EAST LANSING, Mich. — Bowling Green’s young hockey team learned a painful lesson on the road Saturday night.
|BG’s Bobby Shea (left) passes the puck as MSU’s Tanner Sorenson closes in. (Photos courtesy of Todd Pavlack/Ay-Ziggy-Zoomba.com)
The Falcons — with just one senior and four juniors in the lineup — started slowly and never fully recovered in a 3-1 loss to Michigan State in a Central Collegiate Hockey Association game.
BG played a poor first period and eventually fell behind 2-0.
The Falcons closed within 2-1 on Bryce Williamson’s goal with 5:49 left in the second period, but MSU clinched the win on Greg Wolfe’s second goal of the game, into an empty net with just 31.4 seconds to go in the contest.
Jake Hildebrand made 27 saves for MSU, which was out-shot by a 28-17 margin.
BG’s Tommy Burke, starting his second straight game in place of the injured Andrew Hammond, had 15 saves.
MSU earned a split of the series after dropping a 2-1 decision at BG Friday.
The Falcons gradually raised their level of play, but it wasn’t enough. The loss ended BG’s three-game winning streak. BG is 11-14-5 overall and 8-11-3-1 in the CCHA. MSU is 8-19-3, 6-15-1.
“It’s a tribute to (MSU),” BG coach Chris Bergeron said. “We tried to warn our guys, but we showed our lack of experience at being in a game to close out a weekend.”
The Falcons are 1-4-1 in Game 2 of the series when going for a sweep.
“We didn’t bring our game up a level coming on the road, knowing (MSU) was going to try to take their game up a level because of last night’s result,” Bergeron said. “They did that.”
The Falcons remained in sole possession of seventh place in the CCHA with 28 points, thanks to Michigan’s 6-4 loss at Notre Dame.
Lake Superior is eighth in the 11-team league with 26 points, followed by Michigan with 25, Northern Michigan with 23 and MSU with 19. The sixth- through eighth-place teams host first-round playoff series.
“We came out flat and couldn’t find our game,” said Williamson, who has nine goals to match his total of last season. “We really didn’t deserve the bounces.”
The Spartans took a 1-0 lead on Wolfe’s goal at 11:08 of the first period during a major penalty to BG’s Adam Berkle. Wolfe scored from the right hashmark off the rush after BG’s defensive zone turnover.
Tanner Sorenson gave MSU a 2-0 lead at 6:37 of the second period.
|BG’s Bryce Williamson (12) tries to fight his way past MSU’s defense.
Sorenson’s goal came from the right side of the crease. He was wide open after RJ Boyd’s point shot was going wide of the net, but hit an MSU player and went right to Sorenson.
“They got the bounces they deserved,” Bergeron said. “We couldn’t find a bounce.”
Williamson scored with a back-hander during a goalmouth scramble.
“We had our chances, but where we are as a program right now, you don’t turn it on and off like a light switch,” Bergeron said. “You have to be ready to go, ready to close out a weekend, ready to play your game and we weren’t. We couldn’t get into our game enough.”
The Falcons held a 21-10 edge in shots over the final two periods.
They had some excellent chances to tie the game, but Hildebrand played well. The freshman has a 2.21 goals-against average and a .934 save percentage in 21 games.
“(The bounces) find a way to work themselves out,” Bergeron said. “If you’re ready for the moment, on top of it, and ready to bury pucks, you find a way to score, but we weren’t. We were close at times but not good enough.
“(MSU) deserves the credit for that,” Bergeron added. “They picked themselves up after a loss last night, came out hard and got what they deserved.”
BG’s Ryan Carpenter also saw his point streak end at 13 games.
The Falcons also had a hard time generating momentum because they took five penalties, including three minors and a major.
“Poor, poor decisions on our part,” Bergeron said.
BG’s power play was 0-of-2, while MSU was 1-of-5.
MICHIGAN STATE 3, BGSU 1
GOALS BY PERIOD
BGSU 0 1 0 —1
MSU 1 1 1 —3
Scoring: 1, MSU Wolfe 6 (Walsh, Forfar) 11:08 (5-4 pp).
Penalties: Berkle, BG, major-checking from behind and game misconduct, 8:11; Shea, BG, hooking, 13:46.
Scoring: 2, MSU Sorenson 9 (Byrd, Reimer) 6:37. 3, BG Williamson 9
(Wojtala, Murphy) 14:11.
Penalties: Gatt, MSU, checking from behind, 1:57; Mohler, BG, holding, 4:30; Shea, BG, holding the stick, 17:28.
Scoring: 4, MSU Wolfe 7 (Forfar, Reimer) 19:28 (5-6 en).
Penalties: Gatt, MSU, tripping, 10:23.
SAVES BY PERIOD
Burke, BG 7 3 5 —15
Hildebrand, MSU 7 11 9 —27
Goalie statistics (goals against/minutes played): (BG) Burke 2/59:10,
Empty net 1/0:50; (MSU) Hildebrand 1/60. Penalties-Minutes: BG 5-21,
MSU 2-4. Power plays: BG 0-2, MSU 1-5. Attendance: 5,140.