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College Hockey:
Defense Keys Buckeye Win Over Bowling Green

— At 3:45 in the second period, Buckeye Paul Caponigri scored his seventh goal of the season to give Ohio State a 3-0 lead over visiting Bowling Green — and at that point the Buckeyes had more goals than the Falcons had shots.

That’s the way it went.

The Buckeyes beat the Falcons, 6-3, a score that is in no way indicative of how lopsided the game was. OSU outshot BGSU, 50-18, as Jordan Sigalet made 44 saves in the effort.

Kevin Bieksa ruined Mike Betz’s shutout at 6:29 in the second, a blast from the left circle that hit Betz’s blocker and went in short side, but the Falcons had only 10 shots through two periods and five total from within range of the Buckeye circles.

It was a night for the OSU defenders. Doug Andress netted two goals — including the game winner; senior captain Scott Titus scored his first goal in nearly a year and picked up an assist, and Nate Guenin added two assists to his season point totals.

J.B. Bittner had the empty netter to cap the game.

“It was clear from the first two periods that Ohio State is worthy of where they are nationally, where they’re at in our league,” said BGSU head coach Scott Paluch. “They’re clearly a team that throws a lot of elements at you — a lot of skill, a lot of physical size and ability of defensemen to jump in the play.”

The Falcons turned up the heat in the third period, picking up goals on Mark Wires’ breakaway at 2:35 and Roger Leonard’s four-on-three power-play shot at 19:37.

“We’re always going to keep coming and coming,” said Paluch. “We wanted to give ourselves a chance in the third, and we responded and did that.”

OSU head coach John Markell was concerned that his team might be rusty after a nine-day break, especially at the start of the game.

“The period I was scared about was the first period, and we happened to have that [letdown] in the third period,” said Markell. “We let down our guard a little bit. Give Bowling Green credit. They wanted to establish a little bit of momentum going into tomorrow night.”

OSU led 2-0 after one on goals by Titus and Rod Pelley. Titus — ostensibly a stay-at-home defender — backhanded a highlight-reel shot past Sigalet at 2:12; Pelley found the opposite side of the net clean from the top of the left circle at 10:58. OSU outshot BGSU 19-2 through the first 20 minutes.

Caponigri scored at 3:45 to make it 3-0, and even though Bieksa’s blast brought the Falcons within two again at 6:29, the Buckeyes dominated the period, with Andress’ goals coming at 7:44 and 15:35. OSU led 5-1 after two.

Early in the third, Mike Falk stole the puck in the OSU end and went in two-on-one with Wires, who beat Betz short side at 2:35, and Betz never saw the shot that got past him on the Falcon power play at 19:37.

“We shut down a little bit [in the third period], mentally,” said Markell. “We have to learn from that mistake. We have to learn how to finish teams off like we were the first half of the season.”

The Falcons (5-14-2, 3-11-2 CCHA) and Buckeyes (16-4-2, 10-2-1) meet again at 7:05 in Value City Arena on Friday night. Dave Caruso is slated to start in net for Ohio State.

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