BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — Late in the third period, it became apparent that Bowling Green was going into overtime against Ferris State with a playoff berth on the line.
The Falcons were a frustrated team that had hit iron five times — and if the puck wasn’t hitting the post, it was hitting FSU goaltender Phil Osaer’s pads.
The result: after 60 minutes of play the game was scoreless.
“I told the guys to keep shooting the puck,” BG coach Buddy Powers said. “I do not think that we shot the puck enough. There were a lot of times in the game that we were looking for the better shot and we ended up not getting a shot at all. We just kept on telling them to put it on the net and even from bad angles.”
Then magic happened for BGSU.
Falcon defenseman Doug Schueller passed the puck up to speedy winger Ryan Wetterberg, who skated through the right faceoff circle and threw the puck at the FSU net.
It hit the post and bounced out to teammate Austin De Luis, who put the puck home for the win.
“Wetterberg made a good shot that went off the post,” De Luis recalled. “The puck came right to me and I put it in; it was easy. We pretty much dominated the game offensively — they never had any chance — but we ended up winning the game and that’s all that matters.”
The task is not over for the Falcons, who must win again Saturday night against Ferris to ensure themselves of the postseason. In particular, a tie Friday would have eliminated BGSU from playoff contention, and if the game had not been won with 2:07 left in overtime, Powers said he would have pulled goaltender Masters for a six-on-five.
The Bulldogs ended up taking 10 penalties for 20 minutes, resulting in eight power-play chances for the Falcons. The need for penalty kill after penalty kill wore FSU down physically, which was not good going into a scoreless overtime period.
“We ended up having to kill an awful lot, especially the five-on-threes, and I do think that it really taxed us physically,” FSU coach Bob Daniels said. “It takes a lot more energy to kill than play five-on-five and because of that we wore down quite a bit. We put ourselves in the box, so we have no one to blame but ourselves.”
The two men overshadowed with the playoff talk and the Falcon overtime victory at home were the goaltenders. After not really being tested during the first period, Osaer buckled down and made every save in regulation, including 12 in the third period alone.
Masters, on the other hand, broke the record for most shutouts in a season for a Falcon as he claimed his third of the season with 21 saves.
“Our defense played unbelievably tonight,” Masters said. “It seemed like every time that they would try to shoot, our ‘D’ would put a stick on it. The record is not important right now: getting into the playoffs is. [But] It’s nice to get [the record] on a nice night like this.
“I will never forget it.”