|Falcon hockey season ends with loss at Notre Dame (3-16-13)|
|Written by Kevin Gordon Sentinel Assistant Sports Editor|
|Saturday, 16 March 2013 21:47|
The Falcons worked hard, played well and offered plenty of grit and determination Saturday night.
Unfortunately, they had their hearts broken by Bryan Rust for the second straight night.
The Notre Dame junior scored on a penalty shot with 11:32 remaining to break a 2-2 tie and the Fighting Irish held on for a 4-3 win and a sweep of the best-of-3 Central Collegiate Hockey Association quarterfinal series. BOX SCORE CCHA SCORES
Rust, whose overtime goal gave ND a 1-0 win Friday, beat goalie Andrew Hammond with a backhander high to the blocker side from the left edge of the crease. The penalty shot was awarded after a BG player closed his hand on the puck during a goalmouth scramble.
Anders Lee increased the ND lead to 4-2 on a power-play goal at 12:05 and ND held on after that. BG closed to within 4-3 on Bryce Williamson’s goal just 13 seconds later, but it couldn’t net the equalizer.
Rust, who plays right wing on ND’s top line, scored his tie-breaking goal after BG rallied in the second period to erase a 2-0 deficit.
BG finished the season 15-21-5. ND, ranked 12th nationally and second in the CCHA during the regular season, advanced to the semifinals with a 23-12-3 record.
The teams played a terrific and exciting game for the second straight night.
Hammond and ND goalie Steven Summerhays were outstanding in a game that was intense, physical and filled with scoring chances.
Hammond stopped 30 shots, while Summerhays made 29 saves.
“I’m happy with the way we played tonight, but I’m not happy with the result,” BG coach Chris Bergeron said.
BG had a chance to tie the game on the power play with 1:33 left and then made it 6-on-4 after the Falcons pulled Hammond for the sixth attacker. But ND held on for the win.
Williamson had two goals and one assist, while Ben Murphy had the other BG goal and Ralfs Freibergs had two assists.
“I’m extremely proud of our group, a very resilient bunch,” Bergeron said. “We’re going in the right direction. Progress is being made. It’s not going to be long before we’re winning series like this against great programs like Notre Dame.”
The Falcons have been consistently resilient during Bergeron’s three seasons and they nearly worked their playoff magic again Saturday.
BG, ninth in the CCHA during the regular season, was bidding for its fifth playoff series win in the last three seasons. All four of those wins came on the road, three coming after BG lost Game 1.
“I hope it’s the character. I hope it’s the brand,” Bergeron said. “We’re establishing the brand of Bowling Green hockey that we’re willing to be great on a daily basis and we’ve got young guys committed to that.
“It takes time,” Bergeron added. “Our guys, we’re getting it. We’re getting punched in the face and we’re getting up and going back to work. That’s what makes the regular season so important, so you don’t have to come to places like Notre Dame … in the playoffs.”
The Falcons had just four seniors this season, with freshmen and sophomores filling many of the key positions offensively and defensively.
“The willingness is coming,” Bergeron said. Our young guys are learning this is what they have to demand of themselves and each other.”
The Falcons tied the game in the second period on power-play goals by Williamson at 6:33 and Murphy at 18:42.
“The power play got us back in the game,” said Williamson, who had two goals and one assist in the game.
“We battled hard both games,” Murphy said.
The teams played an even first period, although ND took a 2-0 lead on goals by Rust on the power play at 6:44 and Nick Larson at 12:45.
“Even at 2-0, I didn’t think we played a bad period,” Bergeron said.
|Last Updated on Monday, 18 March 2013 09:10|
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