Bowling Green jumped out to a quick lead against the US Under-18 team at the BG Ice Arena tonight and never looked back, downing Team USA, 7-1, in an exhibition contest.
“After the Michigan series, we wanted to keep moving forward,” said BG head coach Scott Paluch. “Our team put together a spurty type of offense tonight and the power play was sharp.”
Bowling green did play “spurty” hockey, jumping out to a three-goal lead before many of the fans could get settled in their seats. After a scoreless stretch of about eight minutes, BG jumped on the Team USA defense again, scoring two more goals in four minutes. BG wasn’t able to score again until the third period, when the Falcons picked up a pair of goals in the final 10 minutes.
In part, the batches of goals were due to penalties. After taking ten penalties last Saturday against the Wolverines, BG was sent to the box 11 times against Team USA, which kept the 5-on-5 situations to a minimum.
“Our penalty kill was good. We certainly had enough practice with it,” said Paluch. We took some lazy penalties tonight which kept us shorthanded late in the first and early in the second periods.”
The Falcon penalty kill went 10-for-11 against Team USA, allowing just one goal by defenseman Ryan Suter.
“We’re doing a better job now of getting into the lanes and knocking the puck down,” Paluch added, talking about his PK unit.
Bowling Green came out strong at Team USA goalie Wylie Rogers in the opening minutes, scoring three goals, including a pair on the power play, in the opening 2:47. Tallies by junior winger Mark Wires, D’Arcy McConvey and Ryan Minnabarriet gave BG an early lead.
BG added its fourth goal of the game on a Tyler Knight shot from in front of the crease to beat Team USA goalie Chris Holt at the 10:05 mark.
McConvey picked up an assist for his second point on the night.
The Falcons made it 5-0 with Wires’ second goal coming at the 14:14 mark of the first period. Alex Rogosheske and Brett Pilkington picked up the assists on the goal.
“[Wires] is our leader in goals right now,” said Paluch. “He’s got speed and he gets to a lot of loose pucks. We need him to continue scoring goals for us.”
Team USA got on the board 41 seconds into the second period on a power-play goal by defenseman Ryan Suter. J.D. Corbin and Jeff Likens were credited with the assists. For Suter, who has verbally committed to Wisconsin for next year, it was his second goal of the year.
Steve Brudzewski added BG’s sixth goal on the night with a blast from the point that beat Wylie Rogers top shelf. Jon Sitko picked up his second assist of the night on the goal.
BG closed out the scoring with one second left in the game, as Kip Horner cleaned up a rebound on the doorstep.
Falcon goalie Tyler Masters stopped 18 of Team USA’s 19 shots in two periods of action. Freshman goaltender Bob Frazee held Team USA scoreless the third period to preserve the 7-1 victory.
“Bob has been a very good goaltender for us in practice,” said Paluch of his freshman goalie. “He looked solid, especially on a couple of shots. I was glad I was able to get him some time tonight. He’s worked very hard all year for us.”
Team USA outshot the Falcons 26-23 in the game. BG went three for six on the power play, while Team USA finished 1-for-11.
The Falcons will host the Michigan State Spartans next Friday at the BG Ice Arena. Game time is 7:05 p.m.