BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — Thursday night, Slovakia upset Russia, 2-1, in a shootout in the Olympics. Two nights later, Bowling Green’s own Slovakian led them to a 2-1 upset victory of Notre Dame.
Tomas Petruska, a native of Presov, Slovakia, beat Notre Dame goalie Mike Johnson in the third round of the shootout with a backhander that snuck just inside the right post.
“That was my go to move since I was 16, 15-years-old,” Petruska said.
Prior to Petruska’s game-winner, James Perkin scored for Bowling Green while goaltender Nick Eno stopped two of three Irish shooters to secure the win.
Not only was Eno a difference maker in the shootout, but he also was the star of regulation, turning away 38 of 39 shots to complete the weekend sweep of Notre Dame.
“They definitely outplayed us for two periods, and we were lucky Nick played as well as he did,” Falcons’ coach Dennis Williams said.
“He played really well; I think he was definitely the difference during the first two periods,” Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson said.
Eno’s efforts allowed the Falcons to improve their winning streak against the Irish to three, even more impressive considering they hadn’t beat Notre Dame since 2005 entering this season.
Despite being outshot 17-7 in the opening period, Bowling Green played well, even having several good scoring chances in a scoreless first.
While they did allow 17 shots, many of those were from bad angles or shot right into the chest and arms of Eno.
“They did a good job of keeping them to the outside; yesterday there was a couple chances from the slot, but today, they kept them outside and made it pretty easy for me,” Eno said.
Bowling Green came close to striking first on multiple occasions, including two chances by Tommy Dee, who just missed the net on a two-on-one break and then had his deflection attempt cleared away at the last minute by Johnson.
It appeared Bowling Green took a 1-0 lead with 5:23 left in the first period, but after a nearly eight-minute review, the officials determined the puck didn’t completely cross the line.
While Bowling Green had some strong chances in the first period, Notre Dame did have a golden chance to take the lead, but Kyle Palmieri’s shot rang off the post sandwiched in between Dee’s second chance and the review of the goal.
Any notion of Bowling Green controlling the momentum was killed at the start of the second period when Palmieri ripped a shot past Eno just 31 seconds into the period.
Notre Dame almost doubled its advantage four minutes into the period when an Irish shot snuck through Eno’s pads and trickled just wide of the empty net.
The Irish also had two great chances at the end of the period, first on a wraparound attempt that was turned away by the left toe of Eno and then with 2:45 remaining when Billy Maday rung a shot off the crossbar that was almost shoveled home on the rebound.
The second period also featured several scuffles after the whistle, as players came together with 9:13 remaining after a late hit by Notre Dame’s Ian Cole and then just over two minutes later players came together again after goalmouth collision in front of the Falcons’ net.
In the third period, Bowling Green finally tied the game, forcing the eventual shootout with 10:19 remaining when Petruska beat Johnson with a quick wrist shot from the top of the crease.
Petruska made a nice move on the goal, pulling the puck from backhand to forehand before slipping it just over Johnson’s shoulder.
Petruska almost gave Bowling Green the lead with 3:19 remaining, but since the net was off its moorings, it was declared no goal.
While the net was knocked asunder, the whistle should have been blown several seconds earlier when the net was dislodged.
“I think that net was off for maybe seven seconds there, when they went over to check it I kind of knew,” Williams said.
As neither team could take the lead, they went to overtime for the third time this season.
In the overtime session, both teams had a significant chance to end the game. Notre Dame almost beat Eno with a wrister from the circle and then at the other end of the ice a goalmouth collision almost knocked the puck into the Irish net.