Bowling Green will start the regular-season short-handed Friday night.
Mark Friedman, Mitch McLain and Jakob Reichert all received game-disqualification penalties for fighting at the end of Saturday’s exhibition against the University of Windsor.
The DQ penalties carry an automatic one-game suspension under NCAA rules.
The three juniors are ineligible to play in Friday’s season-opener at Western Collegiate Hockey Association rival Bemidji State, although the three can play in the series finale on Saturday.
Friedman was a first-team All-WCHA defenseman last season, while McLain is one of BG’s best all-around players. Reichert is a forward who can provide a physical presence and a scoring touch when he’s in the lineup and playing well.
Three Windsor players received DQ penalties after the brawl, which capped a penalty-filled contest in the Ice Arena. Two Windsor players received DQ penalties for fighting, and the third was DQ’d for abuse of the officials.
Reichert also received five-minute and game-misconduct penalties for head-butting in the brawl.
The teams totaled 44 penalties for 168 minutes, including 23 penalties for 82 minutes on Windsor. The contest was physical and emotional. Windsor received another major after one of its players ran over Falcon goalie Tomas Sholl with just 3:39 remaining.
The officials appeared to have the teams separated at one point after the game, and even appeared to have canceled the traditional post-game handshake before the brawl broke out. The officials needed approximately an hour after the game to sort out the penalties following the brawl.
“There was a lots of fire there. Both teams were playing hard,” BG coach Chris Bergeron said during his post-game press conference held well before the DQs were issued.
The exhibition was BG’s first contest under the NCAA’s and WCHA’s crackdown on interference and obstruction. The teams combined for 29 minor penalties and 26 power-play attempts as the NCAA and the WCHA attempt to reduce hooking, holding and faceoff interference.
“We’re all going to have to figure this out together,” Bergeron said. “Our guys are going to have to get used to it, and the referees are going to have to get used to it, too. Referees are trying to figure out what the new crackdown is going to look like.
“We’re going to have to learn to settle down with our stick play and our faceoff interference. I haven’t looked at all of the penalties, but I do know there were ones we’d like to have back, and there are ones where we maybe were a victim of something. We’re going to have to get used to this new normal.”
The Falcons averaged just 4.76 penalties and 10.33 penalty minutes per game last season.
“It’s not new rules,” Bergeron said. “The standards are going to get tougher in terms of how we call games, and our guys will get used to it. That’s why I think it will get better.”
SPECIAL TEAMS: The teams combined played 39:12 of the 60-minute game on the power play. In addition to the power-play time, the game had a significant amount of 3 on 3 and 4 on 4 play.
“It’s hard to get a flow going in the game,” said BG junior forward Brett D’Andrea, who scored twice in the second period to give BG a 3-1 lead. “But you have to capitalize on those power-play chances, and you have to shut down their chances on the penalty kill.”
The Falcons were 2 of 12 on the power play. They killed all 10 of Windsor’s power plays.
Although Windsor tied the game on a short-handed goal in the second period, the Falcons still had the two power-play goals, and 17 of their 31 shots came with the extra man. BG was on the power play for 20:09. D’Andrea and Kevin Dufour scored BG’s power-play goals.
“We had some good movement on the power play. We got some good looks,” D’Andrea said.
The Falcons allowed just 12 shots to Windsor’s power play, despite behind short-handed for 19:03.
“I liked our penalty-kill. It looked like we were on the same page with that,” Bergeron said.
OVERALL: Bergeron was pleased with BG’s play overall. The Falcons held a 31-23 edge in shots on goal. They scored three times in the second period to erase a 1-0 deficit. Windsor closed within one goal in the first minute of the third period, but BG held on.
“I liked the way we competed,” “Bergeron said. “We stuck together pretty well. I’m happy because we looked like had a game plan in place and a system in place. Overall, I’m happy with the way we played.”
GOALTENDING: Sholl stopped 21 of 23 shots, including several key saves. The senior didn’t play in a game last season, although he played the final 29:57 of BG’s exhibition. But this season, he’s played well in practice and came back to school in the best shape of his career.
“He played well,” Bergeron said. “He got the win. He deserved it. The soft goal has been one that’s hurt him. I didn’t like the second goal. It’s a puck I’d like to see him have.”
Bergeron said Chris Nell, a first-team All-WCHA selection last season, is still BG’s No. 1 goalie. He was the backup Saturday. Highly-touted freshman Ryan Bednard was a healthy scratch.
“Just some internal things we wanted to take care of, and that’s why (Nell) didn’t play today,” Bergeron said.
LINEUP: The Falcons dressed 13 forwards and seven defensemen against Windsor since there are no lineup limits for an exhibition. During the regular season, teams are limited to 18 non-goalies, usually 12 forwards and six defensemen.
Five freshmen played against Windsor — forwards Frederic Letourneau and Lukas Craggs; and defensemen Alec Rauhauser, Jacob Dalton and Niko Coffman.
Sophomore defenseman Chris Pohlkamp (shoulder) was held out of the exhibition, but is likely to play at Bemidji.
BG’s other healthy scratches were freshman forward Casey Linkenheld and sophomore forward Matt Meier, who is a transfer from Air Force.