Bowling Green, OH – The Falcons will have plans for next weekend as they beat the Beavers 3-1. Bowling Green moves on to play in the WCHA Final Five Semifinal.
Chris Nell started in net for the Falcons and made 35 saves on 36 shots faced. Michael Bitzer got the start for the Beavers and turned aside 26 of 28 shots attempted.
The teams bucked the trend of their previous two contests, keeping each other scoreless in the first period Sunday. The Falcons had 12 shots on Bitzer while the Beavers managed just five attempts on Nell.
The Beavers thought they had a lead at 7:41 of the second period. But, the officials reviewed the goal and found that Nell was interfered with on the play.
The Falcons picked up the game’s first goal at 12:36 of the second period while on the power play. A scrum developed in front of Bitzer as he made an initial save. Mark Cooper was finally able to push the puck across the blue line. The assists were given to Mitch McLain and Brandon Hawkins. The goal was reviewed for possible goaltender contact, but after a lengthy delay it was determined to be a good goal.
The Falcon penalty kill was challenged at 14:10 of the second period after Pierre-Luc Mercier was called for a major checking from behind penalty and game misconduct. But, Chris Nell and the Falcon penalty killers allowed just three chances during the long kill, keeping the Beavers from scoring.
The Falcons finished the period with seven shots on Bitzer. The Beavers had 14 shots in the middle frame.
The Falcons pushed their lead to 2-0 at 5:20 of the third period. The puck came out to the neutral zone just as Mitch McLain’s penalty for tripping had expired. McLain took the puck on the breakaway, skated hard onto Bitzer, and wristed a hard shot just over Bitzer’s glove for his seventh goal of the season.
The Beavers got a goal back, though, at 13:05. After the Beavers won an offensive zone face-off the puck came to Markus Gerbrandt. His one-time goal found the rear cross-post, cutting the Falcon lead to 2-1.
Bemidji State pulled their goal with 2:26 to play. But, Baxter, Minnesota native Matt Pohlkamp netted an empty net goal at 18:05 to push the Falcon lead to 3-1. Bemidji State pulled Bitzer again with 1:35 to play in game. But, the Falcons held on for the win and punched their ticket to return to the WCHA Final Five for a third consecutive season.
With the win the Falcons improve to 22-13-6. The Beavers’ season ends with a record of 17-16-6.
The Falcons will most likely be playing in the 4:07PM semifinal game Friday against Minnesota State at the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, MI. Game times will be decided by the WCHA Monday. Michigan Tech will most likely play Ferris State in the second semifinal game, which is scheduled to start at 7:37PM.
- Mitch McLain (BGSU) – GWG, 1 A
- Chris Nell (BGSU) – 35 saves
- Mark Cooper (BGSU) – 1 G
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