BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — In their final home game with Brandon Svendsen, sophomores Dan Sexton and David Solway made sure their senior linemate finished his home career on a positive note.
The line had a hand in all 4 Falcons’ goals, as BG beat visiting Michigan State 4-0.
“It was just an unbelievable feeling,” Svendsen said of his final home game. The senior assistant captain finished with an assist and three shots.
The Falcons jumped on Michigan State early and never looked back, as they were the better team Saturday night.
With Svendsen in the box, Solway gave BG their first lead of the game with a short-handed breakaway goal. Solway stole the puck from the Spartans’ point man, skated in slowly and beat MSU goalie Jeff Lerg with a backhand to forehand move.
“Last night I had a couple grade ‘A’ chances to beat Lerg, and I didn’t really give him any fakes,” Solway said of the goal. “I slowed up and I gave him a little stick fake and he kind of fell for it.”
BG dominated the opening period, outshooting the Spartans 18-7, a good majority of those shots being from point blank range.
“They were definitely the better team and they came out flying; they had a lot energy right off the back,” Lerg said of the opening period. “I think we just looked tired and sluggish.”
The only reason BG didn’t get out of the opening stanza with more than a one goal lead was the Spartans’ 5’6″ captain.
BG took control of the game in the second period, when the Svendsen-Sexton-Solway line had a hand in all three goals.
Sexton doubled the Falcons’ lead at the 4:06 mark of the period. After taking a pass from Svendsen, he backhanded the puck past Lerg, who missed the poke check.
“The second one really hurt us,” Spartans’ coach Rick Comley said of the goal, “Jeff was kind of holding us in there before that.”
Six minutes later, the line helped produce BG’s third goal when Solway won the faceoff back to James McIntosh, who dished the puck to Kyle Page. Page’s point shot snaked its way through heavy traffic and past the screened Lerg.
Sexton pushed BG’s lead to four with his second goal of the game 12:29 into the second period. Sexton took a pass from Solway and proceeded to shovel a backhanded shot just past the left pad of Lerg.
“We hadn’t been good in second periods, and tonight we really closed it out,” Solway said of the second period. “We really swayed the momentum in the game.”
Michigan State’s Matt Schepke almost put the Spartans on the board with 2:33 left in the second when his wrist shot from the top of the circles clanged off the cross bar.
Svendsen almost picked up a goal of his own halfway through the third period when the Spartans’ Jeff Petry took him down on a breakaway. On the ensuing power play, Solway almost buried another but was turned away by Lerg.
In his final game, BG goalie Jimmy Spratt turned away 19 shots for his third shutout of the season. The shutout was the first at home by a BG goalie since February 2006 and tied Spratt with the school record for shutouts in a season.
“It means a lot, and as a group we only gave up 19 shots while limiting quality chances,” BG coach Scott Paluch said of the shutout, “It’s a good building block moving forward.”