Falcons secure shootout win against Tommies

By Momo Pfaff, [email protected]

MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn. — Bowling Green State University hockey (14-13-1, 11-8-1 CCHA) won after a shootout against the St. Thomas University Tommies (7-15-2, 6-10-2 CCHA) at the St. Thomas Ice Arena on Friday.

Although the game ended in a 3-3 tie, the Falcons overcame penalties in overtime and were able to come out victorious in a nail-biting shootout.

The Falcons walked away with three out of possible six points this weekend, still remaining at the top of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association standings.

Bowling Green sophomore Austen Swankler continued his nation-best scoring streak, extending to 18 games.

The Falcons came into this game determined to rebound from the heartbreaking 4-2 loss the night prior. As the puck dropped, both teams were quick to create a physical game.

Six minutes into the first, St. Thomas got a power play as BG senior Adam Pitters sat in the box for cross-checking. After the kill, the Falcons got on the board first as forward Nathan Burke quickly shot the puck in off of a rebound.

Five minutes later, Burke lit the lamp again with a blast past UST netminder Aaron Trotter, putting the Falcons up 2-0 entering the second period.

The first half of the second was riddled with penalties, and both teams were getting chippier by the minute. At the 13-minute mark, Tommies freshman Jake Braccini got them on the board to cut BGSU’s lead in half 2-1.

Seconds later, St. Thomas got the equalizer as forward Mack Byers took advantage of a lone puck in the slot. The Falcons saw some great chances in the final minutes, but the buzzer sounded to end the second with the game still tied at two goals apiece.

After a slew of penalties in the third, the Tommies took a 3-2 lead after BG netminder Christian Stoever left the net too open for an easy goal.

With under two minutes to go, Stoever went to the bench for an extra skater in an attempt to get a last minute goal. Luck would be on the Falcons’ side as Swankler buried the puck past Trotter to tie up the game 3-3.

As regulation time came to a close, Bowling Green went into overtime fighting hard for the extra conference point. Although penalties were exchanged in the extra frame, neither team could get past either award-winning goaltender.

The Falcons went into a shootout for the first time this season, hoping to earn the point to prevent the sweep.

Stoever’s save against UST forward Josh Eernisse sealed the deal for a Bowling Green win, skating by with a split road series against the Tommies as the Falcons won the shootout, 2-1 as Stoever stopped two of three shots. Stoever spent 64:47 in net and made 26 saves.

The Falcons will take a break from CCHA action as they drop the puck against the United States National Development Team on Jan. 27. The exhibition game will take place at the Slater Family Ice Arena with puck drop at 7:07 p.m.