BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — The Ohio State defensive house crumbled to the Bowling Green wrecking ball Friday night as a continuous forecheck by the Falcons caused pucks to bounce all over their own zone, which BG used to defeat OSU 5-3.
The game started out looking like the big guns of the Buckeyes were going to run over the young Falcons. OSU defenseman Jason Crain, shooting from the left circle, somehow found a hole in BG goaltender Tyler Masters’ leg pads to put the Buckeyes up 1-0 1:21 into the game.
“I thought I had it,” Masters said. “I still don’t know how it got in. I was really disappointed ’cause I thought I had it.”
After the Crain goal, though, the Falcons began to show there aggressiveness and the result was a change in the scoreboard.
With Miguel Lafleche in the penalty box for an obstruction hooking call the Falcon power play went to work. Team captain Greg Day took a slapshot from the left circle of the OSU zone and the puck bounced around in front of the Buckeye goal until it found Marc Barlow’s stick, tying the game up 1-1.
The Buckeyes would counter the Barlow goal with a power-play goal of their own as Mike McCormick found a rebound and sent the puck by an out-of-position Masters at the 16:46 mark of the first period.
After that goal it was all pretty much BG for the rest of the game. Scott Hewson deflected a shot by Tyler Knight with 1:27 left in the first period while Erick Skaug was in the OSU penalty box for a hooking call and the game was tied at two.
The second period, though, caused continuous problems for the Buckeyes. Ryan Wetterberg scored his first goal of the season 33 seconds into the second thanks to the fourth line’s forechecking effort.
“It was pretty much a broken play,” Wetterberg recalled. “Tyler (Knight) passed it to Austin (de Luis) behind the net then it ended up right in the slot right in front of the goalie and I put it away. We have been trying to work on the forecheck all year and that is what we need to do to win.”
Mark Wires gave the Falcons a two-goal advantage and their third power-play goal of the evening with 18 seconds left in the second, when he rifled a shot over Betz, who was laying with his pads double stacked facing the sophomore; he could do nothing as the shot rang off the crossbar and into the twine.
Other than a power-play goal by leading goalscorer R.J. Umberger 21 seconds into the third period and a Ryan Minnabarriett empty-net goal, the game was in BG’s hands. Masters would settle down after the Crain goal to make 31 saves on the night.
“I’m really pleased with the win and how we played,” BG head coach Buddy Powers said. “That’s the way we want to forecheck, and if we can do that consistently we can win some hockey games. The guys were getting the puck in deep and were finishing their checks. It was just hard grit and determination by our players tonight.”
The Falcons scored their first CCHA win and now sit 1-2-2 overall and 1-1-1 in the CCHA; the Buckeyes are 1-1-1 overall and in the CCHA.