Falcons down St. Thomas, 3-1, take 5-of-6 points


By Ben Shanahan

Special to the Sentinel-Tribune

MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn. —Bowling Green State University hockey will return to Northwest Ohio after a successful road trip, defeating the University of St.Thomas, 3-1, at St. Thomas Ice Arena on Saturday.

With tonight’s win, the Falcons move into a three-way tie in the CCHA for second place with St.Thomas and Minnesota State, who are all two points behind the Bemidiji State Beavers, with all four schools having four regular season games left.

“It is exciting. It was not easy by any stretch,” BGSU coach Ty Eigner said. “St.Thomas has done a really good job in a short time.

”I am not just saying that it is a hard place to play, and for us to get five out of six points is great, but all the guys right now excited in the locker room deserve all the credit.”

BGSU improves to 13-17-1 overall and 11-8-1 in the CCHA, while St. Thomas falls to 13-15-2 and 11-8-1.

For St. Thomas, 5-6 in their last 11 games is not good, but Tommies coach Rico Blasi says the injury bug has been a thorn in the side down the stretch.

“We have to figure out who is going to be in our lineup. We have to figure that out first,” said Blasi.

The start of the game could not have gone better for the Falcons, as 53 seconds after the opening faceoff, BGSU sophomore defenseman Brett Pfoh fired a blast from the point that was deflected by a Tommie defenseman and past UST junior goalie Jake Sibell into the net.

The Tommies had a chance to tie when sophomore Dalton Norris was called for a hold behind his own net, sending St. Thomas on the power play with 16:53 remaining in the first.

The Falcons killed the penalty, and BGSU freshman goaltender Cole Moore saved all nine Tommys shots in the opening period to keep the game 1-0 going into the first intermission.

In the second period, BG got a goal over halfway through the first when Seth Fyten fired a puck past Sibell from the left faceoff dot, making it 2-0 with 9:11 remaining in the middle frame.

BG got only its second powerplay of the series when St. Thomas captain Luc Laylin was called for a hook with 46 seconds remaining in the second period. UST killed at least the rest of the period off, and Moore stopped all 11 second-period shots, keeping it 2-0 with twenty minutes left in play.

The Tommies started the third period by killing off the penalty and getting a power play as Fyten was called for a trip. He did not sit for long as 17 seconds into the Tommies’ second powerplay junior Matthew Gleason cut the Falcons lead in half and ended Moore’s potential shutout with 17:36 left in regulation.

About two minutes later, a scrum broke out in front of the Tommies’ net, which resulted in BGSU sophomores Pfoh and Jaden Grant, as well as the Tommies’ Luc Laylin, being sent to the box for roughing, putting St.Thomas on the powerplay.

Fortunately for the Falcons, the penalty kill unit completed their mission, keeping the game 2-1 with 13:29 left in regulation.

St.Thomas pulled their goalie with 1:56 remaining in the game and get a six-on-five advantage. Thirty seconds later, after the whistle was blown, Fyten was called for a cross-check, making it six-on-four.

On St. Thomas’ two-man advantage with 25 seconds remaining, BGSU freshman Ben Doran was tripped on a breakaway by Laylin, resulting in an empty net goal. Doran stepped up his game during the weekend series in Minnesota.

“Ben was healthy at the beginning of the year,” Eigner said. “It was hard. I was not around for a bit (suspension), but it is hard to evaluate any freshman because they do not know what they do not know, and then he got hurt, and now he is where he wants to be about a month in.

“He is a hockey player. He can do a bunch of different things. He is gritty and has a little bit of rat in him in a positive way and he makes plays. (We) are really happy for him about where Ben’s game is at right now.”

Moore finished with 30 saves and Sidell had 22 as the Tommies’ enjoyed a 31-25 shot advantage. Defensively, Gustav Stjernberg blocked four shots and Dalton Norris blocked three. The Tommies also won 50-of-74 faceoffs.

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