BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — The Bowling Green Falcons squandered a two goal third period lead before battling goal lead, then battled to pick up a pair of CCHA points in a shootout victory, as they downed the Western Michigan Broncos, 5-4, at the BG Ice Arena on Friday night.
Obviously, we picked up the two points, but [the win] was something that was right in front of us, said Bowling Green coach Dennis Williams. Weve got to continue to do a better job and learn as a group.
I told them after the [game-tying] goal, that play happened and weve got to move on. Weve got five minutes of overtime hockey to play. I thought we did a good job in overtime of getting back to pressuring them, finishing checks, and getting pucks on net.
Trailing 4-2 midway late in the third period, Western Michigan twice used an extra man to their advantage to claw back into the game. Freshman Matt Tennyson notched his first collegiate goal at 15:50 of the third period during a delayed penalty to Bowling Green.
Then, with the Western Michigan goaltender pulled for an extra attacker, sophomore Greg Squires chipped in the game-tying goal after Bowling Greens Nick Eno gave up a rebound out front with just three seconds left on the clock.
They got some momentum, but we continued to battle throughout the game, said Western Michigan coach Jim Culhane. Our guys showed a lot of grit and determination down by two goals in the third period.
We won some races to the pucks, made some plays late in the game. Tennyson got the puck to the net for us to cut it to one. Then we win a race to the puck with the goalie pulled, and we make a play to Squires.
After a scoreless overtime, Bowling Greens fourth shooter in the shootout, James Perkin, gave his team two points by deking goaltender Riley Gill, and squeezing the puck inside the post.
Its a move Ive been doing for a while, explained Perkin. He almost had me on the poke check, but I got it to my backhand, and after that, it was pretty much a wide-open net.
The game would have been over much sooner had it not been for the exceptional play of Broncos goaltender Riley Gill. The senior netminder stopped 32 shots on the night, at least a dozen of them in spectacular fashion.
Riley has been exceptional all year for us, said Culhane. Thats what you expect from one of your seniors — your leaders — on the team. His play has been tremendous all year.
Their goalie played great all game. He made some big saves to keep them in that first period, added Williams.
The Falcons seemed to find some much-needed positives in their special-teams play, which has struggled in the last two weeks.
Bowling Green stopped a hemorrhaging penalty kill that had allowed 11 power play goals in just four games. The Falcons PK was a respectable five for six on the night, including the kill of a major penalty to Tommy Dee to preserve a lead at 3-1.
I was happy with [the penalty kill] for the most part, said Williams. With that 5-on-3 we had there, our guys did a good job of killing that off. That could have been a difference maker. But, well continue to tweak and look at film tonight, and make changes from there.
We were more aggressive today, added Perkin. We were a lot better at attacking the puck than we have been in the past.
The power play — which was just two of its last 28 — struck for a pair of goals in eight attempts, generating 15 total shots on goal.
We have to put some shots on net on any power play attempt, continued Williams. We have to go in with the mindset of once I get it, Im gonna bury it. We did a good job of having guys out in front on the net and making plays.
Western Michigan jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead just 1:26 into the opening period. Freshman winger Dane Walters picked up a rebound on the doorstep of the shot of Max Campbell, netting his second goal of the season. J.J. Crew added an assist.
The Falcons tied the game 1-1 at 17:19 of the period, thanks to a successful penalty shot by sophomore Brennan Vargas. The winger, taken down by Bronco defenseman Mike Levendusky, deked goaltender Riley Gill, then went five-hole for his second marker of the year.
The Falcons increased their lead to 3-1 in the second period with a pair of quick goals just 31 seconds apart.
Andrew Krelove scored his first goal of the season on a power play attempt, tipping a shot through traffic from the stick of Kyle Page at 3:20 of the period, to give Bowling Green a 2-1 lead.
Sophomore Cameron Sinclair increased the Falcon lead at 3:51, as he stole the puck at center ice, skated around a defender near the boards, then wristed a shot over the glove of Gill for his second goal of the year.
Tyler Ludwig cut the lead to 3-2 on a five-on-three tally at 16:46. Ludwig blasted a shot from a tough angle at the bottom of the circle and found the back of the twine for his second goal of the season. Squires and Brett Beebe added the assists.
The Falcons (3-18-4 overall, 2-13-4-3 in the CCHA) struck again at 7:54 of the final period, with their second power play goal of the night. David Solway picked up his fourth goal of the year, banging in the puck on a scrum in front of the net. Jordan Samuels-Thomas and Tomas Petruska added the assists.
The Broncos (6-12-5; 2-11-4-1) then picked up goals from Tennyson and Squires to tie the game in regulation.