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Updated 11:55 p.m., Falcons squander two-goal in OT loss to Minnesota State (11-23-13) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kevin Gordon Sentinel Assistant Sports Editor   
Sunday, 24 November 2013 00:51
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Minnesota State's Casey Nelson (6) carries the puck under pressure from BG's Brent Tate (23). (Photo: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
Bowling Green’s hockey team is allergic to two-goal leads.
The Falcons held a two-goal lead for the third time in their last four games Saturday night and it wasn’t enough to win.
Minnesota State scored the final three goals for a 3-2 overtime victory in the Ice Arena.
Bryce Gervais scored the game-winner just 90 seconds into overtime. He was wide open between the circles and fired in a pass from Chase Grant, who forced a turnover.
MSU rallied from a 2-0 deficit by scoring twice on the power play — Matt Leitner at 16:38 of the second period and Jean-Paul Lafontaine at 8:40 of the third period.  BOX SCORE
The Falcons were bidding for a sweep of the series after a 4-3 overtime win Friday.  PHOTO GALLERY
They entered the series after blowing two two-goal leads at Ferris State the previous weekend.
Ferris scored twice in the final two minutes of regulation of Game 1 to earn a 3-3 tie and then scored four times in the final 22 minutes to post a 4-2 victory in Game 2.
“Not acceptable, lost our poise, lost our composure,” BG coach Chris Bergeron said of the MSU loss.
The Falcons survived a slow start Saturday to play well during the final 10 minutes of the first period to build a 2-0 lead.
Mike Sullivan opened the scoring with a hard shot from the left point for a power-play goal at 13:21 and Mark Cooper knocked in his own rebound just 2:42 later.
But the Falcons tried to protect the lead in the penalty box. They had seven penalties for 25 minutes in the second period, and MSU tied the game during a two-man advantage.
The 5-on-3 resulted from a major to Ben Murphy for checking from behind at 16:02 and an elbowing penalty to Matt Pohlkamp just 18 seconds later. MSU tied the game just 18 seconds into the 5-on-3.
BG didn’t play well in the third period or overtime with too many breakdowns and turnovers in its defensive zone.
“We have to stay out of the box,” said BG forward Dajon Mingo, who played well. “When we’re playing 5-on-5, that’s when we’re going well.”
Only the outstanding goaltending of freshman Tomas Sholl enabled BG to reach overtime. He made 30 saves, including 14 in the second period and 10 in the third period.
“For us to lose two-goal leads in three of the last four games and not win any of those games (is) completely unacceptable,” Bergeron said. “The discipline is with the game plan, too. Discipline is with the system. The discipline is with all of the things, not just the dumb penalties.”
The Falcons had a two-man advantage for 44 seconds early in the third period with a chance to increase their lead to 3-1, but the power play was ineffective with just two shots.
“My feeling was we were going to get that opportunity, just based on the way the penalties had been,” Bergeron said. “They executed. We didn’t.”
MSU — the preseason pick to win the WCHA — played well over the final two periods to improve to 5-7, 3-3.
Freshman Cole Huggins held BG scoreless over the final 41:30, stopping 21 shots.
“Full marks to (MSU),” Bergeron said. “They got down two goals on the road, and didn’t quit, kept pushing, probably had the better of the play. Some of those penalties were because (MSU was) working (hard) and we needed to take them, still undisciplined, but we needed to take them because they were out-working us.”
BG is 6-5-3, 4-3-1.
“The most difficult, frustrating part for a coach is we can’t simulate that atmosphere, that time in practice,” Bergeron said of playing with a lead.
“This is what’s happening in practice, turning pucks over, running around in the (defensive) zone, no poise and you lose your focus. It’s very hard to teach that,” Bergeron added. “The more you’re in that situation, you’re just naturally going to get better at it, but we haven’t shown that yet.”
Sholl has a 2.28 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage, despite a 2-5 record.
“He was great,” Bergeron said. “I feel sorry for Tomas. Our team has not played well in front of him.”
Last Updated on Monday, 25 November 2013 12:37
 

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