Special teams give UAH a chance, but special teams gave this game away.
Brandon Hawkins’ goal with 2:08 left in overtime lifted 15th-ranked Bowling Green (6-3-3 overall, 3-2-2 WCHA) to a 3-2 victory over the Chargers (3-5-1 overall, 2-4-1 WCHA) on Friday night.
All five goals in the game were power play goals, but none more costly than the third PPG allowed by UAH after Josh Kestner was called for boarding in the extra session.
The Chargers did hang tough with the Falcons, who have typically dominated the series having won 13 of the last 14 meetings. Bowling Green is now 8-1-1 all-time against the Chargers at BGSU Ice Arena.
Bowling Green outshot the Chargers 28-18.
Most of the first period saw a lot of back and forth, with not many scoring chances.
Both teams ranked at the bottom of the WCHA in power play efficiency coming in, but with the offensive potential of the Falcons, Charger penalties would tempt fate.
So it happened on UAH’s second penalty — a cross-checking call by Brandon Parker — that Bowling Green would break through with the first goal. Kevin Dufour was on the spot with the rebound putback past UAH goaltender Matt Larose gave the Falcons a 1-0 lead at 10:04. It was Dufour’s seventh goal of the season.
No goals in the second period, but both teams had few more chances, as well as a few more hits.
Bowling Green had a great chance short handed as Sean Walker had a breakaway, but Larose made a huge glove save to keep it a one-goal game.
For the Chargers, there was a three-minute span where they rolled lines twice while keeping the puck on the Falcon end. UAH could not find the net as Falcon goaltender Chris Nell was able to save five shots.
UAH would make its move in early in the third period, when on a two-man advantage, Chad Brears tied the game at 1-1 at the 1:34 mark. His third goal of the season was assisted by Max McHugh and Kurt Gosselin.
Bowling Green retook the lead after a Cody Champagne cross-checking penalty, one of three cross checks called against the Chargers. Brett D’Andrea’s blast beat Larose with 13:08 left.
Keeping the power play trend, UAH tied it up after Dajon Mingo was sent to the box for kneeing. Jetland Houcher, all alone in the right circle, rifled the puck past Nell to tie the match at 2-2 with 10:34 to go. Kestner and Madison Dunn got the assists.
Larose kept the game tied with big saves throughout the rest of regulation, and Nell was also up to the task after stopping Houcher on a 2-on-1 break.
In overtime, UAH never got a shot on net. Bowling Green had three chances during the delayed boarding call, followed by Hawkins’s goal to give the Falcons the win.
Larose finished with 25 saves as he started the Friday night game for the second consecutive series. Chris Nell made 16 saves.
Game two of the series is at 6:07 p.m. Central Time.