KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Much to the dismay of those in attendance, the final game of the season at Lawson Arena was played on Thursday night as Western Michigan fell to Bowling Green 6-4.
A victory would have given the Broncos an outside shot at a home playoff series, but the loss means a finish no higher than seventh in the conference standings and a second straight year opening on the road.
For the Falcons the victory puts a positive end to a disappointing season and a positive boost heading into the playoffs as BGSU battled back from single-goal deficits on three occasions, capped by D’ Arcy McConvey’s game winner at 16:03 of the second period.
Defensively the Broncos were shaky at best as the Falcon forwards skated around defensemen at the blue line as if they were standing still. Most of the 32 pucks fired at WMU goaltender Scott Foster were quality chances.
“You have to execute, defensively we didn’t do that,” said WMU head coach Jim Culhane. “We scored enough goals to win the win game, but obviously you can’t give up six goals and expect to win. That’s the difference in the game, defensive mistakes.”
“I’m real concerned, this time of year those are the types of things that shouldn’t happen.”
Dana Lattery snapped a career-worst 11-game pointless streak when he put the Broncos on the board first, putting a rising shot from the blue line past BGSU’s Bob Frazee.
Mike Falk answered just three minutes later for the Falcons firing a one-timer past Foster from the slot after a beauty of a drop pass from McConvey.
Mike Jarmuth tallied his third power-play goal in as many games again giving the Broncos a one a goal edge, but it would not last for long as Ryan Minnabarriet ripped a shot from the between the hashes, knotting the game at two after one.
Assisting on the Jarmuth goal was Jeff Campbell, who recorded his 144th career point to move into a tie for 22nd all-time in scoring at Western Michigan.
Just 1:16 into the second period of play Pat Dwyer again put the Broncos up a goal, but it again his club could not hold the lead. Less than a minute later Mark Wires put home the equalizer top-shelf over a sprawling Foster.
For Dwyer the goal brought about his eighth point is as many games.
The Falcons took the lead for the first time at 5:44 of the second as Bryan Dobek picked the puck up off a carom off the end board and fired into a wide open net. Trailing for the first time at the midway point of the game, the Broncos responded when Lucas Drake put home the puck shorthanded on a 2-on-1 break.
McConvey’s goal with just four minutes remaining in the period put the Broncos to bed. Brett Pilkington added an insurance marker at 2:06 of the third and the Falcon defense clamped down to preserve the victory.
With another CCHA regular season in the books for both clubs, the Broncos and Falcons must sit and wait for the final weekend to close and the playoff picture to unfold.
The first round begins March 12.