BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — One night after a 4-1 Friday loss in which the Falcons were outplayed in nearly every aspect of the game, Bowling Green took the Northern Michigan recipe of good old-fashioned hockey, but added a little bit of special Falcon sauce to the recipe for a 6-0 win.
The first period saw both teams fighting for every inch of ice, only to go into the locker room with nothing on the board to show for it. The Falcons had a power play carrying over from the first period, though, and they took full advantage.
With Northern Michigan’s Matt Hunter in the penalty box with an elbowing penalty the Falcons went to work, but instead of having nearly every shot blocked by the Wildcat penalty killers they struck twine.
BG went into the game hoping that driving the net would produce goals. Forward Roger Lenoard crashed a rebound in front of NMU goalie Craig Kowalski, took two swings at the puck then drew it back and threw it up over his pads 50 seconds into the period.
The score was brought to 2-0 when defenseman Kevin Bieksa netted his fourth goal of the season at the 3:08 mark, but the real test was to come.
With Greg Brewdeski already in the penalty box for a roughing the goalkeeper penalty, teammate Austin de Luis joined him 19 seconds later with a checking from behind penalty giving the Wildcats a two-man advantage for 1:41.
The Falcons clamped down during the two-man advantage and then killed another penalty when those expired — and then some. With Tyler Knight pushing the puck out of the BG defensive zone, senior Ryan Wetterberg saw the opportunity of a short handed breakaway and jumped on it.
“I just went,” Wetterberg recalled. “He (Kowalski) went down and I tried to shot it by him but the puck just went up into the air and fell behind him.”
Wetterberg, playing his last game in the BGSU Ice Arena, has always been an essential part of the BG penalty-killing unit in his four years; with that goal he netted a season-high of six.
That was the goal that broke the camel’s back. Senior Greg Day got the fourth goal of the game at 6:02 in the third period, while Lenoard scored his second goal of the game 10:18 later.
Freshman Colen Pappas wrapped up the scoring with 1:24 left in the rout.
“I thought that they outworked us,” NMU head coach Rick Comley said. “They killed penalties all night long and worked hard. We just had a lot of players that were not coming out to play today.”
BG goaltender Tyler Masters didn’t have that quiet of a night. The junior netminder had a 36-save performance for his second shutout of the season and sixth of his career.
With the win, the Falcons sit only one point behind Miami for tenth place in the CCHA standings with 17 points and two games remaining in the season. The Wildcats still are in fourth place, with a one-point lead over Nebraska-Omaha in a competitive race to home ice.