The Bowling Green State University ice hockey team defeated visiting Bemidji State University for the second time in as many nights on Saturday evening (March 8) at the BGSU Ice Arena, taking all four possible points over the final weekend of the regular season. The Falcons were led by two goals from freshman Kevin Dufour and solid netminding by sophomore Tommy Burke (12-6-6), who turned away 19-of-21 shots in the winning effort.
With the win, the Falcons (16-14-6, 13-11-4) assured themselves home ice in the first round of the 2014 Western Collegiate Hockey Association after Michigan Tech and Minnesota State tied 1-1 later in the evening. It will mark the first time since the 2007-08 season the Falcons will host a first round playoff series. The Orange and Brown finished the season with 30 league points after a weekend sweep over the Beavers (10-19-7, 10-14-4).
Bowling Green dominated just about any statistical category against Bemidji on the night. The Orange and Brown once again dominated the special teams, going 3-for-5 on the power play. The Falcons also killed off all six power-play opportunities the Beavers had throughout the night, including killing two key 5-on-3 power plays. The Orange and Brown are now a perfect 13-for-13 on the penalty kill over their last four games.
The Falcons got on the on the board first at the 12:25 mark into the opening act, coming off the stick of senior forward Bryce Williamson on the power play. Williamson took a pass from Ben Murphy in the right circle and fired a slap shot just inside the left post, beating BSU's starting goaltender Jesse Wilkins for the game's first goal.
The Beavers, however, came back with back-to-back goals to take their only lead in the game. Bemidji's first goal came off the stick of Radoslav Illo at 19:36 in the first period at even-strength. The Beavers then lit-the-lamp for a second time at the 2:42 mark in the second period at even-strength, coming off the stick of Markus Gerbrandt for his 15th goal of the season.
Trailing 2-1 in the middle frame, the Orange and Brown fought back and showed some resiliency with playoff bids on the line. The Falcons lit-the-lamp at the 5:47 mark in the second, coming off the stick of Dufour while on the power play. Dufour took a pass from freshman Sean Walker and sent a wrist shot past Wilkins for the equalizer.
The goal jumpstarted Bowling Green's offense for the remainder of the game, as the Falcons reeled off four-straight goals to pull away from the Beavers. The Falcons outshot Bemidji in each period throughout the night, and scored 10 goals in two games against BSU's defense.
The Falcons will be back in action next weekend at the BGSU Ice Arena (March 14-16), hosting the Huskies of Michigan Tech in the first round of the 2014 WCHA playoffs. Bowling Green went 1-2-1 against the Huskies in four regular season games. Game one of the playoff series will begin at 7:07 p.m. on Friday night.