This weekend at the BGSU Ice Arena was supposed to be a momentum builder for the home team, but it was instead a great weekend for the visiting Northern Michigan Wildcats. With a 2-0 victory on Saturday night, the Cats earned six points in the league standings and now hold a playoff spot. On the weekend, Wildcats goalie Atte Tolvanen stopped 75 of 75 Bowling Green shots to complete a weekend shutout.
Neither team could solve the other goalie in the opening 20 minutes. The Falcons controlled the puck for the majority of the first period allowing, Northern Michigan only five shots in the period. Bowling Green had the best chances of the period, getting two breakaways, but were stopped by Tolvanen.
“Our goal was to make him work harder tonight than he had to last night, but I don’t think we did that,” explained Bowling Green coach Chris Bergeron. “We had better chances than last night. I’m not taking anything away from that kid; he is going to be the defensive player of the week and he is going to earn it.”
The second period was more of the same as the Falcons dominated on the shot board, but it was the Wildcats who got on the scoreboard first. After Tolvanen stopped the Falcons Lukas Craggs on a short-handed breakaway, Brock Maschmeyer deflected a shot past Chris Nell to give the Wildcats the only goal they would need at 11:18. The Falcons outshot the Wildcats 16-7 in the second.
“The goaltender played much better this weekend than he did when we played them but their defending was much better this weekend. We didn’t get many second and third chances. They are playing with much better confidence than when we saw them at their place,” said Bergeron.
The third period continued the extraordinary frustration for BGSU’s offense. Time and time again, the team generated chances but could not put the puck in the net. Perhaps the Falcons’ best scoring opportunity of the game came after Zach Diamantoni went to the box for tripping with 11:50 left on the clock. Midway through the power play, Brett D’Andrea was in the circle to Tolvanen’s left and found him on the opposite side of the net. He took the open shot, but somehow, Tolvanen recovered to make a glove save.
Northern Michigan got an empty-net power-power play goal from Maschmeyer after the Falcons were called for too many men on the ice, a penalty that Bergeron took responsibility for.
“That penalty is on me and only on me; I can’t let that happen at that time in the game when we’re trying to pull the goaltender.”
Bemidji State 3, Michigan Tech 0
The league-leading Beavers got a 27-save shutout from Michael Bitzer and goals from Kyle Bauman, Justin Baudry, and Myles Fitzgerald in 3-0 victory to pad their lead over Michigan Tech. Huskies goalie Angus Redmond made 15 saves.
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