BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — On the final shot he would take in the BGSU Ice Arena, senior Tomas Petruska made it count, beating Michigan State goalie Drew Palmisano to win the shootout.
Tied 2-2 after overtime, Petruska scored in the third round after Bowling Green goalie Andrew Hammond stopped all three Michigan State shooters, giving the Falcons a Senior Night win.
“It’s a big confidence booster; they’re No. 2 in our league,” Petruska said. “End of the season is all about going forward and getting ready for the playoffs.”
For Petruska, it was the second straight week he won a shootout, after he clinched a win against Notre Dame a week earlier with the same move he used against Palmisano.
Petruska also helped his team win three of their final four regular season games, against opponents that they’ve struggled against over the past three seasons.
“They play well in this building and they worked hard,” Michigan State coach Rick Comley said of the Falcons.
While it was a night to celebrate seniors, the freshman goaltender Hammond was the difference, stopping 34 shots, including several big saves in the third period and overtime.
“Most of the guys let me see all the pucks and they did a good job of keeping guys to the outside,” Hammond said.
Michigan State struck first with a power-play goal at 8:23, as captain Nick Sucharski’s wrist shot from the point was deflected in by Andrew Rowe.
The goal, which came with Bowling Green’s Kai Kantola in the box, was the result of Sucharski making a great effort to keep an attempted clear in the offensive zone.
Kantola had a chance to tie the game with 3:11 remaining in the first period, as he almost beat his defender with a forehand-to-backhand move, but his final attempt was poke-checked away by Palmisano.
With 1:53 remaining in the first period, Bowling Green captain Kyle Page rung a wrist shot off the right post, but the power-play chance still didn’t find its way past Palmisano.
Bowling Green continued their pressure in the second period, as Tomas Petruska was denied by a great glove save from Palmisano. Just 30 seconds later the Falcons finally beat the Spartans’ goalie, but the shot by Nathan Pageau ricocheted off of the right post.
David Solway finally put the tying goal home on an ensuing power play, as his shot from the right circle snuck between the arm and body of Palmisano.
Michigan State’s leading scorer Corey Tropp almost regained his team’s lead, but a sprawling left pad save by Hammond kept the score even with about nine minutes remaining in the second.
Bowling Green had a power-play chance of its own with 28 seconds remaining in the period, as Solway got a wide open shot from the slot, but it was gloved down by Palmisano.
In the third period both teams exchanged goals, setting up an overtime situation.
The Falcons finally took the lead 3:46 into the third period when Jordan Sameuls-Thomas made a backhand-to-forehand move along the goal line, sneaking the puck between Palmisano and the post.
Tommy Dee and Solway picked up assists on the power-play goal.
With 13:30 remaining, Dean Chelios almost tied the score for the Spartans when he ripped a wrist shot from the top of the left circle past Hammond’s glove and off of the far post.
Multiple penalties slowed the pace of the game after Chelios’ near miss, as both teams killed off a combined seven penalties and Michigan State was without the services of Tropp for 10 minutes due to a misconduct.
A penalty allowed Michigan State to tie the score at two as Chris Forfar was able to find a loose puck and put it past a scrambling Hammond, who had made the initial save.
“It was a point shot that hit off my pad, and I couldn’t really freeze it,” Hammond said. “They just kind of slammed it home.”
It appeared Michigan State would have a power play for the remainder of regulation, as Sameuls-Thomas was sent to the box for tripping with 1:47 remaining, but just moments into the advantage, Derek Grant was called for interference, setting up a four-on-four scenario.
Hammond played well in the overtime session, stopping three shots and making a brilliant left pad save to deny a Spartans’ rush with 2:10 remaining. With just under a minute remaining, he stacked the pads to keep the score deadlocked.
Palmisano stopped 32 of 34 shots in the loss for the Spartans.