DAYTON, Ohio — Bowling Green kicked off the 2002-03 hockey season with a 4-1 victory over Niagara in the season opener at the Lefty McFadden Invitational in Dayton, Ohio. The tournament is being held at the E.J. Nutter Center.
Both teams played evenly for the first 10 minutes of the first period before Bowling Green began to pressure in the latter half of the first period.
Junior forward Roger Leonard kicked off the scoring for the Falcons at 10:05 in the first period on a back-hander from just outside the crease to give BGSU the early lead.
The score stayed that way going into the first intermission with BGSU ahead, 1-0. BGSU held an 8-7 shot advantage in the opening 20 minutes.
Niagara controlled the pace for a good portion of the second period. The Purple Eagles knotted the game at 1-1 with a goal from Hannu Karru at 1:18 in the second period. Niagara outshot the Falcons 11-7 in the second period.
BGSU gained a 2-1 lead as the puck came off of the stick of junior Mark Wires past Rob Bonk on the power play goal.
The Falcons carried the momentum into the third period. BGSU cut down the opportunities by Niagara while the Falcon offense picked up the pace once again.
Sophomore Ryan Minnabarriet pushed the Falcon lead to two goals with a goal at 17:12 in the third period.
Then, Brudzewski put the finishing touches on the game with a power play goal with just two seconds remaining in the game.
“We played a very solid third period,” said BGSU coach Scott Paluch . “We limited the scoring chances for them (Niagara) and we made some real good plays down the stretch to win the game. I think our special teams played well all night.
“We had some tremendous saves from Tyler. He was in good position to make some saves.”
Masters registered 23 saves with seven in the first period, 10 in the second period and six in the third period. Niagara’s Rob Bonk had 23 saves.
The Falcons earned their first season-opening victory in four seasons.
BGSU will play Miami in the championship game of the Lefty McFadden Invitational on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. Miami defeated Air Force 12-1 on Friday.