COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Bowling Green Falcons had one of their best opportunities to break an eight-game conference winless streak on Saturday evening, but fell a goal short in their 4-3 loss to the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Bowling Green was down 3-0 less than five minutes into the second period, but rallied several times to get within a goal.
“This group, I have been so proud of the way we battled,” Bowling Green coach Dennis Williams said. “They never give up. (Good) mentality is what we got. I thought when it was 3-0, this group could have packed it in; everyone expected that, but they kept working and working and grinding it out.”
“The first 30 minutes, I thought we had energy,” Ohio State coach John Markell said. In the last 30 minutes, “we had to play smart with whatever reserve we had left. We did a good job of that.”
Ohio State swept Bowling Green for the third consecutive series and seventh straight game. The Buckeyes won Fridays meeting over the Falcons 7-2.
Ohio State’s Cal Heeter improved to 8-4-1 on the season, stopping 21-of-24. Heeter’s counterpart, Andrew Hammond, saved 26-of-30 of the Buckeyes’ shots and dropped to 0-7-1 for the year.
Ohio State had a solid start to the game. The Buckeyes outshot the Falcons 9-3 in the first and had a 2-0 first intermission lead.
Bowling Green’s Kyle Page had a costly defensive zone turnover in front of his own net that led to a C.J. Severyn goal to put the Buckeyes up 1-0 6:08 into the first.
Ohio State got their second goal of the first period with six minutes remaining when Devon Krogh’s power-play slap shot beat the glove of Hammond. Krogh was set up from a feed back to the high slot from Ohio State’s Hunter Bishop, who finished the game with three assists.
The Buckeyes took a 3-0 lead 4:50 into the second when they scored their second power-play goal of the game. Zac Dalpe fired one past Hammond after receiving a nice cross-crease pass from defenseman Matt Bartkowski, who was helping down low.
“The thing with (Bartkowski) is he is a big body, so we need him down low in front of the net to screen the goalie and deflect shots,” Dalpe said. “I was screaming my head off when he had the puck there and he made a good play, good vision.”
However, the Falcons clawed their way back into the game.
Less than two minutes after Dalpe’s goal, Cameron Sinclair scored his first career goal after receiving a well-placed centering pass to put Bowling Green on the scoreboard.
Tomas Petruska scored with 5:18 remaining in the second after springing the puck free from the end boards and flipping a backhander past Heeter to cut Ohio State lead to 3-2.
“That was a great play by Tomas,” Williams said. “It was a great individual effort to protect the puck and get it to the net.”
The Falcons appeared to even the score with less than two minutes remaining in the second period, but the referees ruled the whistle had been blown before the puck crossed the goal line. Heeter appeared to glove the puck along the ice, which prompted the whistle; however, a Bowling Green forward was able to knock the puck into the net.
“I thought the second period, we looked like a team that had not played in a month,” Markell said. “The second period caught us both (yesterday and tonight). I thought Bowling Green was playing good hockey.”
Ohio State took a two goal lead 6:36 into the third when Dalpe scored his second goal after flipping the puck past Hammond after receiving a pass from Sergio Somma.
Bowling Green answered less than 30 seconds later when Josh Boyd redirected a centering feed from Kai Kantola past Heeter to cut Ohio State’s lead to 4-3.
The Falcons kept the heat on the Buckeyes late. Kantola had a pair of point-blank shots on Heeter with 1:08 remaining in the third. During the play, Bartkowski came in from behind the play and committed a cross-check and sent the Falcons on the power-play. With Hammond pulled for an extra attacker, Bowling Green had four six-on-four shots blocked by Heeter to preserve Ohio State’s win.
“I told this group after (the game) I am not big on moral victories and we haven’t been all year but it is definitely a great effort by these guys,” Williams said. “We had four guys sitting out. We had a lot of guys stepped up for us and played a lot of different roles.”
Bishop’s three assist performance Saturday followed his two-goal performance on Friday.
“Just one of those nights where guys bury it and you get it to them so I am happy,” Bishop said.