Bowling Green, OH – A trio of blunders were the deciding factor Friday as the Falcons fell in game one of their WCHA quarterfinal match-up with the Bemidji State Beavers, 3-1.
Chris Nell started in net for the Falcons, making 22 saves on 25 shots faced. Michael Bitzer got the start for Bemidji State and stopped 23 shots on 24 Falcon chances.
The Beavers got on the board first at 6:51. The Falcons turned the puck over just outside their zone, and John Parker gained possession. Parker skated in and wristed a shot high, beating Nell.
The Falcons had a slow start but started to carry the play at the end of the first period. They finished the period with 12 shots on Bitzer while Bemidji State had eight chances on Nell.
Bemidji State pushed their lead to 2-0 at just :47 of the second period. The Falcons were on the penalty kill and attempted to clear the puck. Graeme McCormack knocked the clearing attempt down and passed to Cory Ward. The puck was shot high, beating Nell over his right shoulder.
The Falcons struggles continued at 11:53 while the Falcons were on the power play. Pierre-Luc Mercier went back to collect a puck that had cleared the zone. Mercier got crossed up, falling down on the play. Kyle Bauman collected the puck, skated in on Nell and beat him high for the 3-0 Beaver lead.
The Falcons were finally able to break their goose egg at 14:30 of the second period. Sean Walker fired a wrist shot from the deep slot. Stephen Baylis tipped the puck, squeezing-in between Bitzer and the goal post. The goal was Baylis’ seventh of the season.
Bowling Green finished the second period with just six shots on net while Bemidji State had ten opportunities on Nell.
With just over 2:30 to play in the this period the Falcons pulled Chris Nell for an extra attacker. But, the Falcons weren’t able to get the goals needed to force an overtime period, and fell 3-1.
With the loss the Falcons fall to 20-13-6 on the season while the Beavers improve to 17-14-6. The Falcons must now win the next two games in the series to advance to the Final Five in Grand Rapids.
The teams will continue their series Saturday at 7:07 PM.
- Kyle Bauman (BSU) – 1 G
- Michael Bitzer (BSU) – 24 saves
- John Parker (BSU) – 1 G
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