BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — It was merely a dress rehearsal, but a new era of Bowling Green hockey was unveiled Sunday night at the BGSU Ice Arena.
Making his coaching debut as a Division I coach, Chris Bergeron’s Falcons delivered an exhibition win, 4-3, against Wilfrid Laurier.
“Great, that was really exciting, officially brings the preseason to a close, it was nice to get that first one behind us, and for me and the staff it was nice to get out there,” Bergeron said.
Bergeron, who served as an assistant at Miami for the past nine seasons, took over this summer and immediately put his fingerprints on a program that hasn’t had a winning season since the 1997-98 season.
Wearing new uniforms, which resemble the ones the Falcons wore during the 1983-84 NCAA championship season, Bowling Green struck just 1:24 into the game when Brett Mohler finished a centering pass from rushing defenseman Max Grover.
Jake Sloat doubled the lead during a five-on-three power play just over 10 minutes later when his blast from the point found its way through traffic and past Ryan Daniels.
“It’s exciting to get those early chances; we still have to tighten it up, but it’s getting there,” Bowling Green captain David Solway said.
One night earlier, Daniels had put on a stellar display, holding the Rochester Institute of Technology to just three goals on 47 shots; against Bowling Green he was beat for the third time on just the tenth shot of the night with 6:53 remaining in the first period.
Despite allowing three first period goals, Daniels played well, stopping 27 of 31 shots he faced.
After limiting Wilfrid Laurier to only six shots in the first period, the Bowling Green defense had its first breakdown of the game just 3:30 into the second period. A bad giveaway gave Mitchell Good the puck all alone in front of the net, who easily beat Falcons’ goalie Nick Eno.
That goal proved to the lone mistake of Eno’s evening, as he stopped 11 of the 12 shots he faced before giving way to Andrew Hammond halfway through the second period.
With Hammond in net, BG added to their lead with a third period power-play goal by James McIntosh. Bryce Williamson and Mohler picked up assists.
McIntosh’s goal was Bowling Green’s third on the power play, capping a strong special teams effort that included keeping Wilfrid Laurier scoreless on five opportunities.
“No matter what weekend it is, special teams is going to be a difference; we’re going to work on it, and hopefully keep putting it in,” Bergeron said.
However, the three-goal cushion was quickly cut to two when Thomas Middup and Ryan Bellows combined for a pretty two-on-one passing play to beat Hammond glove side.
Bellows and Middup stuck again a mere 2:31 later, when on a similar passing play they once again were able to sneak a shot past Hammond.
Hammond ended the night with 11 saves.
Bowling Green will open the season next weekend, when they host No. 4-ranked Michigan at the BGSU Ice Arena. Face off is scheduled for 7:05.