Todd Pavlack /
Bowling Green BGSU 11-3-2, 8-1-1 WCHA
Northern Michigan NMU 8-4-2, 5-4-1 WCHA
Score By Periods
Team 1 2 3 F
Bowling Green BGSU 1 2 2 5
Northern Michigan NMU 0 0 0 0

Game Recap: Ice Hockey | | by Jake Dorow, Athletic Communications

14th-Ranked Falcons Defeats No. 19 NMU, 5-0, In A Top-20 Clash

Chris Nell earned his second collegiate shutout, moving to 5-0-0 on the season. The Falcons now sit at 8-1-1 in the WCHA with 17 points.

Marquette, Mich. –  The Bowling Green State University ice hockey team defeated Northern Michigan University Saturday (Dec. 6) night, shutting out the Wildcats by a 5-0 score in their second game of the two-game Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) series. Ben Murphy and Pierre-Luc Mericer each tallied two goals for the Falcons, while freshman goaltender Chris Nell (5-0-0) turned away all 26 shots fired his way.

In a clash between two top-20 teams, the 14th-ranked Falcons (11-3-2, 8-1-1) earned two points with the victory –taking three of the possible four points over the weekend. 19th-ranked Wildcats (8-4-2, 5-4-1) stayed at 11 points and currently stand in fourth place in league standings.

"I think it's huge," head coach Chris Bergeron said of Bowling Green's three-point weekend. "We came up to a very difficult place to play and I thought we did a nice job. I'm happy with the weekend."

Bowling Green tallied the game's first goal with 2:45 remaining in the first period, coming off the stick of Murphy on the power play. The play started with Mark Cooper taking a Wildcat turnover in the neutral zone and skated towards the left circle. The Toronto, Ontario native dumped the puck backwards to defenseman Dajon Mingo who then fired a quick pass across the slot to Murphy. The junior winger beat NMU's Mathias Dahlstrom glove side and found the back of the twine, giving the Orange and Brown a 1-0 lead.

You can listen to the goal call (Evan Pivnick) by CLICKING HERE!

The score remained true for the rest of the period, as Nell turned away all 10 Northern Michigan shots. The Falcons held the 'Cats to 0-for-2 on the power play in the period, including a five-minute major early in the period to help keep NMU scoreless in the period.

The Orange and Brown doubled their lead with an even-strength tally at the 14:16 mark in the middle frame, coming off the stick of Mercier. The sophomore centerman from Quebec City took a pass from linemate Kevin Dufour near the goal line and flipped the puck towards Dahlstrom's right shoulder. The puck trickled back Dahlstrom and across the goal line, giving Bowling Green a 2-0 lead.

"His first goal was kind a lucky bounce for us, but we'll take it," Bergeron said. "Second goal he did a nice job finishing a check and getting on a loose puck. He made a really quick shot on goal. He's a guy we'd really like to have going and to see him get three points is good."

You can listen to the goal call (Evan Pivnick) by CLICKING HERE!

The Falcons, who entered the game averaging 3.20 goals per game, extended their lead with a goal at even strength, coming off the stick of Mercier with 2:28 remaining in the second period. Mercier, who entered the game with one goal and eight assists, took a turnover in the neutral zone and quickly send a wrister just inside the right post, scoring his second goal of the game.

You can listen to the goal call (Evan Pivnick) by CLICKING HERE!

For the second consecutive period, Northern Michigan placed 10 shots on goal but could not solve the freshman goaltender. Nell turned away all 10 shots in the period, including killing off the NMU's only power play of the period. The netminder from Green Bay, Wisconsin made several diving saves in the period to help keep the Wildcats off the board.

The Falcons continued their offensive surge early in the third period. Already leading 3-0, the Orange and Brown tallied their first power play goal of the game –marking the third straight game in which the scored with the man advantage – at the 2:11 mark. Senior Mike Sullivan swung a pass to Mercier at the point and fired a shot towards Dahlstrom. The puck bounced off of Dahlstrom's pad right in front of Berkle, who quickly sent the puck to the back of the net, giving BGSU a commanding 4-0 lead.  

You can listen to the goal call (Evan Pivnick) by CLICKING HERE!

The Orange and Brown added one more goal at the 16:57 mark, coming off the stick of Murphy for the Falcons' second power play goal of the game. The goal marked Murphy's second of the game, and secured the win for Bowling Green.

You can listen to the goal call (Evan Pivnick) by CLICKING HERE!

With the Falcons' offense clicking on all cylinders, Nell remained in control between the pipes. Northern Michigan fired six more shots towards Nell, but the Wildcats could not solve the netminder. With the shut out, Nell improved to 5-0-0 on the season and earned his second shutout of his collegiate career.

"I liked Chris Nell's play," Bergeron said. "When the game was still tight I thought he made some good saves. There are still some things I think we could've done better defensively, but all-in-all we were tighter.

Bowling Green outshot the Wildcats on the night, 29-26 – including a 12-6 margin in the third period –, and scored on scored on the power play for the third consecutive tilt. The Orange and Brown went 2-for-6 on the power play, while killing off 4-for-4 Wildcat chances. BGSU moved to 7-1-1 when scoring on the power play. The Falcons also improved to 10-2-0 when tallying the first goal of the game.

The Falcons will be back in action on Saturday, Jan. 3 at Fifth Third Field in Toledo, Ohio. The Orange and Brown will take part in the Winterfest Outdoor game; marking the program's first-ever game played outside – and just the second collegiate hockey game to be played outdoors in Ohio (Ohio State vs. Michigan at Progressive Field). Bowling Green will welcome Robert Morris University to Toledo, a team the Falcons defeated in last year's Three Rivers Classic in Pittsburgh at the CONSOL Energy Center.
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