Michigan State spoiled Bowling Green State University hockey’s home opener on Saturday at the Slater Family Ice Arena.
The Falcons (2-2-0) lost 2-1 to the Spartans.
Sophomore Austen Swankler won the opening faceoff, but the Spartans immediately took over and started putting up shots toward BG goalie Christian Stoever.
The continuous shots would be short-lived, as the Spartans got a penalty for too many men, three minutes in. The Falcons gained momentum, finally getting shots against Spartans netminder Dylan St. Cyr.
Sophomore Ryan O’Hara quickly slapped the puck through the middle lane.
Michigan State’s frustration turned into a high-sticking penalty on freshman Tiernan Shoudy. Despite the solid performance during the first power play, the Falcons were not able to get shots on net.
Halfway through the period, the Spartans kept Stoever busy as they found an offensive spark. But Bowling Green defended the lead. Falcon forward Austen Swankler was notably playing both sides of the ice, becoming an extra defenseman during these stints.
As “Let’s Go Falcons” cheers filled the Slate, both teams were fighting hard in puck battles.
Thirteen minutes in, alternate captain Max Coyld would get a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. Although Michigan State tried to tie up the score, Stoever was on high alert and the penalty was killed.
Bowling Green would not be near St. Cyr’s net much at the end of the first, as the Spartans kept on outshooting.
As the period came to a close, Stoever went to the locker room with an injured hand. Zack Rose would have to come in to face MSU again, after his career 38-save game on Friday.
The start of the second period looked more even, with fast puck battles left and right.
Michigan State tied the game up less than three minutes in, with an angled shot by Tiernan Shoudy.
BGSU getting ready to play Michigan State tonight. pic.twitter.com/qyebuEXlTA
— JonDavid Pooley (@pooleyjd) October 8, 2022
Stoever came back to replace Rose a minute later, despite the hand injury in the first period.
As Stoever took the net, both teams became aggressive, checking each other any chance they got.
At the eight-minute mark, BGSU rookie Quinn Emerson would take a roughing penalty. Shots kept coming, but Stoever stayed on his toes with some help by the special team defense.
After the kill, the game looked like a WWE match, with pushing and shoving near the BG net. This resulted in a slashing penalty on Spartans right wing Joshua Jagger.
Bowling Green’s offense could not generate any shots, while the Spartans found chances to get some of their own.
Near the ending minutes, both teams continued to try for a lead with no luck.
The Falcons’ strong defense prevented points for the Spartans’ jumpstart in the beginning of the third. With the shot count at 30-12 favoring MSU, they needed to generate offense.
A checking penalty on Spartan defenseman Cole Krygier would give BGSU a chance to regain a lead.
Although the Falcons got some shots on net, none got past St. Cyr.
At the end of the third, Bowling Green was finally leaving survival mode and putting on pressure, but a major penalty on defenseman Hunter Lellig halted that.
Winger Daniel Russell scored on the power play and the score was 2-1 MSU.
The Falcons were desperate for a goal, but the Spartans came out victorious.
Rose and Stoever had stellar performances each game. Head coach Ty Eigner will need to decide on the starter.
“We will see how the goaltending situation goes down the road,” Eigner said.
The Falcons will take on Western Michigan on Oct. 13 and 14 for another home-and-home series.