|1st||7:01||MIA||1-0||EV||Anthony Louis (5)||Carson Meyer/6, Jared Brandt/1|
|1st||15:15||BGS||1-1||EV||Pierre-Luc Mercier (2)||Chris Pohlkamp/2, Joe McKeown/1|
|1st||16:00||BGS||2-1||EV GW||Matt Pohlkamp (3)||Mitchell McLain/3|
|2nd||14:13||BGS||3-1||EV||John Schilling (1)||Tyler Spezia/2|
|3rd||9:37||BGS||4-1||PP||Mark Friedman (3)||Pierre-Luc Mercier/1, Mitchell McLain/4|
|Shots on Goal||1st||2nd||3rd||SOG|
|Team Stats and Records||PP||PIM||SHGF|
|Bowling Green (1-6-1)||1/7||4/8||0|
|Bowling Green Goaltending||MIN||GA||1||2||3||Saves|
|Chris Nell (W, 1-4-1)||59:58||1||5||6||6||17|
|Ryan Larkin (L, 3-2-2)||59:53||4||11||9||17||37|
OXFORD, Ohio - The Bowling Green men's hockey team (1-6-1, 0-2-0 WCHA) earned its first win of the season with a dominate 4-1 performance Saturday night against in-state rival Miami (3-2-2, 0-0-0 NCHC). In the non-conference victory on the road, the Falcons tallied its most shots of the season and successfully killed all of its penalties on the night for the first time of the season.
Although the RedHawks were the first to get on the board, the Falcons responded by scoring two goals in a 45 second timespan to take a 2-1 lead. In the Falcons offensive reign, senior Pierre-Luc Mercier kickstarted the goal-scoring momentum and scored for the second time in three games. On the power play, the Montreal, Quebec native netted his 18th career goal by picking up the puck off a rebound shot and burying it in the top shelf to tie up the game at 1-1.
Senior Matt Pohlkamp then marked his 70th career point to give the Falcons its first lead of the weekend just 45 seconds later with four minutes remaining in the first period. The Baxter, Minn. native entered the Miami zone with junior Mitch McLain and received a pass from the hash marks to score the game-winner in the upper right corner of the net to make the score 2-1.
The two plays were far from Bowling Green's only goal scoring chances in the first period, as the Falcons put the pressure on fast and quick to tally a 13-6 edge in shots after 20 minutes of play. The Falcons created a cluster in the Miami zone and although Miami's goaltender Ryan Larkin was able to cover the puck, the persistent play produced four Falcons shots on goal and featured the best scoring chance of the game to that point in the game. After the first, Bowling Green consistently kept the offensive pressure on for the remainder of the game.
"I'm proud of the guys. Obviously the one thing this group does it work, and when you work in practice and you don't earn the win on the weekend, it makes for a long month of October," Bowling Green hockey head coach Chris Bergeron said. "We try to just look at it as today. We leave yesterday and we leave the last three weeks, and it's hard to do mentally because it builds up. But I know they are happy with the way they played and I think they are excited to win. They should be, they played pretty good."
With 17 saves on the night, junior goaltender Chris Nell marked a .944 save percentage. The Green Bay, Wis. native was critical in keeping the Falcons ahead throughout the non-conference matchup, including a big glove save to keep it 2-1 with 9:51 to go in the second period. In addition to robbing the RedHawks of a game-tying goal, Nell shut down the remainder of Miami's offensive attack and did not sacrifice any other goals after the lone RedHawks goal scored off the rebound at the edge of the crease 7:01 into the game.
"Confidence is such a hard thing. So many people say its other people's responsibility to give other people confidence, but I don't think so," Coach Bergeron said of Nell's play. "I think it's something you have to earn by preparing and by playing well. Chris played well and he should be proud of that."
In the only goal of the second period, the puck bounced in favor of the Falcons to make it a 3-1 score with under five minutes to play in the period. Sophomore John Schilling was able to mark his first goal of the season and sixth of his career by tipping a wide angle shot taken by junior Tyler Spezia past the glove of Larkin.
The momentum flowed over into the third period, as Bowling Green was able to open the period with seven shots in the first five minutes of play. When junior Mark Friedman scored for the second night in a row on the power play, he was able to lift the Falcons to its biggest lead of the year with a 4-1 score. A native of Toronto, Ontario, Friedman now tallies four points in the last five games.
"We had to take away time and space and have good communication on the backend, but not just with the defense but the forwards as well," Friedman said of the game.
Ultimately, the Falcons marked its most shots of the season by holding a significant 41-18 advantage in the category. Bowling Green also went 1-7 on the power play and successfully killed its four penalties on the night. It was also the lowest number of infractions that the Falcons have committed all season. The victory is also the second win over an NCHC team since the league's 2013-14 inaugural season, in addition to being Coach Bergeron's first victory over his alma mater.
The Bowling Green men's hockey program will return to the BGSU Ice Arena next Friday, Nov. 4 when it welcomes Ferris State for conference action. The WCHA matchup is set for an 8:07 p.m. puck drop.