BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — Bowling Green (3-7-1, 3-5-1 CCHA) had its biggest scoring output since 2001 against a Northern Michigan team that doubled the Falcons up last night, as they came out on the winning side of an 8-4 score on Saturday night.
The victory snapped a three-game losing streak for the Falcons. The Wildcats (6-6-0, 3-5-0), after starting the season 5-1-0, have now lost five of their last six games.
The second game of the series saw a reversal of fortunes for both teams. Tonight, it was the Falcons who came out swinging from the opening bell, notching six first-period goals against a usually staunch Wildcats defense.
“[Bowling Green] turned it on,” said NMU head coach Walt Kyle. “They did to us tonight what we did to them last night.”
Bowling Green received a solid goaltending performance from senior netminder Jon Horrell, as he earned his first victory as a Falcon.
“John Horrell was very good,” said Bowling Green coach Scott Paluch. “He answered the bell early, and I think he was real key in the second period in those penalty kill situations. It was a real solid game and he managed the game well playing with the lead. You know that [Northern Michigan] is going to get some chances, and he made a lot of saves. It was good to see him get his first career win.”
The Wildcats struggled to find consistency in net. Sophomore Bill Zaniboni was given the nod to start on Saturday after being benched on Friday. He was replaced midway through the period by Derek Janzen after giving up a pair of soft goals. When Janzen gave up four markers in less than 21 minutes, Zaniboni was back in net.
“It’s been an issue,” said Kyle of the team’s goaltending. “I thought that
they each let in a bad one, and that’s all. But, they still beat us 6-4, even if we don’t let those in. Goaltending was not an issue in winning the game tonight, but it’s an issue in regards to accountability. It’s not a one-night deal here. It’s become an issue.”
After struggling in the opening stanza of play on Friday night, the Falcons exploded for six first-period goals on Saturday.
Special teams goals from James Unger (power play) and Alex Foster (shorthanded), along with even-strength goals from Derek Whitmore, Brandon Svendsen, Mike Falk, and Foster accounted for the lopsided scoring in the period.
For Paluch, finally getting the puck to bounce the way of the Falcons was a
“This group is a very resilient, hard-working group,” he said. “There’s no question, things haven’t gone the way any of would have liked, in terms of the record and the amount of points that we have. But, I’ve said all along, Monday through Thursday, this team works extremely hard. And tonight was something that wasn’t a surprise. This was expected. We know what his group is capable of.”
Northern Michigan picked up a pair of goals from senior Andrew Contois, but was still plagued with a huge defecit going into the second period. Dirk Southern assisted on both goals, giving him the 99th and 100th points of his career.
The teams traded goals in the second period, both coming off of one NMU power play.
Ben Geelan gave the Falcons a 7-2 lead at 13:17 of the period. He wrested the puck away from a Wildcats skater at center ice, skated in on Derek Janzen, and beat him five-hole for his third goal of the year. The shorthanded goal was unassisted.
Northern Michigan scored a power-play goal just 32 seconds later. Sophomore Mike Santorelli skated through traffic and beat Jon Horrell with a backhander in front of the crease for his fourth tally of the season. Jamie Milam and Darin Olver assisted.
Bowling Green’s Bryan Dobek and NMU’s Bobby Selden closed out the scoring for their respective teams in the final stanza of play.
The Falcons finished the night 1-for-5 on the power play. Their special-teams unit also scored the pair of shorthanded goals. NMU ended the night 1-for-7 on the power play.
Jon Horrell stopped 33 of 36 shots on the evening, while the NMU goalies stopped 25 of 33 chances.
Next up for the Falcons is a home-and-home series against Miami over Thanksgiving weekend. The Wildcats travel to Fairbanks next weekend to take on the Nanooks.