Bowling Green, OH – In the opening game of the WCHA Quarterfinals the Falcons downed the Northern Michigan Wildcats to take a 1-0 lead in the best of three series.
Tommy Burke was called upon to start for the Falcons and made 38 saves on 40 attempts. The Wildcats gave the nod to junior Michael Doan who stopped 49 of 52 Falcon shots.
Neither team was able to crack the scoreboard in the first frame. The Falcons sat a man down for the first fourth of the opening period as Sean Walker received a game misconduct penalty for conduct to the head. The Falcons ended the period with seven shots on net while the Wildcats bettered them wit nine chances.
The Wildcats scored the game’s first goal at 7:17 of the second period. Reed Seckel fed the puck to Shane Sooth who skated in alone on Burke. After a couple dekes Sooth fired the puck on Burke, who caught a piece of the puck, but it trickled behind him.
The Falcons ended the second period with 18 shots on net. The Wildcats had 12 chances on Burke, with 11 saves for the junior goaltender.
The Falcons were finally able to light the scoreboard at 10:48 of the third period. Matt Pohlkamp had a point-blank shot on Doan. He made the initial save but Mitch McLain was on the doorstop to clean up the loose puck. The goal was McLain’s ninth of the season.
The Wildcats re-took the lead at 16:29 of the third period. After winning an offensive zone face-off Luke Eibler wristed an extreme angle shot that beat Burke over his shoulder.
The Falcons tied the game back up at 18:36 of the third period. Mark Cooper backhanded the puck towards the slot. The puck deflected off NMU’s Brock Maschmeyer’s skate and found the back of the net.
Neither team scored again in the third period so the game would go into an Overtime period. Tommy Burke stopped 11 of 12 Wildcat shots in the third. Michael Doan turned aside 13 of 15 Falcon attempts.
Tyler Spezia scored the game winning goal at 19:33 of the overtime period as he batted in the puck to beat Doan on his fifty-first shot faced of the night.
Burke stopped all seven shots he faced in the third period while Doan stopped 11 of 12 Falcon chances.
– The overtime win was the Falcon’s first “free hockey” victory of the season. They were previously 0-2-5.
– This is the second time Tommy Burke has faced at least 40 shots. The other coming on 2/13/15 against Ferris State (43 shots).
– Both teams went 0-for on the power play. Northern Michigan were 0/3 while the Falcons were 0/5.
– The teams will play game two of the best-of-three series Saturday at 7:07pm.