Feb. 19, 2010
Bowling Green, Ohio – For close to 45 minutes on Friday night, things were looking up for Notre Dame as the Irish held a 3-1 lead over Bowling Green at the BGSU Ice Arena. Then, it all came apart as the Falcons scored three times in a 5:12 span to rally for a 4-3 win and hand Notre Dame its third consecutive loss in February.
Goals by Wade Finnegan, Brennan Vargas and Nathan Pageau paced the Bowling Green third period rally wiping out the 3-1 lead that came on Irish goals by Kyle Palmieri, Ryan Thang and Joe Lavin. Kai Kantola had the first Falcon goal of the night.
The loss snapped an 18-game Notre Dame unbeaten streak (16-0-2) against Bowling Green and was the first Falcons’ win over the Irish since Jan. 29, 2005 and the first win at BGSU Ice Arena since Jan. 28, 2005 as Notre Dame has 7-0-1 in its last eight games in Ohio.
The Irish fall to 12-14-7 overall and 8-11-6-2 in the CCHA, good for 32 points in the league standings. Bowling Green’s victory snapped a four-game losing streak and improved the Falcons to 5-22-4 on the season and 4-17-5-3 in conference play.
Notre Dame scored the only goal of the first period and it came on the power play. Defenseman Ian Cole carried the puck through center and fed it to Thang at the Falcon blue line. The senior left wing moved the puck ahead to Palmieri in the right wing circle where he swept a quick wrist shot through goaltender Nick Eno’s pads for his seventh goal of the year and a 1-0 lead.
The teams would trade second-period goals and they came 26 seconds apart on the same penalty to Irish center Patrick Gaul. Thang made it 2-0 at 7:49 when he scored a short-handed goal and the Falcons cut the lead in half when Kantola converted at 8:15 with 34 seconds remaining on the Gaul penalty to make it 2-1.
With the Falcons controlling play in the Notre Dame zone, Cole made a diving play near the right point to knock the puck away from Tomas Petruska. Riley Sheahan grabbed the puck and chipped it off the boards to Thang who raced in alone on Eno. The Irish captain snapped a wrister past the Falcon goaltender for his ninth goal of the season to make it 2-0.
Just 26 seconds later on that same power play, the Falcons dumped the puck behind the Notre Dame goal where Notre Dame goaltender Mike Johnson tried to play it around the boards. Josh Boyd intercepted the clearing attempt and knocked it to Kantola on the left side of the goal. The senior right wing was able to get the puck in front and banked it off the right post and in at 8:15 to make it 2-1. The goal was Kantola’s fourth of the season.
The third period saw the Irish make it a 3-1 game on Lavin’s second goal of the year. The big defenseman fired a shot from the left point through a screen that beat Eno to his glove side at 4:54 off assists from Billy Maday and Thang who would finish the night with three points on a goal and two assists.
Just 41 seconds after Lavin’s goal, Bowling Green cut the lead to 3-2 with Finnegan banging a rebound past Johnson from the right side of the crease for his second of the season at 5:35. Brennan Vargas and Cameron Sinclair did the dirty work around the goal as they kept the puck alive.
That threesome would get the equalizer less than four minutes later at 9:33 when Vargas jammed the puck past Johnson off another scramble in front with his linemates Sinclair and Finnegan picking up the assists.
The game winner would come at 10:47 of the third when Pageau carried the puck into the Irish zone and snapped a wrist shot from the left circle that beat Johnson to his glove side just inside the right post for his fourth of the season.
Notre Dame pulled its goaltender with 55 seconds left while killing a penalty and got a couple of good chances but could not score on Eno as the Falcons held on for the one-goal victory.
On the night, Bowling Green out shot the Irish, 27-24. Johnson made 23 saves in goal while Eno had 21 for the Falcons. Notre Dame was 1-for-2 on the power play while BG was 1-for-5.
The two teams will wrap up the series on Saturday with a 5:05 p.m. game at the BGSU Ice Arena.
GAME SUMMARY 1 2 3 - F Notre Dame (12-14-7/8-11-6-2) 1 1 1 - 3Bowling Green (5-22-4/4-17-4-3) 0 1 3 - 4
Penalties: ND: 1 for 2 minutes; BGSU: 2 for 4 minutes.
Second Period: ND: Thang 9 (Riley Sheahan, Cole), SHG, 7:49; BGSU: Kia Kantola 5 (Josh Boyd), PPG, 8:15.
Penalties: ND: 3 for 6 minutes; BGSU: 1 for 2 minutes.
Third Period: ND: Joe Lavin 2 (Billy Maday, Thang), 4:54; BGSU: Wade Finnegan 2 (Brennan Vargas, Cameron Sinclair), 5:35; BGSU: Vargas 3 (Finnegan, Sinclair), 9:33; BGSU: Nathan Pageau 4 (unassisted), 10:47.
Penalties: ND: 2 for 4 minutes; BGSU: 0 for 0 minutes.
Shots On Goal:Notre Dame 8 - 6 - 10 - 24Bowling Green 11 - 7 - 9 - 27
Goaltender Saves:ND: Mike Johnson (59:05) 11 - 6 - 6 - 23BGSU: Nick Eno (60:00) 7 - 5 - 9 - 21
Power Plays:ND: 1 for 2BGSU: 1 for 5