POTSDAM, N.Y. — Bowling Green barely survived on a night it played without two of its best players.
The Falcons built a four-goal lead early in the second period Saturday night and then withstood a Clarkson comeback to post a 5-4 win in a nonleague game. BOX SCORE
Kevin Dufour scored for the sixth straight game and Mitch McLain added one goal and one assist for the Falcons, who skated without injured forwards Dan DeSalvo (ankle) and Brent Tate (groin).
DeSalvo, BG’s captain, was hurt during Friday’s 2-2 tie against Clarkson.
Tate returned Friday after suffering what was termed a lower-body injury Oct. 10 against Miami. The injury forced the assistant captain to miss the next three games and he returned for the series opener against Clarkson.
The Falcons improved to 3-0-1 in their last four games and are 4-1-1 overall.
Clarkson, picked for eighth in the 12-team Eastern College Athletic Conference, is 2-3-1.
Dufour’s NCAA-leading eighth goal of the season gave the Falcons a 1-0 lead at 4:12 of the first period, but Clarkson tied the game just 2:45 later on Joe Zarbo’s power-play goal.
Dufour capitalized on a breakaway after a stretch pass from Dajon Mingo.
But BG’s momentum was short-lived as the Falcons were called for too many on the ice just 2:15 after Dufour’s goal. Zarbo’s goal came just 30 seconds into the BG penalty.
The Falcons then scored the next four goals for the 5-1 lead.
Ben Murphy broke the tie, putting the Falcons ahead for good at 12:47. The lead was 3-1 after McLain scored 1:25 later, and freshman Tyler Spezia tallied his first BG goal for a three-goal lead at 17:46.
The Falcons increased the lead to 5-1 on Pierre-Luc Mercier’s goal at 4:27 of the second period.
“We were opportunistic,” BG coach Chris Bergeron said. “I don’t think it was a peppering of shots. We scored on the good chances we had.”
Clarkson’s Dylan Gareau scored twice, at 17:05 of the second period and 2:17 of the third period, to cut BG’s lead to 5-3.
James de Haas brought Clarkson within one goal at 15:40, but the Falcons held on.
The Golden Knights pulled goalie Ville Runola for the extra attacker with 1:23 to play.
Clarkson held a 15-3 edge in shots on goal during the third period.
“These are situations we have to learn from,” Bergeron said. “Ultimately, we ended up with one more goal than they did and we’ll take that. Obviously, we want to finish much stronger than we did tonight.”
The Golden Knights held a 34-23 margin in shots for the game. Each team had 11 shots in the first period, and BG out-shot Clarkson by a 9-8 margin in the second.
BG goalie Chris Nell had 30 saves, including 10 in the first period and 13 in the third period.
Runola stopped 11 of 12 shots over the final two periods after Steve Perry allowed four goals in just 11 shots in the first period.
Just seven penalties, all minors, were called.
The Falcon power play was 1 of 3, while Clarkson was 1 of 4.
BG hosts 13th-ranked Minnesota State, the preseason favorite to win the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, next Friday and Saturday in the Ice Arena. Faceoff is 7:07 both nights.
MSU is 4-2, 2-0. BG, fourth in the coaches poll, also is 2-0 in the league.
Next weekend’s series is the only meeting of the season between the teams because of the WCHA’s unbalanced schedule.