BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — The Bowling Green Falcons (3-8-1, 1-7-1) took another perennial CCHA powerhouse to overtime as they beat the Michigan State Spartans (5-6-1, 3-4-0) 3-2 at the BG Ice Arena on Friday. The game was the third of four CCHA games at the Ice Arena to go to overtime this year.
What was unclear for a while, however, was if the Falcons actually had beaten the Spartans.
Bowling Green junior forward D’Arcy McConvey put the puck in the net to beat MSU goalie Matt Migliaccio 3:10 into the overtime period. However, neither the referee nor the assistant referees saw the goal. To top it off, the goal light had quit working. The referee immediately signaled no goal, indicating that he had blown his whistle before the puck crossed the line, but no one on the ice initially saw the signal.
While the Falcon on-ice celebration was going on, officials huddled near the penalty box, conversing via radio with the goal judge. After nearly a two-minute delay, the goal was awarded, sending the BG faithful into a frenzy.
“The puck clearly went over [the goal line] to the best of my knowledge,” said BG coach Scott Paluch. “The question was whether the whistle had blown.”
“The goal light wasn’t working,” said MSU boss Rick Comley. “They checked with the goal judge. [The referee] blew the whistle; he couldn’t see the puck.”
For Bowling Green, the strong play at home, combined with an ability to come from behind, continued tonight.
“There was a lot of atmosphere in there tonight,” said Paluch. “There was a lot of physical play. From our standpoint, we kept battling back. We talk about it all the time — as long as we’re in the game, we’re going to keep playing.”
Bowling Green trailed twice in the game, yet still managed to come from behind against a good defensive team.
“We beat a very good club tonight,” continued Paluch. “We feel good about this one — we battled hard. [MSU] was mobile on the blue line. John-Michael Liles and Duncan Keith get to a lot of pucks along the line. We were able to get to the pucks ourselves and get the puck toward the net.”
“They were making it tough to get good chances,” said Comley. “Our inability to score hurt us.”
BG goalie Jordan Sigalet started against his second big-name school in 14 days and stood tall.
“We’ve come close all year,” said the sophomore goalie. “The guys just didn’t give up tonight. We played strong and we deserved to win.”
From the start, the game seemed as if it were going to be close all the way. Although both teams were shut out in the first period, the game was tightly contested, with each team seeing some quality chances. Sigalet stopped nine Spartan shots while Migliaccio was equal to his counterpart, stopping 10 Bowling Green chances.
After penalties to BG’s Roger Leonard and Kevin Bieksa, Michigan State got on the board at the 5:21 mark of the second period. Senior defenseman John-Michael Liles fired a shot from the top of the right circle past Sigalet for his second goal of the year and a 1-0 lead. Brad Fast and Nenad Gajic assisted the goal, coming just over a minute into the penalty.
After killing off a penalty late in the period, Bowling Green tied the game at one on Ryan Minnabarriet’s fourth goal of the season. Minnabarriet beat Migliaccio between the legs from the right circle. Steve Brudzewski and Kevin Bieksa assisted on the play.
The Spartans took the lead again at the 16:05 mark of the third on a Jim Slater shot from the right circle that beat Sigalet over the left shoulder. For Slater, it was his fifth goal of the year. Mike LaLonde and David Booth assisted.
BG came from behind again and tied the game with 1:54 left in regulation as Tyler Knight whistled a shot past the Spartan goalie to knot the game at 2-2. Chris Pedota and McConvey assisted on the play. For Knight, the goal from between the circles was his second of the year.
McConvey picked up his game-winning goal with 1:50 left to play in the overtime period to give BG its first league win of the year.
“Bieksa tried to hit me with the pass but it went off the boards and I just shot it as quick as I could,” said McConvey.
The goal went through the arm of Migliaccio, giving BG the victory.
McConvey was satisfied with the way his team responded after being down a goal late in the third period. “Actually, it was our line that was out there for 2nd goal against. We just didn’t worry about it. We went right back out there and scored on the next shift.”
Bowling Green finished 0-for-6 on the power play, while the Spartans converted one of six chances. For the Spartans, their power-play goal was just their third in the last 35 chances.
Migliaccio stopped 30 of BG’s 33 shots. Sigalet snuffed 29 of Michigan State’s 31 chances.
Bowling Green is 2-1-1 in its last four games at home.
“Since I first saw this place in 1984, it’s been a terrific place to play,” said Paluch of his home arena. “With our fans — the crowd getting into it, this is one of the elite places to play. Our team has always fed off the BG fans.”
Bowling Green will next play at Notre Dame on December 7-8. The Spartans will visit Wisconsin and Minnesota next Friday and Saturday in the College Hockey Showcase.