Tim Theocharidis’ game-winning goal and two assists pushed BGSU hockey to take the first game of their quarterfinal series with Alaska Fairbanks after scoring two power play goals in the third period.
Along with Theocharidis, Brandon Kruse (two assists) and Frederic Letourneau (goal and assist) put up multi-point efforts.
The Falcons thought they had opened the scoring halfway through the opening period when Taylor Schneider chipped in a rebound, but it was waved off by the officials for goaltender interference.
Discipline became an issue later in the first after a checking from behind penalty by Justin Wells resulted in a Max Newton power play goal for the Nanooks, leaving the Falcons down 1-0 at the end of the initial period.
Early in the second period, Alex Barber connected on a cross-crease pass feathered in by Kruse to knot the score.
The rest of the middle frame featured a heavier offensive presence for the Falcons, registering nine shots on net and a strike of the post at the buzzer. The momentum shifted into the third period as BG hit the net 14 times.
Alec Rauhauser floated a point shot at Anton Martinsson, but a screen from Barber allowed the shot to hit the back of the net and put the Falcons ahead. Just 37 seconds late, though, James Ladouce had a wide open look in front of Eric Dop and did not miss, tying the game once again.
The turning point came with just under six minutes remaining in the series opener. On an odd-man rush, Wells was the victim of a stick infraction and Bowling Green headed to the power play.
Theocharidis’ initial shot in the dying seconds of the man advantage came from a broken stick, but the puck deflected into the net off a Nanook to put the Falcons ahead. In the same motion, Tyler Cline took a roughing penalty and put the Falcons right back on the power play.
Letourneau was the hero this time. With no Fairbanks players challenging him, he walked into the slot and roofed a shot over the shoulder of Martinsson.
The 4-2 win is Bowling Green’s 20th of the season, extending their streak to six consecutive seasons with at least 20 wins.
Dop made 19 saves in his 18th win on the year.
The best-of-three series will continue Saturday night at 11 p.m. EST and Sunday at 9 p.m. if necessary.