A last minute goal from Max Johnson secured a 3-2 victory over Ferris State for BGSU hockey on Friday night.
The goal pushed the Falcon’s record to 5-1-0 on the season. Ferris State falls to 0-1-0. The game and this series, while against an WCHA opponent, will not count toward the WCHA standings.
In the first period, despite neither team netting a goal, there was a lot of condensed action. Ferris state, in their first game of the season, came out of the gate swinging with big hits, which set the tone for the rest of the period. With both teams playing clean games, there were very few whistles to go around. Shifts were long for both squads, so it’s just as well that line changes were clean for both teams throughout the first.
Ferris State netminder Roni Salmenkangas was tested early by the Falcons, and held strong as the Bulldogs’ defense found their footing. Bowling Green found dominance in the shooting department, at one point being up 7-0 in shots on goal, and ending the period 15-7.
As both teams were denied chances, the action between two physical teams began to heat up. It started when BGSU freshman Seth Fyten threw a big hit to lay out one of the Ferris State players. Not taking too kindly to this, Ferris State sophomore defenseman Jake Willets threw down gloves with Bowling Green’s Gavin Gould.
After much pushing and shoving from both teams, Ferris State’s Hunter Wendt and Bowling Green’s Max Coyle were both called penalties, which sent the teams to an uneventful 4-on-4 to end the period.
At exactly two minutes into the second period, Alex Barber opened up the scoring for the Falcons with a fantastic goal, assisted by Taylor Schneider and Carson Musser. That goal set something of a precedent for the Falcons, who had a great period offensively.
Just following the goal was a two-man breakaway in which Fyten and Cameron Wright were gifted a chance, Fyten missed the shot, but he would redeem himself later in the period.
For the Falcons, players like Sam Kraggs and Tim Theochardis were proving vital for bringing physical play to the game. After the game, Max Johnson discussed how happy he was to have an opponent who also enjoyed a physical style.
“It’s nice to play against someone that will battle as hard as you will,” he said.
That roughness landed them both in trouble as there was yet another dual penalty, which brought them to another 4-on-4. Slightly more eventful than the last, BGSU goalkeeper Zack Rose was tested by Ferris’ Lucas Finner, and came up with a big save.
Rose’s save opened up for the Falcons to take the puck into the other end and to flurry Salmenkengas with shots, which ultimately led to Fyten scoring his first goal of the season, and putting the Falcons up 2-0.
On a Bulldogs powerplay towards the end of the period, Willets cut the lead in half with a goal that beat Rose and put Ferris down just 2-1.
Despite the late goal, the Falcons knew what they had to do to earn their first WHCA win.
“Our guys didn’t panic or get too down about it. We told them to stick with the game plan and keep at it,” said BGSU head coach Ty Eigner.
Ferris State began the third period with a fresh goaltender in net, swapping out Salmankengas for Sophomore Carter McPhail. Throughout his time in net, McPhail put up some solid saves, but more importantly proved that he wouldn’t let the Falcons occupy his crease without some resistance.
Physicality and scrumming only escalated from here, with some large hits drawing ire on both sides, and more pushing and shoving ensued.
Late into the third period, Ferris’ Coale Norris netted a goal on a rebound after Rose came out of his net to make a save, tying the game at 2 goals apiece. With pressure mounting, the outcome seemed clear.
“We thought it was going to overtime,” said Eigner.
As the seconds dwindled away, Bowling Green’s Will Cullen took a shot from the center point straight onto net, and it was redirected by Max Johnson to put the Falcons up 3-2 with just 12 seconds to play.
“We just told our defense, even if it’s not the hardest shot you’ve ever taken, just take something to get some shots, and Cullen did that,” Eigner said.
Johnson, who scored the goal on a tip-in, described how happy he was with how it shook out.
“It was nice to get that one at the end. Have some sense of sane-ness, I guess, for all the times we shot it and it just never went in,” he said.
Despite a video review challenge, the goal was upheld, and the clock ran out, securing Bowling Green’s clutch victory over Ferris State.
After the game, Eigner expressed how great it was to still be playing hockey, and to be as successful as the Falcons have been.
“We’re really lucky. Our whole focus is to try to take advantage of these opportunities. Being 5-1 is certainly a real good spot to be, so we’ll enjoy this tonight and then we’ll put it away and we’ll come back tomorrow and focus on tomorrow.”
The Falcons will continue their home-at-home series with Ferris State tomorrow at 7:07 PM in Big Rapids, Michigan.