BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — When the CCHA’s third-best offense and second-best power play get together, goal scoring would be the theme of the game, but Saturday that was not to be.
The Western Michigan Broncos put a damper in host Bowling Green’s playoff hopes with a 2-1 victory on Saturday, thanks in large part to goaltender Jeff Reynaert.
The dominant Western Michigan offense came out firing midway through the first period. With Falcon captain Doug Schueller being sent to the penalty box for an interference penalty the Broncos went to work. Senior Brett Mills found a rebound in front of BGSU goaltender Tyler Masters after a Dave Cousineau shot to score his fifth goal of the season.
The Broncos were given another power play soon after the Mills goal when Roger Lenoard was sent off for a cross check. During the power play, Jeff Campbell took a shot that Masters then deflected up into the air. Not knowing where the puck was, Masters was not able to cover it before Steve Rymsha shot it into the net for a 2-0 Western Michigan lead.
The Falcons were able to cut the Bronco lead to one when Scott Hewson put a Greg Day pass behind Reynaert, 3:12 into the second period.
With the Falcons still having to play catch up, they turned to their power play. The Falcons were given a 5-on-3 for 1:11 when Paul Davies was sent to the box for roughing after his teammate Austin Miller was already there for high sticking.
The BGSU power play was able to work the puck around the zone and generate quality shots, but Reynaert was able to make every save.
“I think that you have to give Reyneart a lot of credit because the kid made a lot of great saves,” Bowling Green coach Buddy Powers said. “That is the role goaltending can play in a game, Reynaert was in a zone and that makes a difference. Masters play himself a great game also, so do not take anything away from him.”
Reynaert, who is ranked 12th in the conference in goaltending, was able to keep the Falcon power play to 0-for-9, while making 24 saves. Reynaert’s counterpart, Masters, did not have a bad game himself, making 23 saves.
“The game-winning goal was in the first period,” Masters recalled “But I need to make those early saves in the game. After the 2-0 lead I guess I did my job, you just can’t let those goals get by you especially in the position we are in.”
Falcons leading goal scorer Greg Day said that the power play was shut down because of Reynaert.
“Their goalie was the reason that we did not score on the power play,” he said.
“We moved the puck really well but their goalie was just equal to the task. We just did not get the right bounces.”
The Falcons now sit with 17 points in the CCHA standings with one week left to play. To ensure themselves of a playoff spot, the Falcons will have to sweep Ferris State in next weekend’s series.