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Goaltender Jordan Sigalet made 34 of 36 saves and survived a flurry of Northern Michigan shots in the last minute of the game as his Bowling Green Falcons dumped the Wildcats, 3-2, at the BG Ice Arena.
“This was a tremendous hockey game,” said BG coach Scott Paluch. “I loved the tempo of this game. Both teams stayed away from any garbage and played hard.”
Bowling Green (4-13-2, 2-10-2 CCHA), coming into the game on a six-game winless streak, got production from its line of Ryan Minnabarriet, Ryan Barnett and Mike Falk, while getting a huge lift from the sophomore goalie Jordan Sigalet. Coincidentally, BG’s last win came in December against Michigan State, a 3-2 overtime thriller against Northern’s former coach, Rick Comley.
“We were trying to get some different line combinations tonight, and that line did a real good job,” said Paluch of the Minnabarriet line. “They were smart with the puck, they gave us a good lift and just did a real good job.”
“We wanted to get the puck in deep,” said Minnabarriet, who had a goal and an assist on the night. “We wanted to do some cycling. It seemed to work. [Northern] wasn’t as tight in the defensive zone as most of the teams we’ve played, and it gave us room to maneuver.”
Jordan Sigalet proved to be the game breaker for the Falcons, making 33 saves on a high-powered Northern offense that was ranked second in CCHA scoring coming into the contest.
“NMU can generate offense,” said Paluch. “We did a much better job in the neutral zone against them. We didn’t give up a lot of chances.”
With the score 3-2 in BG’s favor late in the third period, and Northern bearing down on the opposition’s net with a 6-on-5 advantage, Sigalet stood tall.
“It got a little scary,” said the goaltender, who picked up his second win of the year. “There was no way I was going to let the same thing happen again like last week against Fairbanks.”
With less than a minute to go last Friday, UAF’s Blaine Bablitz scored the game-tying goal against Sigalet on the 6-on-5 advantage. The teams ended up skating to a 3-3 draw.
“They played well,” said NMU coach Walt Kyle, of Bowling Green. “They did everything to win. Sigalet played hard tonight.”
Both teams came out physical in the opening period. While the action was fast and furious, neither team was able to get on the scoreboard
NMU, fourth in the nation on the power play (26.9 percent) had three opportunities with the man advantage, however it was not able to capitalize. Bowling Green’s penalty kill, ranked 11th in the CCHA, played well, allowing just a handful of shots on Sigalet. Both teams finished 0-3 on the man advantage.
Minnabarriet broke the scoreless deadlock at 6:45 of the second period, as he picked up a Mike Falk pass across the crease and stuffed it in. Northern tied the game at 13:34 on a shorthanded marker. Sophomore Alan Swanson and senior Peter Michelutti broke out of their zone on a 2-on-1 against Sigalet. Mickelutti’s pass from the left circle found the stick of Swanson, who slapped it home for the 1-1 tie.
Bowling Green responded just under a minute later, as Mark Wires posted a power-play goal which deflected off the leg of a Northern defender and past Kowalski for the 2-1 lead. The Wildcats tied just 30 seconds later on Mike Stutzel’s 14th goal of the season. With the goal, Stutzel now has a point in 14 of his 19 games.
BG’s Ryan Barnett got the game winner with 6:57 to go in the final period, as Kowalski juggled a Mike Falk shot and saw the puck go in off the stick of Barnett.
Both teams are back in action at the Ice Arena tomorrow night (7:05 p.m).