BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — In the teams’ first-ever meeting, Bowling Green stunned Findlay by scoring three unanswered goals in the final 11 minutes of the game Friday night to win, 4-3, at BGSU Ice Arena.
The win snapped a five-game losing streak by the Falcons, who got scoring output from several different players. The game-winning tally came off of the stick of sophomore Ryan Minnabarriet at 18:58 in the third period. Juniors Roger Leonard and Mark Wires assisted on the goal.
“We knew all along that Findlay has a very good hockey team. They’ve played well in the early going, they’re extremely well-coached and were quick on the puck,” said BGSU coach Scott Paluch. “Tyler Masters made a great save to keep it a two-goal game, our power play finally kicked in after being stagnate for the last couple of games, and we were able to crash the cage a few times and get those hard-working, mucker-type goals that are important.”
The comeback began when freshman Brett Pilkington scored his first career goal with a power-play goal at 9:29, cutting the deficit to 3-2. Junior defensemen Brian Escobedo and Kevin Bieksa assisted on the goal. It was the first goal by BGSU since Mark Wires’ fourth netter of the season came at 5:30 in the first period.
“The last three games we’ve been kind of a perimeter power play and not getting enough pucks to the net,” said Paluch. “I think you saw there we were able to crash the net, get the puck there, and Brett Pilkington was able to follow up and slam the rebound in.”
BGSU was 1-for-7 on the power play, but had 17 shots on net with the man advantage. UF was 2-for-5 with just 10 shots on net.
Just over four minutes later, BGSU knotted the game at 3-3 with junior captain D’Arcy McConvey’s second goal in as many games (13:59). Bieksa and sophomore Steve Brudzewski assisted on the game-tying goal, setting up Minnabarriet’s winner with just 1:02 remaining on the clock.
“We haven’t been able to make the plays to get the win in the last five games. Tonight, coming down the stretch, making those plays was a good feeling,” said Paluch.
“I think we wanted it more in the third period,” said Bieksa. “When we got behind we knew we had to dig down deep.”
Findlay (2-1-0) got on the board first with a goal from Kris Wiebe (PPG) at 2:33 in the first period. After Wires’ shorthanded goal at 5:30 tied it a 1-1, the Oilers answered with a goal from Sean Kotary at 12:31 in the first period.
UF added another goal by Nick Udovicic at 10:59 in the second period to push its lead to 3-1 before BGSU’s comeback.
Masters had 34 saves on 37 shots while UF’s Jamie VandeSpyker had 33 saves on 37 shots faced.