SOUTH BEND -- The Bowling Green State University ice hockey team lost to Notre Dame Saturday night, falling to the Fighting Irish by a score of 4-3. The loss gave Notre Dame the series victory, ending the 2012-13 season for the Falcons. Freshman Ben Murphy scored one goal for Bowling Green, while junior Bryce Williamson netted two goals in the loss. Senior Andrew Hammond stopped 30-of-34 shots in his final game as a Falcon.
Notre Dame scored the first goal of the contest, coming at 6:44 of the opening frame on the power play. After circling the puck through the Falcon zone, Irish forward Bryan Rust took possession of the puck at the near side of the Bowling Green net. Rust sent a pass into the slot, deflecting the puck off a Falcon stick towards the net. The deflection surprised Hammond, beating him five hole for a 1-0 Notre Dame lead.
The Fighting Irish scored their second-straight goal roughly six minutes later, coming off the stick of Nick Larson at even strength. Larson received a pass from deep in the Notre Dame zone at the Falcon blue line, giving him a partial breakaway on the Bowling Green cage. Hammond made the initial stop, but Larson followed his shot and jammed home the rebound for his fourth goal of the season.
The Falcons answered back with a power play goal of their own, coming at the 6:33 mark of the second to cut the ND lead to one. Freshman Ralfs Freibergs took possession of the puck on the near circle, eventually sending a pass to Williamson at the top of the far faceoff dot. Williamson fired a wrist shot on net, beating Notre Dame net-minder Steven Summerhays for his 11th goal of the season.
Bowling Green continued the rally with just 1:18 left in the middle stanza, scoring another power play goal to even the contest at 2-2. Freibergs once again started the play, sending a shot towards a mass of bodies in front of the Notre Dame crease. Freibergs' shot hit Murphy's stick in the slot, deflecting past Summerhays for Murphy's sixth goal of the season.
At 8:28 of the third frame, Notre Dame applied heavy pressure in the Bowling Green zone, resulting in a near scoring chance at the side of the net. During the scrum on the side of the cage a Falcon defender closed his hand on the puck in the crease, giving Notre Dame a penalty shot. Rust was chosen to take the shot, moving in and sending a backhander over the blocker of Hammond to regain the lead for the Irish. Notre Dame netted a fourth goal at the 12:05 mark of the period on the power play, coming off the stick on Anders Lee on a deflection for a 4-2 Irish lead.
Just 13 seconds later junior Brett Mohler took possession of the puck deep in the Notre Dame zone, taking advantage of an Irish turnover. Mohler fed a pass to Williamson in the high slot, giving him plenty of time to fire home his second goal of the contest, cutting the Notre Dame lead to 4-3. Despite several more quality chances, the Falcons were unable to score again, giving Notre Dame the 4-3 win and the series sweep.
Saturday's loss marked the end of the season, and the final game for Falcon seniors Marc Rodriguez, Andrew Hammond, Bobby Shea and Ryan Peltoma. Hammond's career ranks among the best in a number of goaltending categories in Bowling Green history, including a 2.84 goals against average that ranks second all-time, trailing only Brian Stankiewicz's 2.49 GAA set in just 34 career games. Hammond's goals against average is the most of any BG goaltender to play in over 100 career games. He also currently sits at 3,030 saves in his career, joining Gary Kruzich (3,580), Tyler Master (3,286) and Jordan Sigalet (3,147) in the 3K-Save Club.
The loss drops Bowling Green's final overall record to 15-21-5, with a record of 10-15-3-1 in the conference play. Saturday's contest was the final game for Bowling Green as a member of the Central Collegiate Hockey Associate, a conference Bowling Green has called home for over 40 years. Next season will mark the Falcons' first season as member of Western Collegiate Hockey Association , joining the University of Alaska Anchorage, the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Bemidji State University, Ferris State University, Lake Superior State University, Michigan Technological University, Minnesota State University, Mankato, Alabama-Huntsville and Northern Michigan University.