The Bowling Green State University hockey team lost, 4-2, to the Northern Michigan Wildcats at the Slater Family Ice Arena on Friday.

Despite the loss, Bowling Green secured a third-place finish in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association with Bemidji State’s loss to St. Thomas.

Prior to the game, all ten senior Falcons received loud ovations from the rowdy Slater crowd. The hockey program recognized seniors Alex Barber, Nathan Burke, Max Coyle, Evan Dougherty, Chase Gresock, Hunter Lellig, Adam Pitters, Zack Rose, Taylor Schneider, and Zach Vinnell.

The puck dropped with the fans roaring even louder for the first game of the final regular season series. At the 13:42 mark, Falcon forward Brett Pfoh shot from a close range to get the Falcons on the board.

Six minutes later, a Bowling Green penalty turned out to be costly as Wildcats captain A.J. Vanderbeck converted on the man advantage.

Four minutes left in the frame, the Falcons got their own power play. However, they could not convert.

One minute later, BGSU”s Hobey Baker nominee Austen Swankler blasted one past opposing netminder Beni Halasz. The period ended with 2-1 BGSU lead on the scoreboard.

The start of the second leaned toward NMU’s net, as the Falcons got quality shots on Northern Michigan netminder Beni Halasz. However, with nine minutes to go, the Wildcats tied up the game 2-2.

Then, BG defenseman Ben Wozney received a minor after offsetting penalties and the Falcons played some 4-on-3 with the Falcons playing on the short end.

Bowling Green overcame the obstacle, immediately getting offensive chances as players left the box. After a physical battle on the ice, the board stood at 2-2.

For the first half of the third, the Falcons looked sluggish. Rushes seemed nonexistent and pucks could not connect to sticks.

Unfortunately for the Falcons, at 11:50, Tanner Vescio let the puck trickle in past BG goaltender Christian Stoever for Northern Michigan’s first lead of the game.

Eight minutes left to go, the Falcons got a break from the hoard of shots they faced with another power play. Although they fought hard for another goal, it did not come.

A late empty netter sealed the win for the Wildcats. Bowling Green could not find an opening on the Wildcats’ net, leading to a tough 4-2 loss.

“There were moments we were doing some good things. There were moments we were having to defend because they were doing some good things,” BGSU coach Ty Eigner said.

“There was a little bit of chess, back-and-forth, trying to figure out who was going to do what. Against a good team like Northern Michigan, the more you turn pucks over, the tougher it’s going to be.”

Many fans booed the officials at the end of the game, blaming them for the loss. However, Eigner does not blame referees for the close loss.

“It’s unfortunate to see stuff like that happen that could potentially hurt the game,” Eigner said. “You never know what it turns into.”

Swankler scored his team-best 18th goal of the season, marking his team-best 41st point. He leads the league and ranks seventh nationally in points. In his career, the sophomore has 26 goals and 67 points in 68 games.

Chase Gresock extended his scoring streak to six games with an assist, his 19th of the season. The senior has 29 points this season and 102 in his career, with 57 of those being assists.

Ryan O’Hara extended his scoring streak as well, notching his 18th assist of the season. Like Gresock, he has 29 points on the year, tying for second on the team and sixth in the CCHA. O’Hara has 22 assists and 37 points in his career.

Also extending his scoring streak was Vinnell, who tallied his 16th assist. This gives him 17 points, a total that leads all Falcon defensemen. It was his 50th career point

The Falcons are back in action against the Northern Michigan Wildcats on Saturday for the last game of the regular season. Puck drop for “Scott Hamilton Night” will be at 7:07 p.m.