Big Rapids, Mich. - Nationally eighth-ranked Bowling Green built an early advantage and withstood a big differential in total shots en route to a 4-1 triumph over Ferris State in Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) play on Friday (Feb. 13) night as the two squads opened up a league weekend set at the Ewigleben Ice Arena in Big Rapids.
A near capacity crowd of more than 2,100 fans were on hand as the two longtime conference rivals met for the third-straight game following a pair of one-goal contests captured by the Falcons last weekend in Ohio.
FSU, which was playing its first home contest in nearly a month, fell behind 1-0 in the opening period as Bowling Green's Brandon Hawkins produced his 10th goal of the year at even-strength 6:46 into the contest. Both Connor Kucera and Ben Murphy picked up assists on the first goal of the evening.
The 1-0 score stood up until early in the second frame when BGSU grabbed a two-goal advantage on a marker from Ben Greiner, who registered his third lamplighter of the campaign. Mark Friedman earned his 14th assist and Mitchell McLain tallied his seventh of the year on the goal, which came 1:51 into the middle stanza.
The Falcons' lead stayed at 2-0 until Brent Tate registered his sixth goal this season at 16:55 of the second period off assists from Nolan Valleau and Dan DeSalvo, who both were credited with their 13th assists of the year.
Bowling Green pushed its lead to 4-0 when Matt Pohlkamp recorded his seventh goal this campaign a little over midway thru the final period at 10:44 of the third. His goal was aided by Sean Walker and McLain with both tallying their eighth helpers to date.
Ferris State finally got on the board when junior forward Kenny Babinski produced his fifth goal of the year at 14:05 of the final period. Junior defenseman Zach Dorer tallied his third assist with sophomore forward Jared VanWormer garnering his sixth assist on the Bulldogs' lone goal of the evening.
Despite coming up on the short end of the score, the Bulldogs held a decisive 44-23 edge in total shots for the game. The Bulldogs had 12 in the opening period with a game-high 19 in the second followed by 13 in the third. Meanwhile, BGSU was limited to 11 shots in period one along with seven in the second and five over the final 20 minutes.
Bowling Green's Tommy Burke earned the victory in net as he improved to 9-3-3 on the year with a season-high 43 saves between the pipes. He totaled 12 in both the first and third periods with an impressive 19 over the middle period.
Ferris State senior goaltender CJ Motte recorded 19 saves for the Bulldogs on the night in 59:57 of action with 10 saves in the opening stanza followed by five in the second and four in the third.
Neither team was able to capitalize on the power-play as FSU went 0-of-4 and the Falcons finished 0-of-3 for the night. Ferris State had five penalties for 10 minutes with the Falcons called for six netting 12 minutes in the box.
With the win, Bowling Green improved to 18-6-5 overall and 14-4-3 in the WCHA while Ferris State dropped to 11-18-1 overall and 8-13-0 in league action.
The two teams will wrap up the four-game series on Saturday (Feb. 14) night at the Ewigleben Ice Arena with puck drop set for 7:07 p.m. (ET). It will be "Star Wars Night" with special characters on hand and other events planned in conjunction with the game.
Saturday's contest will wrap up the weekend and is one of three remaining regular-season home tilts for the Bulldogs, who will also host Bemidji State in a key WCHA series on Feb. 27-28 following a trip to Alabama-Huntsville next week.
Tickets for all remaining home contests are on sale now and can be purchased online at StarTickets.com or by calling 1-800-585-3737. Fans are encouraged to purchase in advance to save and guarantee a seat for all the action. For more information, please visit FerrisStateBulldogs.com or call (231) 591-2888.