BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – The Bowling Green State University ice hockey team capped off their final regular season home game with a 5-3 win over Northern Michigan on Saturday night. Andrew Wallace, Ben Murphy, Ryan Carpenter, Bobby Shea and Brett Mohler all scored for the Falcons, while freshman goaltender Tommy Burke (5-6-2) stopped 17-of-20 shots on the night.
Northern Michigan's Erik Higby, CJ Ludwig and Brian Nugent all scored one goal each for the Wildcats, and goaltender Jared Coreau saved 25 of the Falcons' 30 shots on the night.
Northern Michigan scored the first goal of the contest, coming just under four minutes into the opening frame on the power play. Wildcat Mitch Jones fired a shot wide of the Bowling Green net, but found the outstretched stick Higby. The puck deflected off of Higby's blade, beating Burke for a 1-0 NMU lead.
Bowling Green answered back with two-straight goals to close out the first period, the first coming at the 17:13 mark of the frame. Sophomore Connor Kucera fired the puck towards a mass of bodies in front of the Northern Michigan goal, finding Wallace's stick in the slot. Wallace's re-direction flew past Coreau, evening the contest at 1-1.
The Falcons' second goal of the frame came just 1:20 later on the power play, giving Bowling Green the 2-1 lead. Freshman Ralfs Freibergs sent the puck down into the Wildcat zone, finding Wallace at the bottom of the goal line. Wallace sent a pass to Murphy at the near circle, giving him room to fire a wrist shot through a screen and past Coreau for his fourth goal of the season.
Just over 11 minutes into the second period Bowling Green added a third-straight goal to pull ahead 3-1. Sophomore Adam Berkle started the play, stealing possession of the puck in the Northern Michigan zone. Berkle dropped a pass back towards the slot, finding Carpenter for a one-timer that beat Coreau for his team-leading 15th goal of the season.
Northern Michigan started a comeback with 1:17 remaining in the second period, scoring the first of two-straight goals to pull even at 3-3. Ludwig was credited with the Wildcat goal in the closing minutes of the middle frame, beating Burke on a bad bounce off the end boards that trickled down the goaltender's back. Northern Michigan's third goal came off the stick of Nugent on a one-timer at the top of the Falcon crease, tying the contest with 7:19 remaining in the game.
With momentum against them, Bowling Green took a penalty at the 14:26 mark of the final period to give Northern Michigan the man advantage. Despite being down a skater the Falcons manufactured offensive pressure, keeping the puck in the Wildcat zone. Northern Michigan attempted a clear out of their end, but found Shea waiting at the blue line to intercept. Shea fired a shot off the glass behind the NMU net, causing the puck to ricochet back towards the goal mouth. The puck banked off the back of Coreau's pad, eventually trickling past the goal line to give Bowling Green the late 4-3 lead.
The Falcons continued to pressure the Wildcats, adding an empty-net insurance goal from Mohler with one second left to clinch the Bowling Green victory.
The win pushes the Falcons' overall record to 13-16-5, including a record of 10-13-3-1 in the CCHA to pull back to seventh place in the conference standings. Northern Michigan now sits at 14-16-4 overall, with a record of 8-14-4 in the conference, ranking 10th.
Bowling Green hits the road on Friday, March 1, facing off against Notre Dame for the final series of the regular season. Friday night's game is scheduled to start at 7:35.