Marquette MI – After skating to a stalemate in the first period, it was all Falcons for the rest of the game. 15th-ranked Bowling Green pummeled Northern Michigan 6-1 in game one of their WCHA Playoffs semifinals matchup.
Ryan Bednard stopped 26 of 27 shots faced for Bowling Green. Atte Tolvanen turned aside 36 of 42 attempts for the Wildcats.
The teams combined for five power plays in the first period, but neither was able to find the net in the opening period.
Bowling Green had 11 shots in the opening period while Northern Michigan had eight chances.
The Falcons scored the game’s first goal at 1:35 of the second period. Frederic Letourneau caused a turnover in the Wildcats’ zone, sending the puck to Max Johnson. The sophomore forward continued his hot streak with a wrist shot goal to give the Falcons a 1-0 lead. The goal was Johnson’s seventh in his last six games.
Bowling Green added their second goal at 5:42 of the second period. Adam Smith scored a rebound goal from the slot to make it 2-0 Bowling Green. Connor Ford and Frederic Letourneau had the assists on the play.
The Falcons had 17 shots in the second period while the Wildcats had eight.
The Falcons started the third period on a five-on-three power play and took full advantage.
First, Brandon Kruse would score at 30 seconds of the third period. His one-timer from the far face-off circle beat Tolvanen. Rauhauser and Johnson assisted on the play.
Then, with a five-on-four power play, Connor Ford made it 4-0. Alec Rauhauser’s wrist shot from the point was deflected by Ford, finding the net for Ford’s fourth goal of the season. Johnson had the second assist on the play.
Northern Michigan finally broke through with a goal of their own at 8:55 of the third period. Griffin Loughran’s wrist shot cut the Falcons’ lead to 4-1.
But, a tap-in goal from Max Johnson (assisted by Kruse and McDonald) at 11:12 of the third period and another marker by Cam Wright (assisted by Barber and Linkenheld) with six seconds to play sealed the 6-1 win for the Falcons.
Bowling Green had 14 shots on net in the final period while Northern Michigan had 11 chances.
With the win, the Falcons improve to 24-9-5, 16-8-4-3 on the season. The Wildcats fall to 21-15-2, 18-8-2-0. The teams will continue their best-of-three series Saturday at 7:07 PM.
With a Bowling Green win Saturday, the Falcons would advance to the WCHA Playoffs Championship Game. A Northern Michigan win would force a decisive game three Sunday at 7:07 PM.
- Max Johnson (BGSU) – 2 G, 2 A
- Frederic Letourneau (BGSU) – 2 A
- Brandon Kruse (BGSU) – 1 G, 1 A