In a 5-0 win against Lake Superior State, Eric Dop recorded his second straight shutout and extended his active streak without allowing a goal to 138:15. His eighth win of the season pushed the Falcons to a 8-4 record on the year.
Bowling Green had to shake some rust off after a shaky start to the contest but responded quickly with two goals 31 seconds apart. Max Johnson deposited a tap-in pass from Will Cullen and Sam Craggs completed a barrage of shots by snapping a rebound off the post and in.
Still, the Lakers held a 10-9 shot advantage heading into the locker room. It was evident there was still some jet lag lingering from the Alaskan round trip. Seven of the Falcons’ 10 first period shot attempts came directly from the slot, veering away from the quantity over quality mantra the team has tried to hold onto this year. In their own end, various gaffes and fumbles put the Falcons on their heels many times.
“I think some of the first period had to do with them being ready to play and playing really hard,” head coach Ty Eigner said during his postgame press conference. “We just didn’t do things that allow us to be successful. We turned some pucks over on exits, we turned some pucks over through the neutral zone. It was a loose period we thought.”
A loose period resulted in tight coverage for the rest of the game, which came with a bountiful tally of penalties in the second and third period. 19 penalty calls were made, including a five-minute major and a game misconduct to Laker forward Alex Ambrosio for hitting from behind.
These opportunities allowed Cameron Wright to tip in a Tim Theocharidis point shot on the man advantage, and for Connor Ford to seal the deal on a penalty shot, after being hauled down on a breakaway.
“Frustration certainly is a part of this and were trying our best to manage that… Any time there’s a bunch of penalties the game doesn’t necessarily flow,” Eigner said.
Cameron Wright’s goal becomes his third in three straight games, seeming to have sparked his offensive touch as a result of lining up alongside Johnson and Brandon Kruse. Wright started the year with the line for the season-opening match that witnessed him pot four goals, but was reunited before the series against Anchorage.
“It’s hard not to score goals and score points with them,” Wright said. “They constantly have the puck on their sticks and they’re constantly looking for you.”
He finished the game with a goal and two assists for a season total of nine goals and three assists in 12 games played. His second assist came on the final goal of the night, a bar-down shot from Evan Dougherty.
Eric Dop, in his 11th game of the year, swatted aside all 18 shots that he faced, just two more than the total he saved a week ago in the first game of the Alaska-Anchorage series. He’s totaled 51 during his shutout streak, considerably low for two games and a period of hockey.
In the weekend series against Minnesota State, alone, he faced 63 shots. Patience is always key for a goaltender, but when relied upon to stop only three shots it can change the mindset of a goaltender heading into the weekend.
“The difference in games like Minnesota State and Alaska—you have to prepare for those games a little bit differently,” Dop said. “There wasn’t a lot of shots in the second period and same in the third, but it’s important to stay in the game. You kinda learn that throughout the season, and I didn’t really learn that last year.”
Dop, in his first season as the program’s starting goaltender, matches a career-high in wins (8) in his 18-save shutout victory.
The Falcons return to the ice to finish their series against Lake Superior State Saturday night at 7 p.m.