Bowling Green, Ohio - Two goals in eight seconds sparked BGSU's biggest offensive explosion in more than ten years, as the No. 18 Bowling Green Falcons defeated Alaska Anchorage 6-2 Thursday night at the BGSU Ice Arena.
"The process was pretty good," BGSU head coach Chris Bergeron
said. "It was huge for us to get the result. This reaffirms to our guys that we are capable of scoring if we do things properly."
Those two goals occurred eight minutes into the second period, and the flurry matched the third-fastest time for a pair of goals in school history. When that 20 minutes ended, the Falcons had sent the puck home five times. It marked the highest-scoring period since Bowling Green had a six-goal first en route to an 8-4 win over Northern Michigan on Nov. 19, 2005.
BGSU's total of six goals matches a season-high set previously against Ohio State and Clarkson. As they did against OSU, the Falcons attack featured six different scorers, and each of the goals were even-strength. Brandon Hawkins
led Bowling Green's offense with three points, including his sixth goal of the season. It is his first three-point game of the season and ties his career high. Hawkins has been on fire lately, as he has posted three goals and seven points in his last six games. He now has six goals and 14 points this season.
Freshmen Shane Bednard
and Joe McKeown
added to the frenzy with a pair of points each. McKeown, in just his third game of the season, earned his first career goal and assist. Bednard added to his tally with his fifth and sixth assists, and those were his first points since Nov. 27.
Bednard and McKeown were not the only freshmen to join the scoring party. Stephen Baylis
posted his second goal and fifth point of the season. Meanwhile, Sean Walker
also made his second goal of the season; his other came in BGSU's six-goal effort against Clarkson. Mark Friedman
added his fourth goal, while Mark Cooper
extended his team lead with his tenth.
Three other Falcons scored points with assists. Adam Smith
earned his first career point with an assist on Walker's first period goal, while Brett D'Andrea
added his first assist since Dec. 11 on Friedman's goal. Tyler Spezia
assisted when Cooper scored, and he now has four points in his last six games.
In the first period, Bowling Green had a pair of opportunities early but could not convert. Spezia was denied by Olivier Mantha with a foot save, then later Jordan Ernst
was kept off the books when Mantha blocked a shot with his chest.
Finally, BGSU got the chance they needed to break the scoreless tie with a 4-on-4 in the final three minutes. The Falcons were called for too many men on the ice, but 15 seconds later, the Seawolves' Matt Anholt was sent off for boarding.
Just 1:03 into the 4-on-4, Walker took a pass from Adam Smith
just outside the right circle and ripped a shot past Mantha into the top right corner of the net. The score gave BGSU a 1-0 lead with 1:48 left in the first period, and the Falcons carried the lead into the first intermission. (CLICK HERE
for goal call)
Early in the second, Bowling Green peppered Mantha with four successive shots but could not break through for their second goal. Mantha stopped a Connor McDonald
chance with a pad save, then made an acrobatic stop of a D'Andrea attempt.
UAA evened the score with 5:24 elapsed in the second period when Alex Jackstadt sent the puck past Chris Nell
at point-blank range in front of the net, with assists from Chase Van Allen and Chris Williams. However, the deadlock was short-lived.
At the 7:51 mark of the second, Baylis reclaimed the lead for BGSU with a shot from the back of the left circle for an unassisted tally. (CLICK HERE
for the goal call) Just eight seconds later, the Falcons' lead grew to 3-1. Bednard won the face-off at center ice and passed to McKeown, who lobbed a shot past Mantha. McKeown's effort also came from the back of the left circle. (CLICK HERE
for the goal call)
Bowling Green had only scored two goals within one minute on two other occasions this season. The Falcons then made it three goals in three minutes when McKeown and Bednard fed Hawkins for a 4-1 lead at the 10:38 mark of the second. (CLICK HERE
for the goal call)
That goal chased Seawolves' goalie Mantha as Jordan D'Amico replaced Mantha, but he fared little better. Cooper lit the lamp with 2:26 remaining in the period (CLICK HERE
for the goal call), and Friedman closed BGSU's scoring 90 seconds later. (CLICK HERE
for the goal call)
Alaska Anchorage added a second goal during the third period to provide the final 6-2 margin. Chris Nell
continued his excellent work in goal for Bowling Green with 28 saves in 30 chances. The defensive effort by BGSU extended the Falcons' school record to 20 straight games with three or fewer goals allowed.
The crowd of 3,511 was the largest home attendance of the season and was a lift for a Falcon team looking to end a two-game losing streak.
"Our guys were excited," Bergeron said. "It was a great crowd. Thank you to everyone for coming. Our guys had energy tonight and wanted to play well in front of the home crowd and they did."
Bowling Green is now 14-7-5 overall and 10-3-4 in WCHA play. The league record includes a 5-0-4 mark in home games. Alaska-Anchorage drops to 9-11-3 (6-9-2 WCHA).
With 24 points, the Falcons are now in sole possession of second place in the WCHA, as Michigan Tech is off this weekend. They are also just one point behind Minnesota State, who hosts Lake Superior State this weekend. The Falcons currently have played one fewer conference game than Minnesota State.
The Falcons and Seawolves will conclude their two game series at the BGSU Ice Arena Friday at 7:07 pm.