On “Star Wars Night”, The Force seemed to be with Ferris State.
The Bowling Green State University hockey team (14-14-1, 11-9-1 CCHA) fell, 2-1, to the Ferris State Bulldogs (11-13-3, 8-9-2 CCHA) at the Slater Family Ice Arena on Friday.
The Falcons were 1-for-7 on the power play, in part due to the goaltending of Ferris State’s Noah Giesbrecht.
“We were loose from the beginning. He’s a good goalie,” BGSU coach Ty Eigner said. “At first he played really well.
“We had a couple good looks,” Eigner continued. “Nathan Burke had a really good look at the start of the second period, Ryan O’Hara had a really good look, and Ethan Scardina had a really good look.
“We had some looks, but we weren’t sharp. We spent a bunch of time chasing back into our own end getting the puck. Seven opportunities is a lot because they don’t take a lot of penalties.”
The conference loss holds the Falcons at 37 points, placing them third in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association standings.
Fans filled the Slater seats for “Star Wars Night”, eager to see BGSU win a crucial CCHA matchup. As the puck dropped, the Falcons immediately started throwing shots toward FSU netminder Noah Giesbrecht.
Eight minutes into the first, Scardina took a hit against the boards and Bowling Green was on the man advantage. However, the Bulldogs killed off the penalty and capitalized immediately after to make it 1-0 FSU.
“We gave up a two-on-one 30 seconds into the game and that’s not the kind of thing you want to do,” Eigner said. “If you are locked in and ready to go, that’s not what you do and that is really unfortunate.”
Although the Falcons led in shots for the rest of the frame, they could not get the equalizer.
“The first period, it seemed like every time we had a timeout we were talking about how to get to our game and play our way and Ferris State did a good job of not letting us do that,” Eigner said.
At the start of the second, Bowling Green got their second power play of the night. A puck crept onto the goal line for the Falcons, but officials waved it off to keep them off the scoreboard.
Mirroring the first period, Ferris State had another successful penalty kill and scored yet another goal. Eigner challenged the goal for too many men, but the Bulldogs kept their two-goal lead.
Halfway through the second, another power play came and went for the Falcons as they could not convert.
In the dying minutes of the period, freshman Brett Pfoh sat in the box for Bowling Green’s first infraction of the night. Seconds later, FSU sophomore Kaleb Ergang also sat for holding, preventing the Bulldogs from being on the man advantage.
Coming into the third, it was apparent that the Falcons power play unit was not able to do much for scoring. At the halfway mark, Bowling Green was plagued by penalties and not enough offensive zone time to score against the Bulldogs.
Things were looking dark for the Falcons, until a 5-on-3 opportunity came with eight minutes left to go. Falcon senior Chase Gresock quickly buried the puck in, cutting the opposition’s lead 2-1.
“We were fortunate to score there late, good shot by Chase,” Eigner said.
Despite the power play goal, Bowling Green couldn’t muster up enough gas to tie up the match and Ferris State came out victorious with a score of 2-1.
In terms of why Ferris Slate beat Bowling Green, Eigner had a simple explanation.
“Ferris State played really well. Give them a bunch of credit tonight, they deserved exactly what they got,” Eignear said.
“They played to their identity more than we played to ours, so it’s really frustrating. They’ve had some really good wins this year and we tried to the best of our ability to explain to our guys that this is not going to be easy.”
Eigner said Ferris State took the Falcons out of their game.
“We were doing some things that played into their hands. We tried to carry some pucks to them, instead of taking what was available. As soon as we would throw a puck at the net they would get going the other way.
“We played with a little desperation at the end, but to me that’s easy to play with desperation when you’ve got the goalie pulled and you’re trying.”
BGSU goaltender Christian Stoever made 30 saves, marking his 12th game of the year with 30 or more saves.
“We put Christian in a tough spot tonight,” Eigner said. “He did a good job. It didn’t look like the team that we’ve seen here at home lately that’s played so well so we are going to have to find a way to get back to that.”
Gresock netted his second power play goal of the year, giving him a total of eight goals and 23 points this season. The senior has 43 goals and 53 assists for 96 points in his career, including nine power play goals. This year, he has six points on the power play.
The Falcons are looking for redemption as they face the Bulldogs again on Saturday. Puck drop for “Teddy Bear Toss Night” at the Slate will be at 7:07 p.m.