BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — In hockey, most often you’re going to lose by watching the game from the penalty box. Saturday night against Michigan State, Bowling Green proved that theory true.
The No. 1-ranked Spartans capitalized on Bowling Green penalties to give them a 3-1 win, their 11th of the year.
With the score tied at one apiece after the first period, the Falcons started to play the role of Mr. Self-destruct in the second with five penalties, giving the Spartans two five-on-three power plays.
So 7:29 into the second frame, Michigan State freshman center Jeremy Jackson converted on the first two-man advantage, putting in a rebound of an Adam Hall shot as the Falcons’ D’Arcy McConvey and Louis Mass watched from the box.
With 8:24 left in the same period Kevin Bieska was charged with holding, while 35 seconds later teammate Grady Moore joined him in the box with a slashing penalty of his own.
The Spartans 45 seconds later converted their second five-on-three of the period as sophomore Brian Maloney netted his seventh goal of the season when he one-timed a Rustyn Dolyny pass by Falcon netminder Tyler Masters.
“I thought that the five-on-threes in the second period obviously turned the game,” BG coach Buddy Powers said. “The players have to get a feel for the ref, and if he is calling the stick on the glove penalty than you can’t be doing it. We did it three times against Michigan State and you can’t give a team like that those opportunities because they are going to be successful. I thought that they were the dominant team tonight.”
The Falcons had a five-on-three of their own at the end of the second period as Spartan Jon Insana was called for holding at 19:29 and Andrew Hutchinson was given a cross-checking minor 23 seconds later.
The power play gave the Falcons a chance to score with less than ten seconds to go as they ran a set faceoff play that got Moore two hard shots into Ryan Miller.
“Grady Moore was open, let go a rocket and Miller made a great save on it,” said Powers. “In those last ten seconds we had three shots, and if one of them went in, it’s 3-2 and the complexion of the game is different. Then we came out the third period with the carryover power play and we were ineffective with it. That was our opportunity to get back in it.”
The solid play of Spartan goaltender Miller, who made 18 saves on 19 BG shots, gave the Michigan State offense the opportunity to work hard in the Falcon defensive zone.
“In the offensive zone I though that our forwards did a good job of cycling the puck, moving it, keeping control and creating chances,” Michigan State coach Ron Mason said. “It’s not only that we were dominating on shots, but we were dominating territorially. It does not mean you are going to win the game, but if you score on the power play chances are you will.”
The Falcons opened up the night’s scoring when on a two-on-one shorthanded opportunity 1:54 into the game, sophomore Tyler Knight lifted the puck over a Spartan defender to freshman Mark Wires, who corralled it and shoveled it past Miller for his second goal of the season.
The Spartans answered with 2:34 left in the first period when Hall wristed a shot from the right faceoff circle that just beat Masters’ glove.
The loss puts the Falcons in tenth place in the CCHA with a 2-6-4 record, while the Spartans keep the top spot with an 8-1-2 conference record.