BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — Power-play goals made the difference in the game at the BG Ice Arena on Friday night, as Bowling Green topped Miami, 4-1.
The Falcons, coming into the game with an 8.3 percent power-play success rate, scored a pair of power-play goals, while the Red Hawks, entering the game at 33 percent, were shut out with the man advantage. It was this statistic that proved the difference in the contest.
“This was a very solid game by our team, said Falcon head coach Scott Paluch. “We did a lot of things necessary to win the game against a very good and very dangerous Miami team.”
Bowling Green (2-4-1, 2-3-0 CCHA) took the lead in the annual Ohio Cup series over Miami (3-5-1, 3-2-0), setting up the rematch tomorrow night. The Ohio Cup is awarded by the Columbus Sports Bulletin to the Ohio team (Miami, BGSU, Ohio State) with the best head-to-head record against the other teams. For BG, it was team’s first home win of the season.
Bowling Green outplayed the Red Hawks on special teams, picking up a pair of power-play goals, while shutting down Miami’s high-powered power play offense.
“We’ve been getting pretty a solid penalty kill most of the year. We did a good job tonight of pressuring [Miami] all over the rink,” said Paluch.
“BG deserved to win tonight,” said Miami coach Enrico Blasi. “They played a lot better than we did.”
The defense of Bowling Green proved to be just as important in the game as the special teams. The defense allowed just 21 shots to reach goalie Jordan Sigalet.
“We came out with a lot of energy tonight,” said BG defenseman Brian Escobedo. “We had good pressure on the forecheck, and didn’t give them a lot of time to set up.”
After a scoreless first period, Bowling Green got on the board in the second. Brett Pilkington picked up his first goal of the night, a wrister over the shoulder of Brandon Crawford-West from between the circles at the 2:16 mark of the period.
After a Miami penalty for tripping, the Falcons took a 2-0 lead 8:40 into the period as senior defensemen Brian Escobedo pulled in a pass from Kevin Bieksa at the point and one-timed it past Crawford-West.
BG increased its lead to 3-0 with just under three minutes to play in the period. Pilkington added his 2nd goal of the night — another power play marker. He took a feed from Jonathon Sigalet at the point and blasted it past Crawford-West from the top of the circles.
Miami answered 47 seconds later as center Derek Edwardson took a crisp pass in the slot from Matt Christie and slid the puck between the pads of Sigalet for his fifth goal of the season.
After a quiet third period, Steve Brudzewski sealed the game with 1:34 left, firing a shot into the empty net of Miami for the 4-1 final.
Bowling Green outshot the Red Hawks 31-21. The Falcons finished 2-5 on the power play, while shutting out Miami in six tries.