LEWISTON, N.Y. - The Bowling Green State University hockey team opened the 2012-13 season Saturday night, skating to a 2-2 tie with Niagara on the road. Junior Cam Wojtala and senior Bobby Shea scored the Falcon goals, while senior goaltender Andrew Hammond stopped 28-of-30 shots faced.
The game started with a scoreless frame, with each team failing to light the lamp in the first period. The Falcons and Purple Eagles each recorded 10 shots in the frame, both failing to score on a power-play chance.
The scoring drought was finally broken in the second period, with the Purple Eagles drawing first blood just over 15 minutes into the middle frame.
Niagara worked the puck around the Falcon blue line, before junior Kevin Ryan sent a shot towards the Bowling Green crease. Hammond made the initial save, but couldn't hold on to the puck. Niagara freshman Rocky Gruttadauria was waiting in front of the Falcon crease, and buried the shot for the first goal of the 2012-13 season.
The Falcons, showing the same resiliency that carried them to Joe Louis Arena last season, answered right back in the second, thanks to a power-play tally from Wojtala.
With just over two minutes left in the middle frame, sophomore Adam Berkle collected a pass and made his way into the offensive slot. Berkle sent the puck on net, and handcuffed the Niagara netminder. Wojtala took advantage at the side of the cage, and shot the rebound in for his first goal of the year.
Both teams had plenty of chances in the final frame, but Bowling struck again first, scoring an even-strength tally late in the third period on a shot from Shea.
Sophomores Dan DeSalvo and Ryan Carpenter battled below the Niagara goal line, before finding some space at the side of the net. Desalvo sent a pass to Shea in the slot, giving him the perfect opportunity for a one-timer. Shea's shot found the back of the net for his first goal of the season, giving the Falcons a 2-1 lead late in the game.
With just under one minute left in the contest, the Purple Eagles answered back, taking advantage of a failed Bowling Green clear.
Niagara defenseman Kevin Albers stopped the puck near the top of the Falcon zone, and sent a pass down to Chris Lochner near the side of the net. Lochner waited, and slid a shot past Hammond for his first goal of the year, tying the game 2-2.
Neither team was able to light the lamp in overtime, giving Bowling Green the 2-2 tie to open the season.
Sophomore Dajon Mingo recorded an assist on the first Falcon goal, marking his first point for the Orange and Brown.
The tie puts Bowling Green's record at 0-0-1 overall. The Falcons are back in action Sunday night, facing off against the Ontario Institution of Technology in an exhibition game, the first home game of the season.