ALLENTOWN, Pa. - In the team's first appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 29 years, Bowling Green State University hockey pushed defending national champion No. 2 Minnesota Duluth to the wire before losing 2-1 in overtime Saturday evening. The game was played in the PPL Center.
Brandon Kruse scored a second period goal to give the Falcons a 1-0 lead but Minnesota Duluth scored with 3:01 to play in regulation and then finished the contest with an overtime goal at 11:45 of the period.
First Period Highlights
- Lukas Craggs got the Falcons going early with an impressive opening shift that included an early shot on goal.
- BGSU generated the majority of the early scoring chances, posting the first four shots on goal of the contest.
- It took Minnesota Duluth more than 4 1/2 minutes to generate its first shot on goal.
- Frederic LeTourneau took the first penalty of the game, a boarding call at 5:16 of the opening frame.
- UMD's spent almost the entirety of the two-minute power play in the offensive zone but Ryan Bednard made a pair of beautiful glove saves and the Falcons weathered the storm.
- UMD earned its first penalty at 10:41 of the first period on a holding penalty. BGSU picked up a slash 10 seconds later to end the threat.
- With just over three minutes to play in the period, UMD got its best chance of the period on a deflection, but Bednard smothered the point-blank look.
- Just seconds later, Bednard again had to make a lunging save to keep the game scoreless.
- Over the final three minutes of the frame, UMD had multiple scoring chances, but Bednard stepped up each time.
- UMD outshot the Falcons 11-10 through the first 20 minutes.
- Brandon Kruse and Connor Ford each had two shots on goal.
- Minnesota Duluth won 14-of-25 face-offs and had four of the game's five blocked shots.
- Bednard was a perfect 11-for-11 on save opportunities.
Second Period Highlights
- In the first minute, UMD had a wide-open look off a rebound but the Bulldogs Parker Mackay fired wide of net.
- BGSU picked up a tripping penalty at 4:51 of the second period with UMD already pressuring in the early stages.
- The final 30 seconds of the UMD power play was fraught with opportunities for the Bulldogs but Bednard held up under the pressure.
- Minnesota Duluth recorded the first six shots on goal of the frame before a Kruse tried to shove one home on the doorstep 7 1/2 minutes into the second.
- With 10 minutes to play in the period, Tim Theocardis ripped a slapshot on the Falcons' best look of the period to that point.
- Just after the midway point, the Falcons began to assert their will on the game. Taylor Schneider, Stephen Baylis and Adam Smith each had shots on goal and UMD blocked two other chances.
- Lukas Craggs carried the puck on an odd-man rush, spun and found Johnson on a backhand pass.
- Falling over, Johnson dished the puck across the crease to Brandon Kruse, who buried the shot for a 1-0 lead with 3:37 to play in the second. It was the first BGSU goal in an NCAA Tournament game since March 17, 1990 and was Johnson's 12th point in six postseason games this year.
- UMD outshot the Falcons 10-8 in the second period and led 21-18 through two.
- Ryan Bednard was perfect on 21 save chances.
- Kruse led the Falcons with four shots on goal.
- UMD led BGSU 28-22 on faceoffs and held a 10-4 edge in blocked shots.
Third Period Highlights
- Neither team generated much offense in the early going, but BGSU earned a power play with 15:35 to play on a slash.
- Max Johnson almost scored directly off the faceoff to start the power play, but UMD followed with a pair of chances shorthanded. Stephen Baylis drew iron on a slap shot with time running out on the man advantage.
- Even with UMD back to full strength, the Falcons continued to swarm, getting good looks from Frederic LeTourneau and Connor McDonald.
- Over the next several minutes, both teams had opportunities to score but the goalies were up to the task each time.
- After Connor McDonald's slap shot from the blue line almost beat Minnesota Duluth for a goal, the Falcons were called for tripping with 7:10 to play in regulation.
- With 3:01 to play, UMD tied the contest by scoring on a rebound. Bednard made an initial save but the Bulldogs punched it in to tie the contest.
- Minnesota Duluth outshot BGSU 14-8 in the third and 35-26 through regulation.
- Ryan Bednard made 34-of-35 saves, while Brandon Kruse and Connor McDonald each recorded four shots on goal in regulation.
- UMD led faceoffs 44-32 and blocked shots 10-6.
- Less than 90 seconds into the first overtime, John Schilling had a breakaway and almost ended it but UMD came up with the save.
- John Schilling had a wrap-around attempt stopped and the bouncing puck on the rebound was slapped at by Stephen Baylis but the Falcons were unable to score.
- With 8:15 to play in the overtime, UMD's Cole Koepke got behind the BGSU defense. His initial shot was saved by Bednard but the rebound was corralled by Parker Mackay and he scored to end it.
- Final shots were 42-31 Minnesota Duluth with Ryan Bednard making 40 saves.
- UMD led faceoffs 45-39 and blocked shots 12-8.
- Brandon Kruse, Connor McDonald and Stephen Baylis all had four shots on goal.
- BGSU was 0-for-2 on the power play and Minnesota Duluth was 0-for-4.
- Bowling Green's season comes to a close with a record of 25-11-5. It was the most wins for the program in the nine-year tenure of head coach Chris Bergeron.
- BGSU played in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 1990 season. It was the Falcons' first overtime NCAA Tournament game since a 4-3, triple overtime loss to Western Michigan on March 7, 1986.
- It is the second time that BGSU and UMD have played overtime. In the 1984 national championship game, Bowling Green defeated Minnesota Duluth 5-4 in four overtimes.
- Ryan Bednard's 40 saves tied a career-high that he set in the Falcons' 2-1 win at Northern Michigan that clinched a trip to the 2019 WCHA Championship game.
- Max Johnson's assist on Brandon Kruse's goal was his 12th point of the 2019 postseason (six games).
- Brandon Kruse scored at least one point in five straight games and posted his second goal of the 2019 postseason.