BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — With six ties already this season, Bowling Green didn’t want another to kick off the second half of the CCHA season. Instead, the Falcons netted a goal with 28 seconds remaining in overtime to register a 5-4 come-from-behind victory over visiting Notre Dame.
Senior Kevin Bieksa took a slapshot from the top of the left circle, which rebounded out to junior Steve Brudzewski to the left of the crease. The puck found its way off the stick of freshman James Unger, on the right side of the crease, and between two Notre Dame defenders and goalie Morgan Cey for the game-winning goal.
It was Unger’s first GWG of his career and just his third goal of the season.
“It was a great college hockey game,” said BGSU coach Scott Paluch. “There were a lot of ups and downs, and lot of saves, and it comes down to getting a big goal to win it. I’m real proud of the way we were able to stay with it. I thought even when we got down we were playing a real solid game. A lot of tonight’s effort started last week in the second game against Duluth.
“We want that to be the makeup of our team. That regardless of the situation there’s time on the clock and there’s a hockey game to be played, and we want everything out of our guys.”
A Notre Dame power-play goal in the first period and another score at the 8:37 mark of the second had the Falcons down 2-0. Senior D’Arcy McConvey cut the deficit to 2-1 at 10:27 of the second with assists from Unger and Brian Escobedo. The goal snapped Cey’s shutout string at 158:53, with the Irish netminder coming off back-to-back 1-0 shutouts.
ND responded with an Aaron Gill power-play goal at 11:02 to build its lead back to 3-1. Bieksa then scored at 13:26 to bring the Falcons back within one before Jason Paige game the Irish another two-goal lead at 18:09.
However, with just 10 seconds left in the second period, Brett Pilkington notched his team-leading eighth goal of the season on the BGSU power play to bring the home team back within one at 4-3. McConvey and Rich Meloche assisted, ending a wild, six-goal second period.
Brudzewski knotted the game at 4-4 with a power-play goal at 14:08 of the third period before the flurry that gave BGSU its first overtime win of the season and its first CCHA victory since Oct. 31 vs. Miami.
“We’ve started playing real gritty, in-your-face hockey since the second game of the Duluth series,” said Brudzewski.
The Falcons played one man down for most of the game after sophomore Mike Falk left the game due to a shoulder injury early in the first period. Senior Mark Wires, the team’s leading point-getter entering the game, did not play due to a leg injury suffered earlier in the week.
BGSU improves to 5-10-6 overall and 3-7-3 in the CCHA. Notre Dame falls to 10-7-2 overall and 7-6-2 in league play. The two teams conclude their two-game series in South Bend on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. in the Joyce Center.