Post-Game Extra: Falcons rebound to play well in tie with Minnesota State

By December 5, 2015Post-Game Extra
Bowling Green's Chris Nell (33) watches the puck Saturday against Minnesota State (Photo by Todd Pavlacl/

Bowling Green rebounded in a positive way Saturday night in the Ice Arena.

The Falcons — following a poor performance Friday — turned in a solid effort over the final two periods Saturday to earn a 2-2 tie against Minnesota State.

Mark Cooper scored twice and Chris Nell made 33 saves for the Falcons, who fell behind 1-0 just 23 seconds into the game.

Cooper scored at 6:27 of the first period and 8:53 of the second period, but MSU re-tied the game on Zeb Knutson’s goal with 12:26 remaining in regulation.

The Falcons held a 33-24 edge in shots, including a 23-14 margin during the second and third periods, and a 6-1 margin in the overtime. BG also held a 28-15 advantage in non-power play shots on goal.

On Friday, the Falcons rallied from a 2-0 deficit in the final four minutes to salvage a 2-2 tie.

“We responded really well,” BG coach Chris Bergeron said. “It took us a little bit of time to totally respond and get into our game. The last two periods, I felt good about our game. I really liked the second and third periods, and the overtime was good.

“We played well tonight. It’s a tribute to our players.”

INJURIES: The Falcons started the game without injured forward Brent Tate (hand) and defenseman Chris Pohlkamp (shoulder). Both were injured Friday.

Bergeron wasn’t sure how long Tate would be out, but said it might be for an “extended period.” Bergeron estimated Tate could be out four weeks.

The Falcons have just one series, next weekend at Bemidji State, before the holiday break. BG then returns to action Dec. 30 when it plays Western Michigan at the Huntington Center in Toledo and hosts Clarkson Jan. 2-3.

Bergeron wasn’t sure if Tate would return for any of those games, but added, his return “could be really soon after that.”

The 6-foot-2, 176-pound Tate, a senior assistant captain, provides the Falcons with skill and a physical presence.

Pohlkamp, a freshman who is 5-10, 193, has been a regular on defense. He gives BG a physical presence and solid defense.

“You have to be sure he’s ready,” Bergeron said of Pohlkamp’s return. “He plays the game pretty physical. He wasn’t quite right to play tonight.”

BG senior defenseman Jose Delgadillo appeared to suffer a shoulder injury when he was checked into the boards early in the third period. His status wasn’t available after the game, but Bergeron said he was headed to the hospital for X-Rays.

DISCIPLINE: The Falcons were hurt by too many penalties. BG had seven penalties, all minors, and MSU responded with a 2 of 5 effort on the power play.

“We’re involved in after the whistle stuff,” Bergeron said. “I just don’t understand the lack of discipline there. We talked about that again today. We took undisciplined penalties.”

The Falcons are averaging just 10.9 minutes per game, third-fewest in the league, but they continue to be hurt by undisciplined penalties

Nell was penalized for tripping MSU’s Bryce Gervais, 20 seconds into the game. Gervais bumped Nell to start the play.

BG had three defenseman — Sean Walker, Mark Friedman and Connor McDonald — in the penalty box with the score tied 2-2 near the midway point of the third period.

That left Braden Pears as BG’s only healthy defenseman when BG had to kill a penalty at that point.

“Our discipline has to get better,” Bergeron said. “We played the game the way we wanted to play it. There were too many opportunities for us to be disciplined when we weren’t.”

OFFENSE: The Falcons dominated a large part of the game with their puck control in the offensive zone — the team’s staple. BG is at its best when it’s dominating down low and creating scoring chances.

“We just did things with more purpose in the offensive zone and we won more battles,” Bergeron said.

ANSWER: Although MSU took its 1-0 lead just three seconds after the Nell penalty, Cooper tied the game just 6:04 later.

“We just talked about not getting too high or too low,” Cooper said. “But that was big for us to come back and tie the score before the end of the period.”

SPECIAL TEAMS: The Falcon power play was 0 of 4 and had just five shots in 7:45 with the extra man.

“We couldn’t get anything going on the power play,” Bergeron said.

The BG power play was 0 of 8 in the series.

The Mavericks were 2 of 5 on the power play Saturday after a 1 of 7 effort Friday.

Both MSU goals Saturday came on point shots through traffic.

IN GOAL: Nell had eight saves in the first period and nine in the second period.

The sophomore stopped 55 of 59 shots in the series.

Nell, who has started seven straight games, is fourth nationally with a 1.59 goals-against average and eighth with a .939 save percentage. He leads the WCHA both categories.

MISSING: MSU played Saturday without two veteran defensemen because of injuries — senior co-captain Casey Nelson and junior Carter Foguth.

Nelson was a second-team All-WCHA selection last week.

“We wanted to take advantage of that a little it and we were able to,” Bergeron said.

HOME SWEET HOME: The Falcons are 5-0-4 at home this season and 9-0-4 in their last 13 home games dating back to last season.

RECORDS: The Falcons are 1-0-5 in overtime this season, 3-3-3 when the opponent scores the game’s first goal.

BG also is 9-2-5 in games decided by two or fewer goals.

Kevin Gordon

About Kevin Gordon

Kevin joined 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.