BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — Bowling Green was poised for an upset against #16 Clarkson at the BG Ice Arena on Friday night, but in the end, the Knights were too much for the Falcons to handle as they dropped BGSU, 6-4.
With the victory, Clarkson (10-4-1; 5-2-1 ECACHL) runs their unbeaten streak
against the Falcons to five games, dating back to 1995.
The Golden Knights combined a strong second and third-period offensive attack
with some quality goaltending to come from behind in the game. Clarkson did
all of their scoring from the 8:46 mark of the second stanza on, while
sophomore goaltender David Leggio allowed just one goal in that same span.
“I thought our goaltender was the difference in this game,” said Clarkson
head coach, and former BG player George Roll. “He stopped a number of
breakaways. Obviously, the score could have easily been the other way, but our goalie won this game for us tonight.”
After a bit of early-game shakiness, the goaltender settled down, stopping a
pair of breakaways and numerous flurries in front of the net for his 4th
victory of the season.
“[Leggio] did a real good job of reacting to a lot of those scrambles,” said
BG head coach Scott Paluch. “We put on a lot of pressure on and got a lot of
people to the net, which is what we try to do. We had a lot of rebound
chances. I thought he did a nice job of finding pucks in traffic and making some
really big saves.”
A wild affair between the two teams on the ice saw a combined 57 minutes of
penalties, a game disqualification, and a player sent to the hospital after
colliding first with the goalpost and then the boards.
Clarkson’s leading scorer Shea Guthrie (6-11-17) was sent to the locker room
for a checking from behind penalty and given a game disqualification. He will
not be able to suit up tomorrow night when the Knights travel to Miami
Then, toward the end of the game, Bowling Green right winger Brandon
Svendsen, in a race for the puck with a Clarkson player, crashed headlong into the goalpost, then into the boards. The game was immediately stopped for the injured player, and after a few moments, he was taken off the ice on a stretcher; Svendsen was taken to the hospital as a precaution.
The game also marked the return to Bowling Green for Clarkson head coach
George Roll, a BG alum, and one who skated on the Falcons’ 1984 championship squad. He squared off against his old teammate, Scott Paluch.
“It was hard tonight, I’m not going to lie to you,” said Roll. “I don’t know how it was for Scotty, but for me, it was difficult. A lot of emotions on the bench, and it wasn’t easy tonight. I have such great feelings for this place. To coach against your alma mater, it was hard for the first time.”
At the game’s onset, it did not look as if it were going to be a welcome homecoming for Roll.
Bowling Green struck first on an opening period power play goal.
Sophomore winger Derek Whitmore scored his 3rd goal of the year from in front of the crease off of a Leggio rebound. Defenseman Don Morrison drove a shot from the bottom of the left circle that was tipped in front by James Unger. The rebound came out to Whitmore, who slammed it home for the goal. The marker came at 16:34 of the period.
Bowling Green scored a pair of goals in the second period, both off of scrambles in front of the net.
James Unger made the game 2-0 at 2:24 of the period, as he found the puck on his stick in an eight-man scramble in the crease. He poked it across the goal line for his 7th goal of the year. Alex Foster and Don Morrison added the assists.
“Both of our guys thought he gloved it in,” said Roll. “Our goalie thought he did. The defense was there. They thought he punched it in, but those things happen. It was tough to see. There were so many guys in there; if [the referee] saw it, he would have called it.”
Morrison would make the game 3-0 less than two minutes later. Again, a number of players from both teams were scrambling in front of the crease. This time, however, the puck came out of the pile to Morrison, who was standing between the circles. He beat a surprised Leggio top shelf for his second goal of the season. Svendsen and Bryan Dobek assisted.
Clarkson would storm back in the second part of the period, thanks in part to a pair of power play goals.
Michael Grenzy would get the Golden Knights on the board at 8:46 of the period with a power play blast from the point, beating Jimmy Spratt over the shoulder for his 2nd goal of the season. He was assisted by Mike Sullivan and Jeff Genovy.
Chris D’Alvise netted Clarkson’s second goal at 14:19 of the period. With a defender draped on him, he fired a shot from the bottom of the left circle which rolled up the side of Spratt’s body and onto the net for his 3rd tally of the year. Brodie Rutherglen and Genovy would assist.
The Golden Knights tied the game on another power play tally with just 12 seconds left in the period. Center Steve Zalewski took a pass from linemate Shawn Weller and one-timed into the net from short range for his 4th goal of the year. Dodge would also assist on the goal.
“It was huge momentum for us,” explained Roll. “As soon as the puck turned over, we knew where our weak side guy was. Weller made a great play and found Zalewski off the post, and their guy had no chance. It was obviously a real swing goal for us.”
Clarkson completed the comeback early in the third period. Sullivan scored his 6th goal of the year, on a BG giveaway in the offensive zone. Sullivan found the back of the net from the right circle to give the Knights a lead they would not relinquish. Dodge assisted on the goal.
Shawn Weller added an important insurance goal at 9:38 of the period on a one-timer from the left circle for his 10th goal of the year. Zalewski assisted on the goal.
The Falcons closed the gap with a little over three minutes left in the game. Jonathon Matusmoto scored his 8th goal of the year form down low to cut the Clarkson lead to one.
A bench minor for too many man on the ice, coupled with some stellar Clarkson
goaltending quashed any further hope the Falcons had of scoring the tying goal.
Clarkson added an empty-netter at 19:59 to close out the game.
“It’s a real disappointing loss,” said Paluch. “There’s no question, they’re a good team. They scored enough goals and shot the puck well enough to win the game.”