Updated 11 p.m., Falcons swept at Notre Dame; BG to visit Lake Superior in first-round playoff series
Written by Kevin Gordon Sentinel Assistant Sports Editor
Saturday, 02 March 2013 22:02
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Bowling Green had a chance to clinch home ice in the first round of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs Saturday night.
|BG's Mike Sullivan controls the puck under pressure from Notre Dame's David Gerths. (Todd Pavlack/Ay-Ziggy-Zoomba.com)
The Falcons sure didn’t play like it.
They weren’t sharp offensively, defensively or in goal during a 4-1 loss to 11th-ranked Notre Dame.
The Falcons finished ninth in the CCHA with 34 points and will visit eighth-place Lake Superior for a first-round best-of-3 series this weekend.
Michigan took seventh place with 36 points, thanks to a 2-1 shootout win at home against Ferris State. BG and Michigan both entered Saturday’s action with 34 points.
Lake Superior (35 points) moved past the Falcons with a 3-0 win at Northern Michigan. NMU finished 10th with 32.
Entering the weekend, the Falcons needed a split with ND to clinch home ice for the first time since 2008.
The Falcons (13-18-5 overall, 10-15-3-1) put themselves in danger of losing home ice last weekend when they split at home against NMU.
ND took second in the CCHA (21-12-3, 8-3-2).
Lake Superior is 16-19-1, 10-16-1-1, including two losses at BG, Feb. 1-2.
ND scored the game’s final three goals to pull away from a 1-1 tie.
David Gerths’ power-play goal snapped the tie at 4:26 of the second period.
The Fighting Irish received insurance goals in the third period from Anders Lee at 3:05 and Nick Larson on the power play at 17:37.
The Falcons held a 27-26 edge in shots.
Coupled with a 4-3 win Friday, ND swept the series. The Falcons have lost four of their last five games.
“Nowhere near good enough. Nowhere near good enough, that includes all three positions,” BG coach Chris Bergeron said. “Nowhere near the level of fight I thought we were going to have with the opportunity we had. I’m not sure what the answers are right now, but we go back to work on Monday.”
The Falcons played well during the last 12 minutes of the first period after Mario Lucia opened the scoring at 5:31.
BG tied the game on Andrew Wallace’s rebound goal at 13:19, converting on the rebound of Adam Berkle’s shot. Berkle and Ted Pletsch set up the goal with good work deep in the offensive zone.
But ND came back to dominate the second period.
“I thought we were ready to go,” Wallace said of the game. “I don’t know if we were gripping the stick a little too tight because it was such a big game.”
“The second period both nights was just awful for us,” Bergeron said. “Tonight, we had a poor second period and (ND) took their game up a level. Our game didn’t even stay the same. It went down a level.”
The Falcons generated little sustained pressure offensively, had far too many turnovers, and had breakdowns in their defensive coverages.
BG goalie Andrew Hammond wasn’t sharp in his first start since Feb. 2. He played in relief Friday in his return from a knee injury. The senior stopped 22 shots Saturday.
The Fighting Irish played well, generating scoring chances with sustained pressure and off the rush. The Falcons had to play as much of the game as possible in their offensive zone to neutralize ND’s advantage in skill, size, depth and talent.
“We didn’t take care of the puck tonight. Against a team like Notre Dame, if you’re not getting into your game and turning their defense around, you’re going to give them transition chances,” Wallace said. “It can be a long night. If can be a tough night. It’s definitely disappointing.”
The Falcons also had problems with penalties and special teams.
BG had six penalties and the penalties often broke what little momentum the Falcons had. The ND power play was 2-of-6, while BG was just 0-of-1.
Last Updated on Monday, 04 March 2013 09:21