By Ben Shanahan
Special to the Sentinel-Tribune
SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. — Bowling Green State University hockey got its first Central Collegiate Hockey Association win Friday, downing Lake Superior State, 5-3, at Taffy Abel Arena.
The Falcons had 12 different players who tallied a point, with four of them being goal scorers. A competitive night up north, the Falcons and Lakers totaled seven penalties in just the first period and ended the first and second period tied.
Both teams battled into the final frame tied at three goals apiece, but BGSU would score two in the final 20 minutes to get the Falcons over the hump.
“We are really happy to get our first CCHA win tonight. We had a lot of good performances,” said BGSU coach Ty Eigner.
For the Lakers, who drop to 2-3 in the CCHA. Lake Superior State coach Damon Whitten was not pleased with the results.
“It is tough,” Whitten said. “We are frustrated trying to find guys who put the team first and play the right way. We certainly did not have enough of that tonight.
“The one positive was the penalty kill, and unfortunately, we had to go to it four times in the first ten minutes, including a bad too many men on the ice. We looked young tonight in some areas.
“We have to find a way to play a much more desperate team and find a lineup that will play the right way,” added Whitten.
The first period was filled with penalties with both teams racking up 14 penalty minutes. The Falcons went first on the man advantage 47 seconds into the game as the Lakers were called for too many men on the ice.
That was killed off, but the Falcons were back on the man advantage two minutes and 47 seconds later as LSSU freshman Branden Piku was called for interference.
The Lakers had only one second on the power play with 12:57 left in the second when BGSU freshman Brandon Santa Juana served an interference penalty.
One second later, the two teams were playing 4-on-4 hockey as Lake Superior State junior Nate Schweitzer was called for a trip.
The Falcons then went on a 4-on-3 man advantage 39 seconds after that as LSSU senior Jared Westcott was called for a cross-check with 12:18 left. While there were plenty of stoppages, all of those penalties were killed off.
The Falcons went back to the penalty kill as Brett Pfoh was called for a trip but the Falcons killed it off with 8:03 left in the opening frame.
The Falcons finally got on the board, ironically, while both teams were at even strength. Junior Ryan O’Hara snipped a pass from Josh Noddler in the slot with 7:18 remaining.
The final penalty was whistled against BGSU sophomore defenseman Jack Blake, who was called for a trip but the Falcons killed that off.
In the late seconds of the first period, alternate LSSU captain Dawson Tritt tied things up, beating BGSU freshman goalie Cole Moore glove side with 34 seconds left.
In a complete turnaround, there were no penalties in the second period, but a scoring frenzy broke out as each team put up a pair of goals.
With 14:19 left in the middle frame, BGSU freshman defenseman Gustav Stjernberg gave the Falcons the 2-1 lead with a slap shot from the right dot. It was Stjerberg’s third goal and fourth point of the season, tying sophomore Dalton Norris for the most points by a BG defenseman this season.
Two minutes and 15 seconds later, BGSU took a 3-1 lead on a slap shot from the blueline by senior Josh Noddler with 12:04 left in the second.
The Lakers cut into the Falcons’ lead as senior Jared Westcott, who has been on fire scoring for the Lakers, scored his 10th goal in his 11th game with a snipe with 10:51 left in the second.
LSSU tied the game with 2:56 left in the middle 20 on a goal by junior Timo Bakos.
In the third period, both teams headed to the box to play 4-on-4 hockey again. LSSU senior captain Artyom Borshyov was sent off for roughing and BGSU junior Jaden Grant was called for a hold with 13:03 left in the game.
BGSU sophomore Brett Pfoh took advantage, scoring his first goal of the season and the eventual game winner as he found himself on a breakaway with 6:21, making it 4-3.
O’Hara scored his second goal of the game and team-leading seventh of the season, firing at an empty net from the opposite end of the ice, sealing the game 5-3 with 1:55 showing on the clock.