The Bowling Green State University ice hockey team started the new year by defeating the University of Alabama in Huntsville on Friday night (Jan. 3), by a score of 7-0, tying a season-high in goals for the 2013-14 season in a Western Collegiate Hockey Association showdown. Playing in front of 1,560 fans at the Von Braun Center, the Falcons saw six different skaters score goals, while sophomore Tommy Burke (7-2-4) turned away all 22 shots faced earning his second career shutout.
The Orange and Brown received goals from Adam Berkle, Ralfs Freibergs, Mark Cooper, Dan DeSalvo, Ben Murphy (2) and Matt Pohlkamp on the night. Bowling Green went 1-for-4 on the power play, while going a perfect 2-for-2 on the penalty kill throughout the night. The Falcons saw 11 skaters record at least one point, and 15 players had a positive on-ice rating in the winning effort.
Senior forward Bryce Williamson recorded two assists on the night, giving him a new career-high for points in a single season (20), beating his previous-best of 19 set in the 2012-13 season.
Bowling Green scored the first goal of Friday night's game at the 11:34 mark in the opening period, coming off the stick of Murphy at even-strength. The Falcons worked the puck into the Charger's zone, eventually finding senior forward Bryce Williamson at the point. The right-hander from Seba Beach, Alberta, fired a shot towards UAH's netminder Matt Larose. Larose made the initial pad save, but the puck trickled away, finding a waiting Murphy near the right side of the crease to put back his ninth goal of the season for a 1-0 BGSU lead.
The Falcons' 1-0 lead stood for the remainder of the first period, as the Orange and Brown dominated the Chargers in shots, holding a 19-6 advantage heading into the middle frame. Burke, who entered the game with a 2-2-3 record away from the BGSU Ice Arena, helped kill the only UAH power-play opportunity in the first period.
Bowling Green , who entered the game with a +6 goal differential in the second period, proved to be their strongest period once again. The Falcons scored three goals over the middle frame, and outshot the Chargers 18-8 in the game-changing period.
The Orange and Brown started the second period off by netting a power-play goal at the 5:53 mark, handing the Falcons a 2-0 lead over the Chargers. After working the puck around the boards, the puck ended up on the stick of Freibergs at the left point. Freibergs, who had an assist on Bowling Green's first goal of the game, fired a slap shot through a screen and into the back of the net, beating UAH netminder Larose for his first goal of the season.
Freibergs, who entered the game leading the WCHA with 13 assists, now has 1-14=15 on the season, leading all Falcon defensemen in scoring.
The Orange and Brown continued to put pressure on UAH offensively in the period, lighting the lamp again at the 12:56 mark, netting an even-strength marker to hand BGSU a 3-0 lead. A shot fired by junior defenseman Marcus Perrier was saved by Larose, but Pohlkamp was waiting near the crease and sent the rebound to the back of the net for his fifth goal of the season.
In a blink of an eye, Bowling Green scored their fourth goal of the game, coming off the stick of Cooper just eight seconds later. Perrier skated past the goal line on the near side of the arena and found Cooper in the slot. The puck spilt two UAH defenders as Cooper lit-the-lamp for his ninth goal of the season.
The goal tied the third shortest two-goal scoring span in Bowling Green history, with the shortest being six seconds against Western Michigan in the 1969-70 season. It was the first time since Jan. 7, 1984 the Orange and Brown scored two goals in eight seconds.
Bowling Green added three more goals in the third period, all coming at even-strength in the winning effort. The Chargers were unable to solve Burke throughout the night, as the sophomore netminder improved to 3-2-3 on the road with 22 saves. On the year, the sophomore from Chaska, Minn. has a 2.39 goals-against average and .914 save percentage in 13 games.
The win improved Bowling Green's record to 10-9-4 overall, and 7-6-2 in league play. The loss dropped UAH's record to 1-20-0 overall, and 1-12-0 in the WCHA. With the victory, the Falcons improved to 6-2-3 on Friday night play, and 4-7-3 on the road.