Sault Ste. Marie, MI – The Falcons were looking to start their playoff run in the second half on the right foot. A 3-1 win over Lake Superior was just the first step they needed.
Chris Nell returned from injury for the Falcons, making his 15th start of the season in net. The sophomore stopped 24 of 25 shots faced. The Lakers started freshman Nick Kossoff and the goaltender and stopped 39 of 41 shots faced.
The Falcons and Lakers each had man-advantage opportunities in the opening period, including a five-on-three opportunity for Bowling Green. But, both teams penalty killing was perfect in the opening period.
Neither team found the net in the first period, as Bowling Green had nine shots on Nick Kossoff in the first period. Lake Superior had eight shots in the opening salvo.
The Falcons scored first at 11:02 of the second period. Jordan Ernst found Mark Cooper just outside the Lakers’ zone. Cooper skated in and fired an initial shot on Kossoff. But, Cooper, followed his shot and tapped the rebound home on his backhand for his ninth goal of the season.
The Falcons finished the second period with 17 shots on Kossoff, scoring on one chance. The Lakers had 10 shots in the second period, and like the first period Nell stopped every shot faced.
The Falcons exorcised some special teams demons at 1:20 of the third period. Mark Friedman fed the puck to the boards to Ben Murphy. The senior forward found Brandon Hawkins at the point who fired a slap shot past Kossoff for his fifth goal of the season.
The Lakers finally got on the board at 4:29 of the third period. Defenseman Ryan Renz skated in while the teams were four-on-four and floored the puck past Nell.
With the score still in the Falcons’ favor, Damon Whitten pulled Nick Kossoff with 1:20 to play in the third period. But, after a key face-off win by Pierre-Luc Mercier in the Falcon zone Matt Pohlkamp found Tyler Spezia. The sophomore forward netted an empty net goal at 19:32 for his seventh goal of the season.
Sean Walker also assisted in the goal, wrapping the puck around the boards to Pohlkamp.
The Falcons finished the third period with 15 shots on Kossoff. The Lakers had seven shots in the final period.
The teams will conclude their series Saturday at 7:07 PM.
BGSUHockey.com Three Stars
- Brandon Hawkins (BGSU) – GWG, 5 shots
- Tyler Spezia (BGSU) – 1 G, 5 shots
- Mark Cooper (BGSU) – 1 G
Click on an image to view a larger version.
All photos are the copyright of Todd Pavlack/BGSUHockey.com