No. 5 BGSU hockey is on their way to the semifinals of the WCHA postseason tournament after a 3-2 win and sweep of No. 4 Alaska Fairbanks. Max Johnson and Brandon Kruse each collected three points in the win, giving Kruse five points in the two-game series.
Johnson opened the scoring in the final two minutes of the first period after Kruse was able to find him in the slot from behind the net on a bang-bang play. The Falcons controlled the game in the latter half of the opening period piling a 15-5 lead in shots on goal.
Despite penalties going both ways, the second period was scoreless. The Nanooks built some offense, but again Bowling Green battled back in the final minutes. Will Cullen was about three inches away from extending the lead but his shot trickled through the crease and just wide.
Again in this series, the third and final period featured the majority of the scoring. It started when Caleb Hite evened the game on a rebound right in front of Eric Dop after Kyle Marino and Roberts Kalkis put the original shots on net.
BG responded quickly. Less than a minute later Will Cullen powered home a puck from the slot when Kruse fed him a pass from behind the net once again. Just over a minute later, TJ Lloyd had a clear lane from the top of the point to Anton Martinsson and did not miss. His third goal of the season was assisted by Kruse and Johnson.
Lloyd’s goal acted as a dagger, but Max Newton was able to make things interesting when he found the puck in a scrum right in front of Dop and scored on the power play. The Nanooks could not find the momentum they needed to tie the game again after some key penalties gave Bowling Green offensive zone time in order to kill off the remaining time left on the clock.
With the sweep, the Falcons have now won at least one playoff series for 10 consecutive seasons dating back to their time in the CCHA.
Dop stopped 21 shots in his 19th win of the season.
Now, BGSU will wait for their opponent in the semifinal round of the WCHA tournament. If Bemidji State wins the third and final game of their series with Lake Superior State, the Falcons will play in Bemidji. If the Lakers win, the Falcons will travel back home and play LSSU at the Slater Family Ice Arena. The Beavers and the Lakers will decide their series Sunday at 7 p.m. EST.