BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — Sophomore backup goalie Jordan Sigalet stopped 48 shots as the Bowling Green Falcons and the Michigan Wolverines skated to a 1-1 tie Saturday night at the BG Ice Arena.
“The team played unreal tonight,” said Sigalet. “This was like a playoff game. This could be a big turning point for us.”
Both teams played an exciting, fast-paced, physical brand of hockey. The teams’ offense combined for 79 shots while amassing 21 penalties and 11 power play chances.
“Tonight was a highly competitive game,” said BG head coach Scott Paluch. “This was a classic-type CCHA game. Our competitive nature was very strong the whole weekend.”
“Their goalie played well,” Michigan coach Red Berenson said. “I’m just disappointed. When you go on the road and give up just one goal, you should find a way to win the game.”
Penalties played a big role in the game, allowing each team its share of power-play opportunities.
“A lot of the penalties were good, hard contact,” said Paluch. “Things got a little on edge late in the first and in the second.” Michigan came out strong in the opening period, playing a physical brand of hockey while controlling the puck for much of the first 15 minutes of the period.
Both goalies were tough in the opening period. Sigalet, starting his fourth game of the season, gave up few rebounds while shutting out Michigan over the first 20 minutes of play. Al Montoya was equal to the task at his end of the ice, stopping 10 shots including a 2-on-1 shorthanded shot.
Kevin Bieksa got Bowling Green (2-8-1, 0-7-1 CCHA) on the board first, blistering a shot from inside the blue line past Montoya for his first goal of the year. Sigalet fed the pass to Bieksa, giving the sophomore netminder his first career assist. Bieska was injured on the play and was taken to the hospital for observation.
“It was tough losing one of our leaders. Hopefully he’ll be back on Friday,” said Paluch.
Michigan (6-0-1, 3-0-1 CCHA) got on the board 6:40 into the second period on an unassisted goal from Mark Mink from between the circles. For Mink, it was his fourth goal of the season.
“There were no easy goals tonight,” said Berenson. We had to earn our goals. We played with a lot of emotion, but we didn’t capitalize.”
Both goalies were tested again in the second, Montoya making nine saves, and Sigalet making 18 in the period, including a save on a breakaway by Jeff Tambellini.
The two teams played back-and-forth hockey through a scoreless third period while getting many scoring opportunities. Sigalet stopped 17 shots in the period, while Montoya stopped nine to send the game into OT where the score remained deadlocked.
“I just tried to see everything,” said Sigalet. “[Michigan] likes to get the puck down low and work it. Our guys did a good job of getting rid of rebounds.”
This was the first time Michigan was held to fewer than three goals this season.
“My parents and my little brother were here this weekend,” added Sigalet. “I was just pumped for this one.”
Some additional bad news for the Wolverines regarded Jed Ortmeyer, injured in a collision on the ice Friday night. He will likely be out 4-6 weeks with an injured MCL.
Michigan finished 0-5 on the power play, while BG went 0-6.
Montoya stopped 29 of BG’s 30 shots, while Sigalet saved 48 of 49.
BG will host the U.S. National Development Team Program next Friday night in an exhibition game at the Ice arena, while Michigan hosts Lake Superior State in a two-game set next weekend.