MARQUETTE, Mich. — Bowling Green is headed to the quarterfinals of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs for the second straight season.
|BG's Mike Sullivan (4), Ryan Carpenter (22) and Adam Berkle (13) celebrate with Ryan Viselli after Viselli's goal gave BG a 4-1 lead in the third period. (Photo: Matthew Keiser/Marquette Mining Journal)
The Falcons completed a come-from-behind effort to win their first-round series at Northern Michigan, posting a 4-1 win Sunday night in the deciding game of the series.
BG evened the best-of-3 series Saturday with a 5-3 win.
On Sunday, Dan DeSalvo and Adam Berkle combined for three goals and three assists, and Andrew Hammond made 34 saves as the Falcons erased a 1-0 deficit.
The Falcons, 12-22-5 overall, face third-ranked and CCHA regular-season champion Ferris State (22-9-5) in a best-of-3 series March 9-10-11.
NMU, ranked 16th after finishing sixth in the CCHA, fell to 17-14-6. It had posted 4-2, 2-0 wins at BG Feb. 10-11.
“I’m extremely pleased,” BG coach Chris Bergeron said. “Our resiliency and focus were very good the whole weekend, and I’m extremely proud of the guys. We had a tough first half of the season, but the hard work and the things we went through in terms of gaining experience, it’s nice to see it paying off.”
“Even after giving up the first goal tonight, the guys hung in there and there was no sense of panic. We kept playing our game and even took it up a notch.”
The Wildcats took a 1-0 lead on Mitch Jones’ goal at 4:48 of the second period, but the Falcons rallied for three goals in a seven-minute span later in the period to take a 3-1 lead.
DeSalvo scored twice to give BG the lead, the first goal coming unassisted at 8:20 and the second was assisted by Berkle and Bobby Shea at 12:39.
Berkle made it 4-1 just 111 seconds later, with DeSalvo assisting on the goal.
The Falcons closed out the scoring on Ryan Viselli’s goal with 7:48 left in the game. Berkle and Ryan Carpenter assisted on the goal.
DeSalvo finished with two goals and one assist, while Berkle added a goal and two assists.
“Everyone in the locker room talks about never giving up and being resilient, and we take a lot of pride in that,” DeSalvo said. “We might not have always been our sharpest, but we found a way to get the job done.”
BG had not scored five goals in a game or eight goals in a two-game span against a CCHA team since January, 2009.
It entered the series averaging 1.67 goals per game.
“Being able to score gives us confidence and momentum, and it helps us relax and play the game,” DeSalvo said.
Although the Falcons were out-shot by a 35-23 margin, they still played well defensively as a team.
Many of NMU’s shots came from the perimeter and the Falcons did a good job of clearing the front of the net, preventing second and third shots.
BG also killed off all four of NMU’s power plays, the first two kills coming in the first six minutes of the game.
“Everyone did their job defensively,” DeSalvo said. “We made sure we were tying guys up, we blocked shots and we tried to get our sticks in the way.”
When the Wildcats had a good scoring chance, Hammond made the save. He stopped 48-of-50 shots during the final five periods in the series.
“He was solid,” Bergeron said of Hammond, who stopped 86-of-94 shots in the series for a .914 save percentage. “He played the type of hockey we expect from him and the way he expects to play.”
The freshmen line of left wing Berkle, center Carpenter and right wing DeSalvo played well all weekend. The three combined for seven goals and eight assists. The three have a good mix of speed and skill, and size and strength.
“We’ve developed some pretty good chemistry,” said DeSalvo, who had five goals in the series.
“They’ve been very dangerous and they were really opportunistic around the net,” Bergeron said.
Although BG’s freshmen and sophomores played well in the series, it also received contributions from veterans like Hammond; defensemen Shea and Max Grover; and forwards Cam Sinclair, James McIntosh and Marc Rodriguez.
Junior defenseman Ryan Peltoma missed the first two games with a sprained ankle, but played in Game 3.
“We had everyone engaged this weekend and that’s what you need,” Bergeron said.
BG’s power play was 0-of-5 Sunday.
The Falcons beat NMU in a first-round series for the second straight season, also winning the final two games last season. BG became the first last-place CCHA team to win a first-round series last season.
BGSU 4, NORTHERN MICHIGAN 1
GOALS BY PERIOD
BGSU 0 3 1 —4
NORTHERN MICHIGAN 0 1 0 —1
Penalties: Williamson, BG, holding, 1:17; DeSalvo, BG, tripping, 3:15; Epp, NMU, holding, 6:03; Pletsch, BG, hooking, 10:26; Gron, NMU, 10:44; Handley, NMU, boarding, 15:55.
Scoring: 1, NMU Jones 6 (Vigier, Florek) 4:48. 2, BG DeSalvo 8 (unassisted) 8:20. 3, BG DeSalvo 9 (Berkle, Shea) 12:39. 4, BG Berkle 7 (DeSalvo) 14:30.
Penalties: Macaulay, NMU, interference, 17:23.
Scoring: 5, BG Viselli 4 (Carpenter, Berkle) 12:12.
Penalties: Grover, BG, interference, 3:50; Thurber, NMU, charging the goalie, 18:44; Jones, NMU, roughing, 19:14; Epp, NMU, major-checking from behind and game misconduct, 19:57.
SAVES BY PERIOD
Hammond, BG 9 13 12 —34
Ellingson, NMU 5 10 4 —19
Goalie statistics (goals against/minutes played): (BG) Hammond 1/60. (NMU) Coreau 4/57:30, Empty net 1/2:30.
Penalties-Minutes: BG 4-8, NMU 8-27. Power plays: BG 0-5, NMU 0-4. Attendance: 1,098.