HOUGHTON, Mich. – Looking to end a three-game winless streak, the Michigan Tech Huskies took a 1-1 game into the third period before erupting for three goals. Unfortunately for the hosts, the Bowling Green State Falcons’ never-say-die attitude helped them fight back to earn a tie, 4-4, Saturday night at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena.
“What we are most proud of is the way our guys hung in there,” said Falcons coach Chris Bergeron. “For us to play and come back the way we did in the third period, I was very happy with that.”
With the Huskies leading 4-2 with two and a half minutes to go, things changed when Bergeron pulled Tommy Burke. Ben Murphy cut the lead to one with a blast that beat Pheonix Copley at 17:32. Bryce Williamson assisted on the goal.
Williamson then tied the game with another extra-attacker goal at 18:58. The Huskies felt that they were robbed of a win when Shane Hanna was hauled down when controlling the puck, which allowed the Falcons to regain control.
“Tough tie,” said Huskies coach Mel Pearson. “Obviously, it was a tough game to give away the point the way it happened at the end. It felt like a loss to our team tonight.”
Twice in the first five minutes, it appeared that Huskies co-captain Blake Pietila might finally get off the eight-game pointless drought with a goal. The first came just over a minute in off a pass from Kero as he cut to the net from Burke’s left. The second came as he cut in from the right side. Burke finished the night with another career high in saves with 43.
Copley made a key stop at the 5:40 mark on Andrew Wallace after Wallace’s teammate skated the puck around the net before feeding him in the slot.
The Falcons (8-8-4 overall, 6-6-2 WCHA) struck first when the Huskies Blake Hietala was whistled for slashing. Mark Cooper set up on the left side of the slot, took a pass from Pierre-Luc Mercier, and whistled a one-timer past Copley. Dajon Mingo also assisted on the goal, which came at 15:11.
“I thought we showed a lot of guts tonight,” said Williamson. “We never gave up.”
Pietila evened the game on a power play at 18:47. Setting up in the high slot, Pietila took a pass from Shane Hanna and unloaded a slap shot that beat Burke cleanly. Riley Sweeney also assisted on the goal.
While their second period was not as impressive as Friday night’s when they racked up 19 shots, the Huskies (6-9-5 overall, 4-4-4 WCHA) began to physically impose their will on the Falcons. The efforts led to the Huskies having entire shifts spent in the offensive zone.
The Falcons battled back late in the period, and they were nearly rewarded for their efforts. Mike Sullivan had a glorious opportunity late in the period when Copley lost his balance and his stick in his crease. However, upon review, the puck, which was shot from the left faceoff dot, hit Copley up high and bounced over him, but was knocked away before it could fully cross the goal line.
The Huskies took the lead 8:20 into the third when Mike Neville got loose, took a pass, drew a penalty while skating in on a breakaway, and beat Burke with a wrist shot. Cliff Watson and Sweeney each assisted on the goal.
“I think it’s a pretty disappointing weekend in general,” said Neville. “Usually when you score four goals, you’ll win. Usually we will lock that down.”
On the ensuing power play, Hietala extended the Huskies’ lead to two when he tipped in a shot from assistant captain Tanner Kero at 10:10. Hanna also assisted on the goal.
“We just have to finish a game,” said Kero. “We just have to bear down.”
Mingo cut the Huskies’ lead in half when his backhander rebounded back to himself at 12:14. Marcus Perrier added an assist on the play.
Kero made it a 4-2 game with a deke reminiscent of the one he scored last weekend against Bemidji State when he beat Burke with a backhand deke through the wickets at 13:02.
Copley made seven of his 35 saves for the night in the overtime period.