The Chargers, playing for pride in their last series of the 2015-16 season, scored four third-period goals to beat Bowling Green 7-5 on Friday night at the Von Braun Center.
UAH (7-20-6 overall, 5-16-6 WCHA) scored seven goals for the first time since 2008, six of them against the top goaltender in the WCHA in Bowling Green’s Chris Nell.
Bowling Green (19-12-6 overall, 15-7-5 WCHA) was eliminated from the race for the MacNaughton Cup as regular season champions. The Falcons will be the third seed, hosting a first-round playoff series in the WCHA tournament.
Bowling Green scored first at only the 1:47 mark, when Kevin Dufour scored for his third straight game. He put in a rebound past UAH goaltender Matt Larose off a Scott Walker shot from the point.
The Falcons had the first five shots on goal, but then somehow UAH went on a burst, scoring three unanswered goals on just eight shots.
Then Soquila gave the Chargers the lead at 9:53, when on a delayed penalty call (a slash by Dufour), deflecting a Brandon Carlson shot past Nell while camped in front. Adam Wilcox also assisted on Soquila’s third goal of the season.
Almost five minutes later, UAH made it 3-1. Hans Gorowsky, on a two-on-one with Jetlan Houcher, beat Nell stick-side from the slot for his second goal. Chad Brears was credited with his ninth assist. That’s how the first period ended.
The second period was all Falcons, who awakened with three unanswered goals of their own to retake the lead.
Again, BG struck quickly, this time at 1:31, as Tyler Spezia rushes down the left side and beats Larose five hole to cut UAH’s lead to 3-2.
Following a Carlson hooking penalty, the Falcons tied the game on the power play with 6:49 remaining in the period. In a scramble in front of the net, Stephen Baylis, while being taken down, somehow put the puck in. While the goal light went on, the officials did not see it, but called a goal following a lengthy video review.
Bowling Green took a 4-3 lead with 1:42 left in the 2nd, as Brandon Hawkins sniped one past Larose from between the top of the circles.
The Falcons outshot the Chargers 15-4 in the period.
So if UAH’s first period was good and its second period was bad, what about the third period?
Fabulous. The Chargers scored four times.
Matt Salhany got things started, picking Adam Smith’s pocket and turned on the jets for a breakaway, scoring at the 8:13 mark to tie the game at 4-4.
After a scramble in the UAH net that lead to another review of a potential Bowling Green goal — this time no — the Chargers got another power play. Josh Kestner‘s one-timer from the left circle gave UAH the lead again at 5-4 with 8:53 left. Cam Knight made the pass from the right point to set up Kestner’s sixth goal of the season, and Jack Prince got the secondary assist.
A minute 20 later, Max McHugh scored his seventh goal of the season, taking the puck from center ice and beating Nell stick side, to make it 6-4 Chargers.
Bowling Green would get one back with 4:42 left on a goal by Sean Walker.
The Falcons pulled Nell for the extra attacker with 1:43 left and on the power play (after a boarding penalty on Kestner). But after the power play was killed, Kestner was able to sink the empty-net goal, his second of the game, for the final 7-5 result.
Seven goals, despite UAH being outshot 32-20 for the game. The last time UAH scored seven goals in a game was Feb. 1, 2008, also a 7-5 win at Robert Morris. That was also the last time the Chargers scored four goals in a period.
Larose had 27 saves in the contest, while Nell only stopped 13 of 19.
The season finale is Saturday night at 7:07 p.m. at the Von Braun Center. Four UAH seniors will be honored before the game.