we went up 3-2, I thought that maybe we would steal one, but that didn’t happen.
“Coming into this facility and battling back, I guess we will take the point and run, but on the other hand, when you are up 3-2, you do not like to think you’re not going to win.”
Both teams do it all over again Saturday night.