The Bowling Green State University ice hockey team defeated the University of Alabama in Huntsville on Saturday night (Jan. 4), by a score of 4-1, completing a two-game sweep over the Chargers in a Western Collegiate Hockey Association weekend battle. Playing in front of 1,515 fans at the Von Braun Center, the Falcons saw four different skaters score goals, while sophomore goaltender Tommy Burke turned away 26-of-27 shots.
The Orange and Brown received Falcon goals from Adam Berkle, Dan DeSalvo, Rusty Hafner and Brent Tate in the winning effort. Bowling Green went 0-for-2 on the power play, while going a perfect 3-for-3 on the penalty kill. Over the weekend, the Falcons scored a goal in five different periods and outshot UAH 158-93 in the two games.
Bowling Green wasted little time on Saturday night to score the game's first goal, lighting the lamp just 21 seconds into the tilt at even-strength. After winning the opening faceoff, the Orange and Brown moved quickly into the UAH's zone. Working along the far side of the halfboards, senior captain Cam Wojtala found defenseman Mike Sullivan at the point. Sullivan gathered the pass and fired a slap shot towards a scrum near the net. The puck was redirected by Berkle for his fourth goal of the season, handing the Falcons an early 1-0 lead.
Just like Friday night, the Falcons' 1-0 lead stood for the remainder of the first period, as the Orange and Brown outshot the Chargers by an 11-6 margin in the opening period. BGSU also killed the Chargers' only power play opportunity in the first period.
UAH outshot Bowling Green in the second period 10-6, but the Falcons made the most of their opportunities and outscored the Chargers 3-1 in the period. The Orange and Brown scored the first three goals of the period to hand them a 4-0 lead before allowing a UAH goal at 16:10 in the period.
Bowling Green started the scoring in the middle frame coming off a faceoff win in their offensive zone. DeSalvo, who entered the game with 69 career points in 99 games, won the faceoff and directed the puck towards Tate near the front of the crease. The sophomore forward was able to beat Chargers' netminder Carmine Guerriero for his eighth goal of the season, handing Bowling Green a 2-0 lead just 3:58 into the period.
With DeSalvo's assist, the junior forward became just the 98th player in program history to reach the 70-point plateau. The right-hander from Rolling Meadows, Ill. tallied three points in Saturday night's game (1g, 2a), and now has 25-47=72 in 100 career games. DeSalvo is the first player in program history to reach the milestone since David Solway recorded 31-42=73 in 142 games from 2007-11.
The Falcons extended their lead in the middle period, netting an even-strength goal at 9:07 to give them a 3-0 lead over the Chargers. Ralfs Freibergs, who entered the night coming off a two-point performance last night (1g, 1a), fired a shot near the point towards Guerriero. The puck deflected off his chest towards a scrum of players in front of the crease, and eventually trickled to DeSalvo. DeSalvo tumbled towards the ice while trying to gather the puck and beat the left pad of Guerriero while sliding away from the net for his sixth goal of the season.
Bowling Green continued to press on the Chargers in the second period, netting another even-strength marker at 13:25, coming off the stick of Hafner. Once again DeSalvo found himself in the middle of the action, and found a skating Hafner near the slot. DeSalvo's pass from the goal line found the stick of the Toledo, Ohio native and beat UAH's netminder for his first goal of the season.
Trailing 4-0 late in the second period, UAH lit-the-lamp for the first time in the series at the 16:10 mark to cut the Falcons lead to 4-1. However, it would be the closest the Chargers would get, as neither team was able to light the lamp over the final 20 minutes of regulation.
The win improved Bowling Green's record to 11-9-4overall, and 8-6-2 in league play. The loss dropped UAH record to 1-21-0, and 1-13-0 in the WCHA. With the victory, the Falcons are now 5-7-3 on the road, and won two consecutive road games for the first time this season.
The Falcons will return to the BGSU Ice Arena next week (Jan. 10-11), taking on the Nanooks of Alaska-Fairbanks in a WCHA weekend series. The home series will begin a three-week homestand in Bowling Green, Ohio. The puck is slated to drop at 7:07 p.m. on both nights.