BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — In a contest pitting clustermates heading in the opposite directions in the standings, the Bowling Green Falcons upended the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at the BG Ice Arena on Thursday night.
Besides an outstanding performance from goaltending stalwart Jordan Sigalet, the Falcons got help from some unlikely places.
Sophomore center Dana Hanson notched his first collegiate point — a game-winning goal in the third period — and freshman tandem John Mazzei and Alex Foster each had a multiple-point night in the Falcons victory.
“[We won] a very important two points,” said BG head coach Scott Paluch. “This is a team we’re going to play three more times. There are a lot of points out there, and we want to keep ourselves ahead of them for the entire season. We want to protect our home ice in these games, and we were able to do that tonight.”
The Falcons (4-1-0, 2-1-0 CCHA), playing through their best start since the 1996-1997 season, put together a strong effort, particularly in the opening and closing period of tonight’s game.
“We had real good jump on the forecheck,” said Paluch. “We caused the loose pucks and gave ourselves the opportunity to make some plays, which we were able to do throughout the first, and then after we got through the first five minutes of the third. Then, we were able to cause a few penalties and get the momentum back in our favor.”
One big key to the Falcon win was special teams. The Falcons struck twice on the power play, while shutting out the Irish with the penalty kill.
“Special teams is a big part of college hockey right now,” said Paluch.
BG opened up the scoring with a power-play goal at the 6:50 mark of the first period. Freshman center John Mazzei fired a shot off the endboards which rebounded out in front of Irish goalie Morgan Cey. Winger Derek Whitmore was there to stuff the rebound past the Irish goalie for the 1-0 BG lead.
The Falcons dominated the opening period of play, outshooting the Irish 17-6 in the period.
The Irish (1-5-2, 0-4-1) tied the game in the second period. Freshman Mark Van Guilder was the recipient of the puck after a scrum in front of the BG net. He found the five hole of Sigalet to knot the game at one.
Notre Dame nearly took the lead on a power play later in the period. Chris Trick fired a shot from the point that hit the post and caromed behind Sigalet. The puck slid across the crease and was swatted down the ice by an alert Falcon defenseman to keep the game tied.
Bowling Green got the game winner midway through the third period on their second power play goal of the night. Hanson scored his first collegiate goal, a shot from deep in the right circle that banked off of Cey and into the net. Alex Foster and Michael Hodgson added the helpers.
“I actually had just come off the bench,” said Hanson. “Somebody had taken a shot. It came out from behind the net on the other side. The goalie was just kind of scrambling to get back into the net. I saw the open net and I just fired it in on net. I had a bad angle and I was lucky it went in.”
The Falcons added an insurance goal with under four minutes to play, as Foster drove a shot toward the Irish Goalie and then watched the puck trickle out of the glove and across the goal line. Mazzei added an assist.
Jordan Sigalet, the No. 1 star of the night, stopped 30 of 31 Irish shots. Cey kept 34 0f 37 Falcon shots out of the net.
The Falcons ride a two game winning streak into tomorrow’s game at the Joyce Center. The Irish will be attempting to snap a three-game winless skid; their last win came against the No. 1-ranked Eagles of Boston College.