BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — Freshman winger Jacob Cepis scored a pair of first period goals, including the game winner at 16:03 of the period, as Bowling Green stunned No. 1 Miami, 4-2, at the BGSU Ice Arena on Friday night.
The victory gave the Falcons their first win against a top-ranked opponent since November 6, 1993, when they upset Lake Superior State, 3-2.
How great is that? said Cepis. We just beat the number one team in the country. How many people can say that?
Bowling Green played 60 gritty minutes of hockey against in-state rival Miami to end a four-game losing streak.
It feels good because weve been in a stretch here where weve played a lot of good hockey teams and played well, but we havent got the wins, said BG coach Scott Paluch. We took a lot of time this week to talk about that. We needed to do a lot of things well, and confidence-wise, its real big four our program to get a win like that.
The last couple of games, weve been giving up leads, said Cepis. We came in tonight with the goal of playing 60 minutes. We havent been playing 60 minutes. Tonight, we didnt give up the lead like we have some other games.
We didnt let up. We didnt go into that prevent. We attacked. We attacked on the penalty kill, everyone was trying to score and get chances. When you keep the pressure up on teams like that, it just makes it harder for them to come back.
Bowling Green deserved to win that game, said Miami coach Enrico Blasi. They outworked us, they outplayed us, they outcoached us every step of the way, and they deserved to win.
Bowling Green did a lot of good things. They got the puck to the net. We didnt win any battles. Thats the way it goes.
The Falcons looked strong once again on the penalty kill, killing six of seven man-advantages.
The key kill came late in the second and early in the third, as the Falcons had to kill off a five-minute major to Kai Kantola for a hitting from behind penalty on defenseman Ray Eichenlaub.
We found ourselves on a major penalty for five minutes, but our special teams played well tonight, said Paluch. The fact that we got a power play goal and our penalty kill was big when it had to be was important. Ultimately, we were good enough down the stretch to hold the lead and beat a real good hockey team.
In a battle of Chesterfield, Michigan natives, BG goaltender Jimmy Spratt outplayed his counterpart, Jeff Zatkoff, to pick up his 4th win of the season. Spratt stopped 25 of the 27 shots he faced. Zatkoff was lifted after two periods in favor of senior Charlie Effinger.
Im so happy for the guy, said Cepis. Weve had some tough games where weve given up goals in the third period. He hung in there today ” even through the penalties — he played a hell of a game.
Jimmy was really good all the way through the game, remarked Paluch. Probably, the most important part of what Jimmy did was after the goal to make it 4-2, we saw three really good saves out of him. Thats ultimately what you want your goaltender to do, and he did it.
We had plenty of opportunities to get back in the game, said Blasi. Spratt played well, their team played well.
After Cepis opened the scoring just 1:17 into the opening period, on a shot from the circle, Brian Kaufman tied the game at 14:38. The Minnesota native as able to get his stick on an Alec Martinez shot from the point, and deflect it into the net for his seventh goal of the year.
Cepis would give the Falcons the lead again late in the period. Defenseman Tim Maxwell was able to create a neutral ice turnover and feed the puck to Cepis, streaking up the middle. He beat Zatkoff with a wrister to net the game winner.
Midway through the second period, James Perkin would net a power-play goal for the Falcons just seven seconds into the power play on nice tic-tac-toe with Maxwell and Mike Nesdill to make it 3-1.
Kai Kantola iced the game late in the second period with a shot from the left circle off the faceoff.
The RedHawks added their final tally at 5:52 of the third period as freshman Tommy Wingels beat Spratt just under the crossbar for goal number 10 on the season.
Miami continued to generate chances in the in the closing half of the third period, but Spratt was up to the task, stopping 10 of the 11 final-period shots he faced.
Both teams finished the night 1 for 7 on the power play. Jimmy Spratt made 25 stops, while Zatkoff and Effinger combined for 22 saves.
Miami (18-3-0 overall, 10-3-0 in the CCHA) and Bowling Green (9-8-0, 6-5-0) will face off again tomorrow night at the BGSU Ice Arena.