BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — In a tight defensive game dominated by stellar goaltending, a deflected puck made all the difference as Michigan State defeated Bowling Green, 1-0, at the BG Ice Arena.
Spartan sophomore right winger Colton Fretter bounced a puck off a skate in front of the crease and found the five-hole of BG netminder Jordan Sigalet at the 14:27 mark of the third period to give his team the victory. It was a somewhat familiar ending for the Falcons, who have struggled to make the puck bounce their way this year.
“This is a tough game to not get any points,” said BG coach Scott Paluch. “Both goalies played so well. Then you have a goal that goes in bouncing around.”
Both Sigalet and MSU’s Dominic Vicari stood on their heads in this contest, stopping a combined 73 shots on goal.
“Both offenses had great quality shots,” said MSU boss Rick Comley. “This could have easily been a 6-5 game. The way it was going, I thought this might be a 0-0 game. I had visions of a puck maybe going off a skate.”
Comley turned out to be a prognosticator, as Fretter’s third goal of the year did indeed find its way to the net via a skate blade.
“I was coming out of the corner. I wanted to get the puck back to the point. I just went in front of the net and it went in on the backhand,” said Fretter.
The goal ended a string of spectacular saves for Sigalet and a number of near-misses for the Spartans. The Spartans had difficulty solving Sigalet, and when they did find him out of position, the best they could do was find the crossbar or pipes.
“Both goalies had to be sharp,” said Vicari. “There were a lot of breakaways and 2-on-1′s both ways.”
Vicari was especially sharp, playing in his first league game since December 6. Vicari’s most important series of saves came in the second period, killing off a 53 second five-on-three.
“You just have to be ready and be as aggressive as you can,” he said of killing off the BG two-man advantage. “You just have to get the job done.”
While Paluch was visibly disappointed at the team’s failure to pick up points on the night, he was proud of his goalie’s ability to keep the contest close.
“The amount of saves he made gave us a chance,” said Paluch. “He was seeing everything extremely well. He smothered a lot of pucks.”
Comley was impressed with BG’s effort.
“BG stayed stride for stride with us the whole night,” he said. “Tonight’s game showed that there’s not much difference in this league between a third place team and a 12th place team.”
Both teams were scoreless on the power play. The Spartans (13-11-1, 9-5-1 CCHA)outshot the Falcons (5-12-6, 3-9-3) 40-34 in the contest.