BOWLING GREEN, Ohio - The Northern Michigan University hockey team rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the third period on Saturday at Bowling Green State, only to give up a shorthanded goal with 4:20 remaining in the game and an empty net goal in the final second of a 5-3 loss to the Falcons at the BGSU Ice Arena.
The Wildcats led 1-0 just under four minutes into the game via a power play goal by junior forward Erik Higby on a five-minute man advantage.
The Falcons took the lead before the first intermission, however, with an even-strength goal by Andrew Wallace three seconds after a Wildcat power play expired and a power play goal by Ben Murphy with 1:27 to go in the first period.
Northern Michigan’s Matt Thurber, left, is pressed aside by Bowling Green State’s Brett Mohler on Saturday at the BGSU Ice Arena in Bowling Green, Ohio. (Bowling Green Sentinel-Tribune photo by Enoch Wu)
Ryan Carpenter gave BGSU a 3-1 lead 11:06 into the second period, but NMU junior defenseman C.J. Ludwig bounced a puck off the BGSU Ice Arena glass, off the back of Falcon netminder Tommy Burke and into the hosts' net with 1:17 to go before the second intermission.
NMU senior forward Brian Nugent tied the game at 3-3 with only his second goal of the season at 12:41 of the third period and the Wildcats had a chance to take the lead on the power play with 5:34 to play in regulation.
BGSU's Bobby Shea scored the game-winning goal with 1:14 into the NMU man-advantage. It was the first shorthanded goal scored this season by Bowling Green and seventh allowed by NMU in 2012-13.
BGSU 5, NMU 2
Northern Michigan2 2 1 - 5
Bowling Green St.0 2 0 - 2
First period - 1, NMU, Stephan Vigier/6 (Scott Macaulay/10) 6:29. 2, NMU, Mitch Jones/3 (Matt Thurber/25, Erik Higby/11) 19:36 (pp).
Second period - 3, NMU, Ryan Daugherty/10 (CJ Ludwig/10, Stephan Vigier/13) 6:07 (pp). 4, NMU, Stephan Vigier/7 (Mitch Jones/9, Austin Handley/3) 10:36. 5, BGSU, Kucera, Connor/2 (Wallace, Andrew/4, Mohler, Brett/2) 16:41. 6, BGSU, Carpenter, Ryan/14 (Cooper, Mark/7, Mingo, Dajon/12) 17:55 (pp).
Third period - 7, NMU, Erik Higby/7 (Matt Thurber/26) 14:04.
Shots on goal - NMU 5-9-7 21; BGSU 8-20-11 39.
Power plays - NMU 2 of 4; BGSU 1 of 7.
Penalties - NMU 8 (16 min); BGSU 5 (10 min).
Goalies - NMU, Jared Coreau 14-15-4 (60:00 minutes, 39 shots-37
saves); BGSU, Burke, Tommy 4-6-2 (60:00, 21-16).
The defeat drops the Wildcats to 10th in the CCHA standings after Michigan finished off its first road sweep of the season at Ohio State to move into ninth.
The Falcons (13-16-5 overall, 10-13-3 in CCHA) climbed into seventh place because Lake Superior State was swept by Miami.
The Wildcats (14-16-4, 8-14-4) host the eighth-place Lakers (15-19-1 , 10-16-1) in the final regular season weekend of the CCHA's existence Friday and Saturday at the Berry Events Center. The puck is scheduled to drop at 7:35 p.m. both nights with the NMU hockey program's annual silent auction slated for Friday and Senior Night taking place on Saturday.
In order for the Wildcats to have any shot at home ice in the first round of the CCHA playoffs, they will need to finish the weekend with two wins, though one victory may come in a shootout.
Northern will also need help from Ferris State against Michigan. The Wolverines are two points up on NMU in the league standings.
NOTE: Brett Mohler added the empty netter for the Falcons. ... Seven different players had assists for NMU, including sophomore defenseman Mitch Jones, senior defenseman Kyle Follmer, junior forward Stephan Vigier, freshman forward Darren Nowick, sophomore forward Ryan Daugherty and senior forward Kory Kaunisto. ... NMU junior goaltender Jared Coreau finished with 25 saves while Burke had 17 for BGSU.