BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — After a shaky opening period, the Bowling Green Falcons were able to right the ship, upending the RIT Tigers, 4-2, at the BG Ice Arena on Friday night.
The Falcons (1-0-0) netted three second period goals after giving up a pair of markers in the opening period to take home their first victory of the year.
Were down two goals going into the intermission, but we had a great locker room at the end of one period, said Bowling Green coach Scott Paluch. There was absolutely no panic. We had a real good understanding of how we were going to be successful in the game — not passing through people, stop turning the puck over. The second period was a real good one for us.
The locker room karma apparently worked. While showing some early-season rust, the power play unit came up strong when it had to, giving the Falcons the opportunity to tie the game in the second period after trailing 2-0.
We talked about getting more shots to the net, said Bowling Green coach Scott Paluch. We werent overly strong on the power play. At times, we were full-speed ahead and not concerned about long rebounds coming out. We gave up probably three chances, including a 2-on-0.
Veteran wingers Brandon Svendsen and Kai Kantola helped their club shake off the 2-0 deficit by pulling off a pair of nifty 5-on-4 goals to tie the game. Kantola then netted the game winner later in the middle period with the games only even-strength goal.
Perhaps the key moment of the game came midway through the third period, as BG had to kill off a major checking from behind penalty to Russ Sinkewich. A strong penalty kill, good goaltending, and the help of an RIT minor penalty equated to the Falcons keeping the Tigers off the board and eventually putting themselves in the win column.
That was a huge momentum swing, said BG sophomore Dan Sexton. As much as it helped us, it really took away from their momentum. Give credit to Spratt and our penalty kill unit in general.
Despite the loss, RIT coach and ex-Falcon Wayne Wilson was pleased with his teams first performance of the year.
Im pretty happy with our effort for the first game of the year, said Wilson. I dont think we won a lot of loose puck battles or stick battles, but we went 1 for 4 [on the power play] and got a shorthanded goal.
I think [Wayne Wilson] has a pretty good team over there, said Paluch. Theyre going to challenge for the Atlantic Hockey title. Dont be surprised if that team is in the [NCAA] tournament at the end of the year.
The Tigers opened the scoring at 3:53 of the first period. Junior defenseman Dan Ringwald fired a wrister from the right circle, beating BG goaltender Jimmy Spratt glove side for a power-play tally. Sean Murphy assisted on the goal.
The Tigers increased their lead to 2-0 at 12:49 of the period with a shorthanded marker. Defenseman Bobby Raymond came across the blue line with the puck and skated to the left of Spratt. As he neared the goaltender, he put on the breaks, backed up, and fired a wrister past an off-balance Spratt to net his first goal of the season. Brennan Sarazin added the assist.
The Falcons would get on the board in the second period with a power play goal at 3:10. Left winger Brandon Svendsen netted BGs first goal of the season, deflecting a puck through the five hole of RIT goaltender Louis Menard. Jacob Cepis and Dan Sexton added the helpers.
Kai Kantola would tie the game at 11:44 with the Falcons second power play tally of the night. The Raleigh, NC junior took a nifty pass from the stick James Perkin, skated in on the net, and blasted a shot off Menard that dropped to the ice and trickled across the ice. Sexton added an assist for the Falcons.
Bowling Green took the lead at 15:36 on the first even-strength goal of the night. Kai Kantola was credited with the goal after deflecting a Tim Maxwell shot from between the circles, over the goaltenders shoulder and under the crossbar. Todd McIlrath assisted for the Falcons.
Brandon Svendsen capped the scoring at 19:57 with an unassisted empty-net goal.
The Falcons finished the night 2 for 9 on the power play. RIT finished 1 of 4. Bowling Green will host Niagara on Saturday, while RIT heads to Kalamazoo to face Western Michigan.