BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — While it was a night meant to honor Bowling Green’s four seniors, Northern Michigan’s Phil Fox was the best senior on the ice.
Leading his team to a 3-2 victory, Fox, the Northern Michigan captain, had a pair of goals, including the game-winner in the second period.
The two-goal night pushed Fox’s goal total into double-digits for the third time in his career, and it was just the second time this season he’s scored in back-to-back games, the first coming when the Wildcats hosted Bowling Green Nov. 13 and 14.
“It’s just one of those years you have that team which you keep scoring goals against,” Fox said. “This year it was Bowling Green. I was just happy to score.”
Fox struck first at 13:02 of the first, tying the game at one on a snap shot from the top of the circle that beat Bowling Green goalie Nick Eno glove side.
Northern Michigan took a 2-1 lead 1:46 later on a power play, only to see the Falcons tie the game at two on a bad giveaway by Erik Spady early in the second period.
Spady, unable to clear the puck from below his own goal line, almost teed up a shot for Bowling Green’s Bryce Williamson, who easily scored his second goal of the season.
“We gave two goals on bad giveaways tonight,” NMU coach Walt Kyle said. “Two really bad giveaways. We thought we played pretty well and we made a couple mistakes and they capitalized.”
The tie didn’t last long, as 1:28 later, Fox struck again, this time serving as the beneficiary of a pretty two-on-one break with Justin Florek.
“We had an opportunity, two-on-one, me and Florek we had the opportunity to score and we got the momentum back on our side,” Fox said.
Not only did they impact the final score, but the line of Fox, Florek and Erik Higby dominated from the opening faceoff, pressuring the Falcons all night.
Wildcats goalie Reid Ellington played well down the stretch, including making a pair of outstanding pad saves with less then a minute remaining.
“I don’t know how some of those shots didn’t go in at the end,” Bowling Green coach Chris Bergeron said. “We stayed resilient and fought to the end, just didn’t get it in.”
Ellington finished with 26 saves while Eno stopped 16, but on the three goals, he seemed left all alone and was forced to go into desperation mode.
Bowling Green fell to 8-224 and 3-19-4 in the CCHA, while Northern Michigan improved to 14-15-5 and 12-11-3.
Bowling Green heads to Michigan State next week while Northern Michigan hosts Michigan. Both series are the finale of the CCHA season for the teams.