Special teams propel Falcons in 3-1 win over RPI

The Bowling Green Falcons (9-12 overall, 7-7 Central Colleigate Hockey Association) earned a series-opening win against the RPI Engineers (7-10-1, 2-6 ECAC), taking a 3-1 victory on Thursday at Slater Family Ice Arena.

The Falcons were spectacular on special teams, scoring twice on the power play and holding the Engineers without a power play score.

Austen Swankler led the Falcons with three points on one goal and two assists while Ryan O’Hara and Ethan Scardina each had a goal and assist. Christian Stoever made 31 saves for BGSU.

The Falcons opened the scoring halfway through the first period with a goal from Swankler. Quinn Emerson chipped the puck along the right boards, where O’Hara retrieved it as he entered the offensive zone.

He placed a perfect pass to Swankler down the seam, who made a nifty move to his backhand to score the game’s first goal.

Three minutes later, Scardina extended the lead with a power play tally. Ben Wozney brought the puck from behind the BG net to center ice before dumping it back to Swankler.

He whistled it over to Scardina, who attacked the right side of the zone and snuck the puck five-hole for the eventual game-winning goal.

Later in the period, RPI got on the board with a Mason Klee score. Sutter Muzzatti made a pass from the point to the right circle, hitting T.J. Walsh. He found a crashing Klee, who made a hesitation move before firing the puck over the right side.

After a long scoreless stretch, the Falcons padded the lead with another power play goal, this time from O’Hara.

With less than five minutes to play in regulation, Swankler forced a turnover in the RPI offensive zone and skated down the left side.

As he entered the zone, he lined a cross-ice pass through traffic, putting it on the stick of Scardina. He shot from the right dot, with O’Hara skating into the crease to redirect it into the net for the final goal of the evening.

Swankler brings his season line to 13 goals and 13 assists for 26 points. He leads the team in all three categories. This is his team-best third three-point game of the year, with all three coming in the month of December.

He has a team-high seven multi-point performances and leads the Falcons in multi-assist games with three. Swankler has scored in the last 11 games, totaling eight goals and 11 assists for 19 points in this stretch. In his career, the sophomore has 21 goals and 31 assist for 52 points in 56 games.

Scardina now has a season line of eight goals and three assists for 11 points. It was his fifth power play goal of the year, tying Nathan Burke for the team lead. He and Burke are tied for second on the team in total goals.

This marked the junior’s second multi-point game of the year and third career multi-point effort. The goal was the game-winner, the first of his career. In his career, he has 14 goals and 11 assists for 25 points, with seven goals on the power play.

O’Hara improves his season line to seven goals and nine assists for 16 points. He ranks second on the team in points, third on the team in assists, and fourth on the team in goals.

This was his fourth multi-point performance of the year and fifth of his career. The sophomore has scored in three consecutive games, totaling one goal and four assists for five points in this span. In his career, he has 11 goals and 13 assists for 24 points.

Wozney is now tied with Zach Vinnell for the lead among defensemen in assists and points. The sophomore has 12 assists in his career.

Quinn Emerson notched his second assist of the season, giving the freshman three points.

Stoever played the entire game in net, stopping 31-of-32 shots. This marked his tenth game of the year with 30 or more saves. The win improves his record to 6-10-0.

The Falcons dominated special teams, going 2-for-6 on the power play and 2-for-2 on the penalty kill.

The Falcons and Engineers conclude the series at 7:07 p.m. Friday night at Slater Arena.