|1st||8:49||BGS||1-0||EV GW||Tyler Spezia (7)||Mitchell McLain/13, Chris Pohlkamp/9|
|1st||13:25||BGS||2-0||EV||Sean Walker (9)||-|
|Shots on Goal||1st||2nd||3rd||SOG|
|Team Stats and Records||PP||PIM||SHGF|
|Alabama Huntsville (9-22-3)||0/11||8/16||0|
|Bowling Green (17-17-2)||0/5||12/24||0|
|Alabama Huntsville Goaltending||MIN||GA||1||2||3||Saves|
|Jordan Uhelski (L, 6-9-3)||58:54||2||12||13||11||36|
|Bowling Green Goaltending||MIN||GA||1||2||3||Saves|
|Chris Nell (W, 13-13-2)||60:00||0||11||11||16||38|
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio - Chris Nell led the Bowling Green State University hockey team to a 2-0 victory and a weekend sweep of Alabama-Huntsville, as he blanked the Chargers for the second straight night In the process, Nell set a season-high for saves and broke a 39-year-old BGSU school record for longest shutout streak.
The pair of victories over UAH allowed Bowling Green to clinch the #4 seed for the upcoming WCHA playoffs. That means the Falcons will host a best-of-three first round series, which will be played against #5 Ferris State.
BGSU found all the offense it needed during the first period. Just before the halfway point of the period, Tyler Spezia scooped up a rebound to the right of goaltender Jordan Uhelski. He skated behind the net and snuck in a wraparound goal for a 1-0 lead just 8:49 into the game. Mitch McLain and Chris Pohlkamp were credited with assists.
Later in the period, the Falcons were wrapping up a penalty kill in their defensive zone when Sean Walker took the puck and went coast-to-coast for the score. His shot from the left circle beat Uhelski high and gave BGSU a 2-0 lead with 6:35 left in the period. The unassisted goal was even-strength, as McLain came back on the ice three seconds before.
McLain's penalty was one of five by Bowling Green in the opening period, which led to six power play chances for the Chargers. The Falcons ultimately faced 12 UAH power plays, but they killed off all of them in a vitally important special teams display. BGSU was under a man disadvantage for 14:35 in this game. The team has now gone three straight games and 23 straight opponent power plays without allowing a power play goal. The 12 penalty kills are the most for BGSU in the last 15 seasons.
However, Nell's outstanding performance was clearly the key to victory. Once his offense got him the lead, Nell repeatedly came up with huge saves to maintain it. He made a key stop on a Charger breakaway midway through the second period, one of 11 shots he faced in that frame. He then stopped 16 shots during the final 20 minutes, including five during one of UAH's four third-period power plays.
Nell stopped a season-high 38 shots on Saturday and totaled 71 for the weekend. His previous high for saves in a series this season had been 51. He also broke the school record for longest shutout streak, held by Brian Stankiewicz since the 1977-78 season. Nell broke the mark at 7:13 of the first period, and it now spans 207:31. Saturday's shutout extends his school career record to 11.
Bowling Green concludes the regular season with a 17-17-2 overall record and a 14-13-1-1 mark in the WCHA. The Falcons earn the fourth seed in the WCHA playoffs with 44 points and will host fifth-seeded Ferris State in the first round of the playoffs. The best-of-three series at the Slater Family Ice Arena will take place from March 3-5. This will be the first playoff meeting for the Falcons and Bulldogs since BGSU took two of three from FSU in the second round of the CCHA playoffs during the 2011-12 season.