South Bend, IN – After last Saturday’s 3-1 loss to Lake Superior Ty Eigner was unhappy with his team’s effort against the Lakers. It’s safe to say the postgame speech Friday night in the locker room had a friendlier tone as the 16th-ranked Falcons upset the 5th-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish 5-2 in nonleague action.
Eric Dop started in net for the Falcons, stopping 27 of 29 shots faced. Cale Morris turned aside 17 of 21 Falcon chances for the Irish before being replaced before the third period. Ryan Bischel had nine saves on ten attempts in relief of Morris.
The Falcons struck early in the first period. Casey Linkhenheld forced a turnover at his blue line, starting a breakaway. Linkheneld skated in on Morris, went forehand to backhand, and snuck a shot five-hole for the 1-0 lead. The unassisted goal was Linkeheld’s second of the season.
The Irish responded at 10:23 with a power-play goal. Cam Morrison’s screen deflection beat Dop to tie the game at 1-1.
Notre Dame had 13 shots in the first period while Bowling Green challenged Morris nine times.
Bowling Green scored a power-play goal of their own at 7:32 of the second period. Max Johnson sent a pass to Brandon Kruse in the corner. Kruse sent a picture-perfect feed to Alex Barber across the crease, where Barber’s one-timer beat Morris. The goal was Barber’s second of the season.
The Falcons added to their lead thanks to a highlight reel play by Brandon Kruse. After Connor Ford caused a turnover in the Irish offensive zone, Brandon Kruse turned on the jets to chase down the loose puck. He split a pair of Notre Dame defensemen and sent a backhanded chance that beat Morris bar-down. The goal was Kruse’s first of the season to double Bowling Green’s lead to 3-1.
Alec Rauhaser picked up career point #100 with a goal at 17:07 of the second period. Rauhauser walked in from the boards before sniping a shot over Morris’ glove side for his sixth goal of the season. Sam Craggs and Carson Musser assisted on the play to give the Falcons a 4-1 lead.
Both teams had 12 shots in the middle frame.
Notre Dame made a change in net to begin the third period. Freshman Ryan Bischel replaced Morris who finished the game with 17 saves on 21 shots faced.
The Falcons didn’t wait long to add goal number five for the night. Freddy Letourneau cleaned up a rebound from Cam Wright on the power play to push the Falcons’ lead to 5-1 at 5:53. Will Cullen had the secondary assist on the play.
The Irish cut the Falcons’ lead to 5-2 with a power-play goal at 15:29 o the third period. Jake Pivonka’s shot from the far faceoff circle snuck under Dop’s glove arm.
But, the Falcons held on for the rest of the period to seal the 5-2 win.
With the win, Bowling Green improves to 9-5-0, 5-3-0-0 on the season. The Irish fall to 8-3-2, 4-2-2-1. The teams will conclude their weekend nonleague series Saturday at 7:07 PM in Bowling Green.
- Eric Dop (BGSU) – 27 saves
- Brandon Kruse (BGSU) – GWG, 1 A
- Alex Barber (BGSU) – 1 G, 5 shots
Photos by Jessi Renner// BGSUhockey.com