BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — Bowling Green State earned a 5-2 victory over Michigan Tech in WCHA First Round Playoff hockey tonight to win the series and advance to the WCHA Final Five next weekend. The Huskies made it a two-goal game twice in the third period but couldn't get the next goal to keep the momentum.
Tech's season comes to an end with a 14-19-7 record.
Despite the shots on goal being equal at 8 apiece in the opening period, the Falcons held a 2-0 advantage.
The first goal came even strength at 14:35 as Matt Pohlkamp took a centering feed on the rush and picked the corner on Pheonix Copley.
Tech appeared to answer the goal less than three minutes later when Blake Pietila buried a slap shot after a scramble on the power play. The referee immediately waved off the goal because he was calling a holding penalty on Reid Sturos.
The call resulted in 4-on-4 skating for the next minute. Cliff Watson was then whistled for slashing, making it a 4-on-3 and eventually a 5-on-3 power play for the hosts.
BGSU scored on the two-man advantage as Ryan Carpenter passed the puck across the crease to Adam Berkle for a back door tap in.
Tech created several good chances early in the second period, but could not get one to hit the twine.
The Falcons made it a 3-0 advantage with a low shot that changed directions in front of Copley at the 13:30 mark.
The Black and Gold opened the third period exactly how they wanted: by drawing a penalty and scoring a power-play goal in the first minute.
Reid Sturos tipped home an Alex Petan shot from the point to make the score 3-1.
Just two minutes later, however, the Falcons answered with a goal from Carpenter on a rebound.
BGSU helped the Huskies' cause at the 8:42 mark as a defender appeared to kick the puck into the net past Tommy Burke. Malcolm Gould was credited with the goal that pulled Tech within 4-2.
The Huskies pulled Copley for the extra attacker with 2:09 to play, but it did not pay off. Adam Berkle notched the empty net goal with 1:34 to play to finish the scoring.
"There were some critical moments in this game that just didn't go our way," said coach Mel Pearson. "When we got the penalty and didn't get the goal in the first period was a real turning point in the game. They ended up getting the 5-on-3 power play and the next goal, and it's tough to get down on the road and try to claw your way back."
BGSU (18-14-6) finished with a 34-30 advantage in shots on goal.
Burke stopped 28 shots while Copley saved 29 of the 33 he faced.
"I like that we battled tonight," said Pearson. "The effort was there. We just didn't get the bounces. Credit BGSU. There's a reason they finished third in our league."
With the Huskies' season ending, so do the careers of six seniors: Ryan Furne, Daniel Holmberg, Jacob Johnstone, Dennis Rix, Daniel Sova and Brad Stebner.
"We'll miss them," said Pearson. "A good test for a college hockey player is if they left the program in better shape than where they found it. These guys certainly did that. They gave us everything they could."
Notes: Petan and Pietila finished tied for the team scoring lead with 28 points apiece. Both had assists tonight … David Johnstone became the team's sixth 20-point scorer with the assist on Gould's goal.