|1st||9:37||BGS||1-0||EV GW||Kevin Dufour (11)||Pierre-Luc Mercier/7|
|1st||14:28||BGS||2-0||EV||Kevin Dufour (12)||Frédéric Létourneau/8, Pierre-Luc Mercier/8|
|2nd||4:06||BGS||3-0||PP||Mitchell McLain (17)||Mark Friedman/14, Alec Rauhauser/15|
|3rd||5:14||BGS||4-0||PP||Adam Smith (1)||Mark Friedman/15, Tyler Spezia/17|
|3rd||6:54||BGS||5-0||PP||Kevin Dufour (13)||Sean Walker/11, Pierre-Luc Mercier/9|
|3rd||18:52||BGS||6-0||PP||Frédéric Létourneau (6)||Kevin Dufour/11, Chris Pohlkamp/8|
|3rd||19:29||BGS||7-0||EV||Alec Rauhauser (3)||Pierre-Luc Mercier/10, John Schilling/5|
|Shots on Goal||1st||2nd||3rd||SOG|
|Team Stats and Records||PP||PIM||SHGF|
|Alabama Huntsville (9-21-3)||0/7||16/40||0|
|Bowling Green (16-17-2)||4/11||13/45||0|
|Alabama Huntsville Goaltending||MIN||GA||1||2||3||Saves|
|Carmine Guerriero (L, 1-8-0)||60:00||7||9||13||13||35|
|Bowling Green Goaltending||MIN||GA||1||2||3||Saves|
|Chris Nell (W, 12-13-2)||59:57||0||12||11||10||33|
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio - The Bowling Green State University hockey team took an enormous step towards hosting the first round of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) playoffs by routing Alabama-Huntsville 7-0 on Friday night. Kevin Dufour created the first Falcons' first hat trick at home since 2013, while Chris Nell barricaded the goal for his tenth career shutout. The game was held at the Slater Family Ice Arena.
BGSU scored early and often, starting with a pair of goals in the opening period. Midway through the opening frame, Chris Nell was called for roughing. Frederic Letourneau served the penalty, which ended the Falcons' first power play of the night. Pierre-Luc Mercier won the faceoff directly in front of Nell, and Kevin Dufour raced unchallenged across the rink. His low shot beat Chargers' goaltender Carmine Guerrero for a 1-0 lead.
Later in the first, Dufour scored again with a backhander following a deft move to beat his defender. Letourneau earned a point with an assist on the play, while Mercier put up his second assist of the period. Meanwhile, Nell stopped 12 UAH shots, and the BGSU defense killed two Charger power plays.
Bowling Green added to their lead early in the second period, then used one of their best penalty kills of the season to maintain it. UAH's Cody Champagne was called for high-sticking 2:58 into the period and gave BGSU its third power play of the game. Halfway through the penalty, Mark Friedman sent a shot towards Guerrero. Mitch McLain, positioned in front of the goal, tipped the shot into the net for a power play goal and a 3-0 lead.
At the 11:36 mark of the second, Lukas Craggs took a contact-to-the-head penalty and was given a five-minute major as well as a game misconduct. The Falcons faced an extended penalty kill, which became a 5-on-3 disadvantage for two minutes following a cross-checking call on Friedman. Nell saved seven shots during the penalty, while the BGSU defense forced UAH skaters to chase down the puck in their own end several times.
BGSU carried the 3-0 lead into the final period and took advantage of several power plays to salt the game away. UAH killed off one penalty that had carried over from the second period after 17 seconds but took another within the opening minute of the third. They also killed that power play, but 30 seconds later, Jordan Larson took another for roughing. Adam Smith fired a wrister from the left circle that beat Guerrero with four seconds left in the penalty for a 4-0 lead with 14:46 to play.
The Falcons were back on the power play less than a minute later, and they made the Chargers pay. Dufour scored again, this time on a deflection following a Sean Walker shot. The goal gave Dufour a hat trick. Mercier also assisted on the play. BGSU led 5-0 with 13:06 to go in the game.
The final 12 minutes of the game was marred by 15 penalties, including two ten-minute unsportsmanlike conduct calls. BGSU added their last two goals during the final 1:08 of the contest. The first was the team's fourth power play goal of the game, from Letourneau. The second was Alec Rauhuaser's third goal of the season. Mercier posted his fourth assist of the game on the final goal.
Dufour's hat trick is BGSU's third of the season, following ones from Mitch McLain in November and December. It is the first one at the Ice Arena since Mark Cooper did it in a 4-3 overtime win over Minnesota State on Nov. 22, 2013. He added an assist for a four-point night, the first of his career and the third of the season for BGSU. Mercier's four assists is a career-best; in fact, no other current Falcon has had a four-assist night. Letourneau, Friedman and Rauhauser also had multi-point games.
BGSU's 7-0 win is the team's biggest shutout victory since a road 7-0 victory over UAH on Jan. 3, 2014. The shutout is also a program-best tenth shutout for Nell, and his 33 saves ties his season best.
On special teams, the Falcons were 4-for-11 on the power play and 7-for-7 on the penalty kill. The team's four power play goals were the most since Mar. 12, 2016 in a 7-2 playoff victory over Bemidji State.
With the win, BGSU improves to 16-17-2 overall and 13-13-1-1 in WCHA play. Because Ferris State also defeated Lake Superior State, the Falcons and Bulldogs remain in a tie for fourth place with 41 points. The pair are now locked into a first-round matchup, and the host will be determined by Saturday's results. The Falcons own the tiebreaker due to more league wins and will clinch home-ice next weekend with either a win or a Ferris State loss tomorrow.
In the event that both teams tie on Saturday, BGSU would host the playoff series against Ferris State with a 3-on-3/shootout win or a 3-on-3/shootout loss by FSU.
BGSU hosts Alabama-Huntsville in the final regular season game of the 2016-17 season at 7:07 p.m. on Saturday night.