BIG RAPIDS, Mich. — Dan DeSalvo is rapidly becoming a player to watch in the CCHA tournament.
The Bowling Green freshman forward scored his first career hat trick in a game that saw the Falcons take a 4-3 overtime win against the top-seeded Ferris State Bulldogs in game three of their CCHA quarterfinal series.
With the win, Bowling Green advances to the CCHA championship at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.
DeSalvo has 10 goals and three assists for 13 points in his fist CCHA tournament so far. The freshman had just four goals in the regular season.
“When we recruited Dan, we were told he has a knack for scoring big goals and boy, has he ever,” said Bowling Green coach Chris Bergeron.
While Bowling Green came out on top, it was Ferris State that jumped out to an early three-goal lead.
With the game just underway, Matt Kirzinger picked off a lazy clearing attempt by the Falcons and found Jordie Johnston down low to put the Bulldogs on the board.
Then after a series of penalties, the Falcons found themselves fighting off a 5-on-3 power play, but they held Ferris State off the board to kill the first penalty. However, the Bulldogs would score as the power- play continued with Simon Denis finding Derek Graham at the front of the net for Ferris State’s second of the night.
As the first period came to a close, Jason Binkley scored his first collegiate goal with a dump-in from the red line that found its way past BGSU goalie Andrew Hammond.
“The guys were saying on the bench ‘Let’s not let that goal be the game-winner.’ You could tell that’s the one he [Hammond] really wanted back,” said Bergeron.
With the game seemingly in hand, Ferris State came out flat to start the second period and the remainder of the game saw everything go Bowling Green’s way.
“The message after the first was you owe it to yourselves and to each other to not quit,” said Bergeron. “Our focus was to go out and win the second.”
Ryan Carpenter got the ball rolling for Bowling Green with his 10th of the year before DeSalvo took over the game.
Ferris State had chances throughout the second two periods, but could not capitalize on anything.
“We were up three goals and playing a pretty solid game,” said Johnston. “We let off the gas a little bit and they showed what happens when you do that.”
DeSalvo put up his first of the game early in the third by picking off a lazy pass in the Bulldog zone and putting a hard wrist shot past Taylor Nelson.
He added to his tournament total with the tying goal late in regulation with a deflection.
Then, in overtime, he finished the Bulldogs with another deflection to end the game and series.
“Proud is not even good enough to tell you ho we feel about these guys,” said Bergeron. “I just don’t know where these guys get it.”
Bowling Green will take on Michigan in a CCHA semifinal matchup next Friday night at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, while Ferris State awaits the selections of the NCAA tournament committee.