STORRS, Conn. — Bowling Green, despite being outshot by a 42-17 margin, came away with a 3-2 victory Thursday night over Massachusetts to advance to the finals of the Toyota UConn Holiday Classic. The Falcons will play host Connecticut for the championship Friday.
“Every team came in here looking for some wins, and with one game down we gave ourselves a chance to win a championship,” said head coach Scott Paluch. “I liked the way we competed the entire night.”
Following a first period that saw only 12 combined shots and no scoring, the Falcons got on the board in the second period after sophomore Jonathan Matsumoto recorded his 10th goal of the year at 6:31.
Matsumoto picked up a rebound behind the Minutemen net and skated out front of the crease. He took a shot, but fanned on the attempt, only to refire and place the puck behind the Minutemen goaltender Jon Quick. Linemates Alex Foster and Mike Falk assisted on the goal.
Junior Bryan Dobek spotted the Falcons a 2-0 lead just two minutes later after picking up a John Mazzei rebound and squirting the puck past Quick. Freshman Brandon Svendsen also picked up an assist on the goal to extend his point streak to four games.
The two-goal advantage did not last long for the Falcons after Stephen Werner picked up a shorthanded goal at the 9:31 mark of the second, and nearly earned another just 15 seconds later after UMass’ Matt Anderson intercepted a pass at the point and skated in all-alone on senior Jon Horrell. Anderson attempted to go stick-side but Horrell turned it aside.
For the game Horrell stopped 40 of 42 Minutemen shots, a career-high, including 33 of 35 in the last two periods.
“He was outstanding all night,” said Paluch. “That breakaway save was a huge momentum swinger for the night. He was real strong all the way through the game and I am really happy for him.”
BGSU (6-11-1) regained the two-goal lead after Matsumoto scored his second goal of the game at the 15:23 mark of the second. While on the power play all five Falcons touched the puck before Falk fed Foster, who fired a shot between the circles.
Matsumoto gathered the rebound and scored his 11th of the season, his seventh with the man-advantage.
UMass (5-11-0) once again cut into the lead following a goal by Matt Anderson at the 4:07 mark of the third.
The Minutemen continued to pour it on, recording 11 shots in the final seven minutes of the contest, including an empty net for the final 1:02 of the game, but the Falcons preserved the 3-2 victory with several outstanding saves by Horrell.
For the contest UMass held a 42-17 shot advantage, while both teams were 1-for-2 on the power play.