The Bowling Green Falcons ended their weekend series with the Nanooks of Alaska-Fairbanks with a 1-1 tie on Saturday night (Jan. 11) at the BGSU Ice Arena in Bowling Green, Ohio. The Falcons earned three of four possible points during the two-game series and are now 4-0-2 in their last six WCHA games. Bowling Green has captured at least one point in its last five contests overall and is now 6-2-2 since the beginning of December.
|(Click link for box score)||1st||2nd||3rd||OT||Final|
Tonight's first period was much more action-packed than last night's edition. Both teams immediately attacked their opponent's net after the puck drop, and Bowling Green took advantage of a bad bounce to score with just 1:52 off the clock. Mark Cooper earned his tenth goal of the season, while Ralfs Freibergs and Rusty Hafner assisted on the goal. The rest of the period remained scoreless, but it was not for lack of scoring opportunities. Both teams continued to pepper the net, and Alaska ended the period with a 10-9 advantage in shots. Great play by both goalies, Tommy Burke (BGSU) and John Keeney (Alaska), kept the game at 1-0. The Nanooks and Falcons each had power play opportunities in the final 11 minutes, but neither team was successful. Alaska killed off a BGSU power play with 9:19 left in the period, then Bowling Green fought off two Nanook power plays in the span of 4:42 within the last eight minutes. Burke saved five shots during that time.
The second period was less eventful, as both defenses settled in. In particular, much of the period was played on Bowling Green's side of the ice, and the Falcons were able to manage just four shots in the period. Much of that issue had to do with penalties, however. The Falcons were penalized three times in the final 10:31 of the period, and thus spent the majority of the time on the penalty kill. BGSU was fortunate on a couple of occasions that Alaska wasn't able to get the puck through, but Burke played very well and stopped seven shots. Alaska ended the second period 0-for-5 on the power play for the game, and the score remained 1-0 in favor of BGSU.
Both teams unleashed a flurry of shots in the third period, but as in the first, the goaltenders ruled the day. Entering the period, Bowling Green had 13 shots on goal, and they doubled that total in the third. However, none of the 13 were able to make it past Keeney. Meanwhile, Burke extended the Nanooks' scoreless futility in the series to 107:44, but that's where it ended. Out of a scrum, Cody Kunyk found Colton Beck, who passed to Marcus Basara. Basara was able to slip the puck past Burke to even the score. Alaska continued to pepper Burke with shots, but he was ultimately able to stop 12 of 13 attempts on goal. Each team had power play opportunities in the period, but neither team was successful. In fact, the two teams combined to go 0-for-15 on the power play in the two-game series. Alaska failed on eight opportunities, while Bowling Green did so on seven.
Neither group could break through with a game-winner during regulation, so they headed to a five-minute overtime. It was Bowling Green's eighth overtime of the season. The Falcons could only manage one shot on goal during the extra frame, but Burke stopped three shots by the Nanooks, including a breakaway shot with one minute left. The game ended in a 1-all tie.
Bowling Green's overall record is now 12-9-5, and they are 9-6-3 in WCHA play. Their 21 points gives them sole possession of second place in the conference, thanks in large part to Alaska-Anchorage's weekend sweep of Minnesota State.
Alaska-Fairbanks is 8-10-4 overall and 5-9-2 in the WCHA. They have 12 points and remain in ninth place.
The Falcons return to the ice in two weeks when Lake Superior State visits the BGSU Ice Arena on Jan. 24th and 25th. Both games are scheduled to begin at 7:07 p.m. ET.