Huntsville, AL – The Falcons entered Friday with a chance at the MacNaughton Cup as WCHA champions. A 7-5 loss to Alabama-Huntsville knocked the Falcons out of the championship hunt.
Chris Nell started in net for the Falcons and made 13 saves on 19 shots faced. Matt Larose started for Alabama-Huntsville and stopped 27 shots on 32 attempts.
The Falcons opened scoring just 1:47 into the first period. Sean Walker fired a shot from the point that was saved by Larose. The rebound came to Kevin Dufour, who buried the loose puck for his 13th goal of the season.
Brent Fletcher tied the game up at 7:03 of the first period, though, as Tyler Fletcher scored a wraparound goal to get the game back to 1-1. The Chargers took the lead at 9:53 as Regan Soquila scored a tipped goal from a Brandon Carlson shot.
Alabama-Huntsville pushed their lead to 3-1 as Hans Gorowksy tipped home a centering pass from Jetlan Houcher at 14:48.
The Chargers and Falcons both had eight shots in the opening frame.
The Falcons drew back within one at 1:31 of the second period. Brett D’Andrea picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone. He fed the puck to Tyler Spezia, who turned on the jets , made a nice move to split the defensemen, and buried his shot five-hole. The goal was Spezia’s 10th of the season.
Bowling Green tied the game up at 13:12 of the second period while on the power play. After taking a pass from Brandon Hawkins at the point Brett D’Andrea wristed a shot on net. The puck rebounded to Stephen Baylis who banged the shot home, his second goal of the season.
The Falcons were finally able to take the lead back at 18:18 of the second period. Jose Delgadillo fed the puck along the boards to Mark Cooper. The senior assistant captain skated around, found some space, and found Brandon Hawkins in the deep slot. Hawkins one-timed a rocket, beating Larose for his 11th goal of the season for a 4-3 lead.
The Falcons finished the second period with 15 shots on Larose. The Chargers managed just four opportunities on Nell.
The Chargers pulled back into a 4-4 tie at 8:13 of the third period. Matt Salhany won a foot race to a loose puck in the Falcon zone, beating Nell for the tying marker. Alabama-Huntsville took a 5-4 lead on the power play at 11:07 of the third period as Josh Kestner finished a one-timer from Cam Knight.
Max McHugh scored a two-on-one breakaway goal at 11:07 of the third period to push the Charger lead to 6-4.
Sean Walker pulled the Falcons back to a one-goal game at 15:18 of the third period. Stephen Baylis left the puck for Walker at the point. The junior captain collected the puck, skated into the slot and wristed the puck past Larose for his fourth goal of the season.
The Chargers scored an empty net goal at 18:36 to clinch a 7-5 win for the Chargers.
The Falcons finished the period with nine shots on Larose while the Chargers had eight chances.
With the loss the Falcons fall to 19-12-6, 15-7-5 on the season and have cemented themselves into the #3 spot in the WCHA playoffs. The Chargers improve to 7-20-6, 5-16-6.
The teams will conclude their weekend series Saturday at 8:07 (E).
- Max McHugh (UAH) – GWG
- Brandon Hawkins (BGSU) – 1 G, 2 A
- Josh Kestner (UAH) – 2 G