Toledo St. John’s scored on six of their first nine shots, which was more than enough to defeat Bowling Green, 7-2, in a Northwest Hockey Conference Red Division hockey matchup at Bowling Green State University’s Slater Family Ice Arena Sunday.
St. John’s improves to 13-11-2 overall and 5-1-1 in the NHC Red, two points behind division leader Sylvania Northview (15-8-3, 6-1-1). Suffering their fourth straight loss, BG slips to 12-13-4 and 1-6.
The Bobcats had a 9-6 shot advantage in the first period, but the Titans scored three goals in the final three-and-a-half minutes to take a 3-0 lead.
St. John’s senior forward Will Lowery scored on a breakaway, assisted by senior defenseman Max Perino with 3:28 left in the opening period.
Justy VonLehmden, a 6-foot-4, 210-pound senior forward, stole the puck in the Bobcats’ defensive zone and his assist led to a goal by sophomore forward Anthony Leech with 39.2 seconds on the clock.
Senior forward Tyler Meader got the third goal as the Titans quickly got down the ice, assisted by VonLehmden and the Titans’ goalkeeper, Zachary Lojewski, with 4.5 seconds remaining.
There were no penalties by either team the entire period, just defensive mistakes by the Bobcats. BG coach Connor Rogowski has seen it before.
“What we’ve been struggling with the last six or seven games is we’ve had crucial turnovers at key points, and that’s the been the difference in the last seven games,” Rogowski said.
“Honestly, we look at it, we’ve let a couple breakaways where it is just a breakdown and that’s killing us.”
It did not hurt any that St. John’s had the 6-foot-5, 250-pound Lojewski, a senior, in net, where he made 18 saves. St. John’s coach Derrick Stumm said Lojewski did his job until the Titans’ offense kicked in.
“I thought we kind of came out flat, to be honest. In the first 10 minutes they took it to us,” Stumm said. “Lojewski stood tall for us in net, getting key saves for us, which he has done all season.
“The last five minutes of the first period we were able to turn it on and take advantage of some key turnovers on their end and got those three goals to kind of change the tone of the game going into the second period.”
The Bobcats were whistled for seven minutes in penalties early in the second period as St. John’s tacked on a power play goal, a four-on-four goal, and the Titans’ sixth goal came just 56 seconds after the fifth.
Up 6-0, St. John’s scored on their first three second period shots. Junior forward Docien Loisel scored unassisted, Meader scored assisted by Loisel and Perino, and senior defenseman Max McCanna scored on an assist from Loisel with 6:54 remaining in the second.
All six St. John’s goals were scored in just over 10 minutes of hockey. For the final 21 minutes plus of hockey, BG outscored St. John’s, 2-1, and the Titans finished with a narrow 22-20 shot advantage.
“We had a couple bad minutes there,” Rogowski said. “Today, I thought we played a total of probably five to 10 minutes of bad hockey and that was it. In those five to 10 minutes, they capitalized on six mistakes.
“We started the second period with seven minutes of penalties. We are very close. We’re coming together and we see that we’re close and we’re only a couple mistakes away from winning all these games.
“So, we’ll get there. We’re going to keep working. We’ll be where we need to be at the end of the year, but it sucks right now. We should be winning games.”
BG 6-3, 195-pound defenseman Caden Wisniewski got the Bobcats on the board, scoring on a power play assisted by senior defenseman Easton Schick and senior forward Ethan Helvoigt with 5:28 remaining in the second period.
Schick scored BG’s second goal on a power play, sending a 25-foot slapshot past VonLehmden, just four minutes and one second into the final period. He was assisted by sophomore forwards Tanner Amos and Rhett Winger.
Loisel got the Titans’ seventh goal, assisted by Perino, with 5:05 remaining. Loisel and Meader scored two goals apiece, Perino had three assists, and Loisel and VonLehmden had two assists each.
Stumm said he believes Lojewski will be able to play at the next level, either high-grade junior hockey or collegiately someday.
“I know he wants to go on and play juniors after high school, so we’re looking for opportunities, send film out to some junior A teams and help him get the word out. I think he has the skill and the size and can absolutely play at the next level,” Stumm said.