MARQUETTE, Mich. — In its third overtime game in four playoff contests, Northern Michigan could not get the puck past Bowling Green goalie Tyler Masters as Masters backstopped his team to a 2-1 overtime win.
The Falcons (16-18-5) will now advance to Joe Louis Arena for Friday’s Central Collegiate Hockey Association semifinal against Michigan State. Bowling Green — which entered the tournament seeded ninth — is the lowest seed in conference history to make it to the semifinals.
Masters stopped 37 shots in the game, including seven during overtime to lead his team to victory. Dennis Williams scored the game-winner at 14:54, getting an assist from Ryan Wetterberg.
The goal was one of four Bowling Green shots during overtime. NMU (18-13-7) had controlled the extra session to that point, keeping the puck almost exclusively at the Falcon end of the ice.
“[Our] kids played great,” Northern Michigan coach Rick Comley said. “They were tired in the first period, but after that, they took the game over. [Bowling Green's] goaltender was outstanding — a break was going to win it. We had many good scoring chances, but we just couldn’t get it in.”
After a Falcon dump-in, however, BGSU got just that break. Wetterburg fed the puck to Williams in the slot, who fanned on his original shot and then fired one past NMU goalie Dan Ragusett.
“They got a lucky bounce off the glass, and I think their kid actually fanned on the shot — that’s what threw Danny off,” Comley said.
On 29 total BGSU shots, Ragusett stopped 27.
It was Wetterburg who gave Bowling Green an original 1-0 lead, scoring at 14:23 of the first period from Austin de Luis.
But Mike Sandbeck answered midway through the second, blasting a shot past Masters from the far point. The goal came on the power play at 12:27, with Justin Kinnunen and Fred Mattersdorfer getting assists.
That power play was the only one NMU received all night, as referee Duke Shegos whistled just two penalties.