BOWLING GREEN - The Bowling Green State University ice hockey team defeated No. 10 Western Michigan Friday night, dropping the Broncos by a score of 3-2 at the BGSU Ice Arena. Mark Cooper, Ryan Carpenter and Dajon Mingo scored for the Falcons, while goaltender Andrew Hammond stopped 20-of-22 shots in the victory.
The Falcons were perfect on the power play in the contest, converting on their only opportunity. Western Michigan was 1-for-3 with the man advantage, including back-to-back five-minute power plays in the third period.
Western Michigan's Chase Balisy lit the lamp first in the contest, scoring an even strength tally at 16:41 of the opening period. The Broncos started the play with an odd-man rush in the Falcons' zone, hitting the top of the post on a one-time pass in the slot. Balisy was waiting at the top of the crease, banking home his eighth goal of the season to put the Broncos up, 1-0.
Bowling green responded at the 12:15 mark of the middle frame, coming off the stick of Cooper at the top of the Western Michigan goal mouth. Freshman Ben Murphy collected the puck, and fired a shot towards the front on the Bronco net. Fellow freshman Brent Tate deflected the puck to the left of Western Michigan netminder Frank Slubowski, finding Cooper for a wrist shot. Cooper's tally marked his sixth goal of the year, and tied the contest, 1-1.
The Falcons scored a second goal just over three minutes later, giving Bowling Green its first lead of the game. Rusty Hafner started the play, feeding a pass to Connor Kucera at the opposite point. Kucera accepted the offering, firing a shot towards the Western Michigan crease. Kucera's shot flew towards the net, tipping off of Carpenter's stick. Carpenter's deflection beat Slubowski for his team-leading ninth goal of the season, putting the score at 2-1.
With just 16 seconds remaining in the second period Western Michigan's Kenny Morrison tied the contest, firing home a shot from the point on the power play.
Tied at 2-2 entering the third period, both teams shared several quality scoring chances early. However, Bowling Green was able to strike first in the final frame, pulling ahead with an even-strength goal at 5:17 of the third. The Falcons once again worked the puck from point to point, eventually finding Mike Sullivan at the far boards. Sullivan fired a shot on net, hitting a mass of bodies in front of the Western Michigan cage. The puck deflected to the near hash mark, where Mingo was waiting to fire it home. Mingo's shot beat Slubowski low glove side, giving Bowling Green the 3-2 lead.
With 8:27 remaining in the third period, Tate was charged with a game misconduct for checking from behind, and a five-minute major penalty. Western Michigan's Josh Pitt also committed a minor penalty on the play, putting both teams at four skaters aside.
Just over one minute later, senior Ryan Peltoma was also charged with a five and a game, giving the Broncos overlapping five-minute power plays. The Falcons showed poise in the final half of the third period, grinding out the penalty kill with blocked shots and successful clears. Spectacular play from Hammond and the penalty killers held the lead for Bowling Green, securing the 3-1 win over No. 10 Western Michigan.
The Falcons' fourth win in a row pushes their overall record to 8-10-5, including a record of 5-7-3-1 in the CCHA. The Broncos drop to 13-6-4 overall, with a record of 9-4-2-1 in conference play.
Bowling Green's four-game win streak marks their longest since 2005-06, when the Falcons pulled off six-straight wins from Dec. 3, 2005 – Jan. 3, 2006. That span also marks Bowling Green's last six-game unbeaten streak.