Falcons sweep Tommies in last-minute thriller

By Momo Pfaff, [email protected]

Bowling Green State University hockey started Saturday’s game against St. Thomas on fire — and ended it the same.

“We’re getting back into that Bowling Green style of play,” said Falcon sophomore Austen Swankler.

That style translated into the first sweep of the season.

BGSU hockey (5-7-0, 4-4-0 CCHA) won 3-2 against the St. Thomas Tommies (2-10-0, 1-5-0 CCHA) at the Slater Family Ice Arena on Saturday. That was the same score on Friday, too.

The goalie matchup was unchanged from Friday, with BG sophomore Christian Stoever and St. Thomas freshman Aaron Trotter between the pipes.

The Falcons started off on fire, with a close scoring chance by fifth-year Nathan Burke less than a minute into the contest.

Six minutes into the period, Tommies winger Cooper Gay scored for the first goal of the game.

Seconds later, St. Thomas freshman Brady Simmons-Fischer received a major for highsticking Swankler.

The five-minute man advantage proved to be successful, as Burke capitalized to make it 1-1.

With 14 seconds left on the major, Tommies winger Jarrett Lee went to the box for slashing, allowing 6-on-4 ice time for Bowling Green.

The second half of the first was full of back-and-forth puck battles, concluding with BG’s first penalty against freshman Brett Pfoh.

The second period started off with the Falcons killing off the Pfoh penalty.

However, the Tommies forward, Brady Simmons-Fischer, got one past Stoever’s net, making it 2-1.

The lead silenced the crowd and the Falcons needed to find more time in their offensive zone.

At the halfway mark, STU winger Ryan O’Neill had a dangerous breakaway toward Stoever, but the netminder kept on his toes.

Former Falcon Garrett Daly sat for a holding penalty, allowing more PP time for BGSU in the second half of the period.

Just seconds after Daly’s timeout, Falcon defenseman Hunter Lellig was penalized for the same infraction.

The period came to a close with both teams fighting for a puck, but with no additional points on the board.

As the puck dropped for the third, the Falcons found some leeway with yet another penalty on Daly for crosschecking five minutes in.

BGSU defenseman Ben Wozney also got a crosschecking penalty leading to 4-on-4 hockey toward the halfway point.

More struggle would come for the Falcons, with a holding penalty on center Jaden Grant.

St. Thomas blasted shots toward Stoever, but he was able to prevent any goals.

As the crowd was sitting silently, seeing the time wind down, BG junior Ethan Scardina scored to tie the game 2-2.

The crowd roared.

The energy was stifled with an elbowing penalty on captain Alex Barber late in the period. After a slew of shots, the Falcons killed it off.

Another miracle came for Bowling Green, as sophomore Austen Swankler shot top shelf to make it 3-2.

The crowd was silent and anxious as the officials reviewed the call, but as the ref’s hand went down to signal a goal, the sea of orange and brown roared in celebration.

Head Coach Ty Eigner said the electric crowd of the Madhouse on Mercer was key for the team’s confidence and momentum.

“As players, they feel the crowd’s energy and the bench comes alive,” Eigner said. “Winning was a big deal and we’re proud of that.”

More CCHA action comes BGSU’s way before Thanksgiving break as they face the Ferris State Bulldogs in Big Rapids, Michigan, on Nov. 18 and 19.