Post-Game Extra: Falcons finish sweep on McLain’s OT goal

By November 29, 2015Post-Game Extra
Bowling Green's Braden Pears prepares to shoot against Northern Michigan Saturday night in the Ice Arena (Photo by Todd Pavlack/BGSUHockey.com).

Mitch McLain took a look at the clock at the south end of the Ice Arena.

The sophomore then decided he had nothing to lose by shooting in the final seconds of overtime.

His shot from the left-wing boards near the Bowling Green bench scooted through the pads of NMU goalie Atte Tolvanen, providing the Falcons with a stunning 4-3 victory with only 5.3 seconds left in overtime.

The short-handed goal came during an interference penalty to BG’s Brett D’Andrea with just 1:49 left in overtime.

McLain’s goal capped a sweep of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association series for the 15th-ranked Falcons, who were 2-1 winners Friday.

“It just happened to go in,” McLain said of his second goal of the season, the other coming Oct. 31. He’s had just one assist since.

McLain won faceoff in the left circle in the offensive zone back to defenseman Mark Friedman at the blueline. Friedman sent the puck into the left corner where McLain retrieved it.

McLain curled out the corner and spun around to his forehand for the shot.

When the goal went in, the Falcons mobbed McLain at center ice. The win was BG’s fifth straight as it improved to 9-3-3 overall and 6-2-2 in the WCHA. NMU fell to 4-5-5, 3-4-3.

“It was a surreal moment. It was like everyone didn’t know what was going on,” McLain said, adding he saw the puck go in before the referee signaled the goal.

UNEXPECTED: McLain’s goal brought a surprising finish to a game BG should have won in regulation.

The Falcons weren’t totally sharp early and spotted NMU a 1-0 lead, but they came back to play well during most of the first two periods en route to a 3-1 lead. Even after NMU tied the game, the Falcons still generated scoring chances.

“You’ve got a lot of guys (on this team) who have played a lot of close hockey games, and our back has been against the wall a lot,” McLain said. “We’ve had some adversity. We blew a lead, but we still had hockey to play.”

The Falcons finished Saturday’s game with a 37-23 edge in shots on goal.

“We played some pretty solid hockey all weekend long,” BG coach Chris Bergeron said. “You don’t like losing a two-goal lead at home, but that’s as much a tribute to our opponent as it is to our playing poorly.

“There’s plays we’d like to have back or do better, but I was happy with the way we played and I’m happy to get the win,” Bergeron added.

The Falcons are 5-0-2 at home this season and 9-0-2 In the Ice Arena, dating back to last season.

“We’re at home. We’re comfortable at home in tight games. It was good for us to get the win,” McLain said.

“We executed our game plan for the most part both nights. That’s one of those things we really wanted to do, dominate down low and be hard to play against. For the most part, we did that.”

McLain, who had 10 goals and 10 assists in 38 games last season, played well throughout the series.

“He got rewarded for a pretty good weekend,” Bergeron said. “He played hard all weekend long.”

BIRTHDAY: Bergeron celebrated his 45th birthday Saturday.

SERIES RECAP: The Falcons had 67 shots on goal and 108 total attempted shots in the series. The offense was generated by the BG’s puck possession, which enabled them to play long stretches in the Wildcats’ defensive zone.

“For the course of the weekend, it’s been as good as the process has been over the two games,” Bergeron said. “We created a bunch of chances last night and we created a bunch of chances tonight.”

The Falcons have scored 16 goals in their last five games after totaling eight goals in the six games before that.

“I’m just hoping to continue to bear down on our opportunities,” Bergeron said. “I hope we continue to get opportunities, that is a telltale if we’re right or not.

“It’s just a matter of time when we start to get goals more consistently, not if. It’s not going to be five a night, but we shouldn’t be just under two a night, either.”

CLUTCH KILL: The Falcons held NMU without a shot on goal during the D’Andrea penalty in overtime as well as the Wildcats’ other power play in the game. The BG penalty-killing was 5 of 5 in the series and allowed just one shot.

The Falcons didn’t allow a shot on either NMU power play in the game. They were sharp in killing NMU’s overtime power play.

“The last two nights, we kind of went back to what made us successful last year, pressuring and guys blocking shots, doing the little things right,” said McLain, who skates on the penalty-killing unit. “That’s a big confidence booster for our group.”

IN GOAL: BG goalie Chris Nell wasn’t sharp Saturday. He made 20 saves, but the three goals came on just 13 shots.

But Nell finished strong in the third period and made six more saves in the extra period.

“He made some good saves when we needed them,” Bergeron said. “’I’d like to see some those shots they scored on, saved.

Nell stopped just 29 of 33 shots in the series.

“That’s not good enough. It’s just not. But he made some big saves after that and we had a penalty-kill we had to get through,” Bergeron said.

The sophomore entered Saturday’s game ranked first in the league in both goals-against average (1.42) and save percentage (.946).

LINEUP: The Falcons went with the standard 12 forwards and six defensemen in Game 2 of the series after using 13 forwards and five defensemen the last two games.

Jose Delgadillo returned to the BG lineup and skated on the third defense pair with Braden Pears.

POWER PLAY: The BG power play was 0 of 1 Saturday and 1 of 4 in the series.

PENALTIES: The Falcons had just eight penalties for 16 penalties in the series, while NMU had seven penalties for 14 minutes.

Kevin Gordon

About Kevin Gordon

Kevin joined BGSUHockey.com after wrapping up a 27-year run as the Falcon hockey beat writer for the Sentinel-Tribune. After providing another two years of the Falcon hockey coverage fans had grown to love over the past three decades, Kevin decided to hang up his notebook and is now enjoying the retired life. Please join us by sending Kevin a tweet and thank him for all the time he’s dedicated to BGSU hockey: @KGordonBG.

error: Please contact Todd@BGSUHockey.com for photo rights.