Falcons upset Irish with third period comeback

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — Five years.

That’s how far back you’d have to go to find Bowling
Green’s last regulation win over Notre Dame, which came on Jan. 29, 2005.

That all changed Friday night when Bowling Green’s
underclassmen took over the third period, giving the senior class their first
regulation victory over the Irish, 4-3.

“It feels good, especially being down two goals.
It’s good for the seniors, having not beat them in regulation yet,”
Bowling Green captain Kyle Page said.

Bowling Green battled back from a pair of two-goal
deficits, including three unanswered goals in the third period to turn a 3-1
deficit into a lead.

For the second time in the game, the Falcons responded
within a minute of an Irish tally, as Wade Finnegan potted home his second goal
of the season 41 seconds after the Irish had taken a 3-1 lead.

Following Finnegan’s goal the Falcons stormed back
into the game, first with a great two-pad slide by goalie Nick Eno to deny a
Notre Dame shot and then at the other end Bowling Green’s fourth line of
Finnegan, Cameron Sinclair and Brennan Vargas outbattled the Irish defense to
put a rebound into the back of the net to tie the game at three.

“I think we wore them down as the game wore on,
just sticking at getting the puck to the net and it worked,” Finnegan
said.

“They [the underclassmen] definitely stepped up
tonight, they stood up when we needed them especially the line of
Finnegan-Sinclair and Vargas I thought they were are best line tonight,”
Page added.

Brennan Vargas was credited for the tying goal,
while Sinclair and Finnegan picked up the assists.

The Falcons onslaught continued as Nathan Pageau gave
his team their first lead of the night on a wrist shot from the left circle,
beating Irish goalie Mike Johnson as the puck bounced in off  the far
post. Following Pageau’s game-winner with 10:47 remaining,
the Falcons held on to snuff out the Irish attack despite facing two faceoffs
deep in their zone with less then a minute remaining. 

Bowling Green lost both faceoffs, but a sliding shot
block by senior Tommy Dee allowed the puck to clear the zone and allowed the
clock to run out.

“We had a huge blocked shot their at the end by
Tommy Dee, he’s just a warrior who went down to block that,” Bowling Green head coach Dennis Williams said.

Prior to the third period, it seemed it would be the
Irish continuing their dominance over the Falcons.

Notre Dame took a one goal lead with 8:13 remaining in
the first period when Kyle Palmieri beat Eno through the five-hole on the
power play.

It was an unfortunate break for the Falcons, as
defenseman Ian Ruehl had made a nice play to disrupt a Notre Dame break, but
his clearing attempt landed right on the stick of Palmieri who deposited his
seventh goal of the season.

Bowling Green came within inches of tying the game at
one as Jordan Sameuls-Thomas pass sailed through the crease but couldn’t be
corralled by Tommy Dee.

Calle Ridderwall almost doubled the Irish lead before
the end of the first period, as his shot from between the circles with 1:17
remaining beat Eno before richocething off the cross bar.

In the second period both teams exchanged goals,
giving the Irish a 2-1 lead.

Tomas Petruska came close to tying the game just seven
minutes into the second period on the power play. Petruska collected the puck
and his shot twisted through a pile of bodies before landing just wide of the
cage.

Less then a minute later Notre Dame captain Ryan Thang
stole the puck near the blue line and beat Eno on the glove side for a
shorthanded marker. However, the two-goal lead wouldn’t last as as Kai Kantola got
Bowling Green on the board a mere 26 seconds later.

“It’s big, they had momentum at the point,”
Page said. “At the bench we preach going out and killing their
momentum.”

Kantola’s goal came after Johnson failed to control
the puck behind the net, leading to Kantola potting the puck into an empty net.

Over the final ten minutes of the second period Notre
Dame carried the majority of the offensive play, and if not for the efforts of
Eno in the Falcon net the score deficit could have been much larger.

Despite Notre Dame carrying the play, Bowling Green
did have a couple solid chances on a power play that carried over into the
third period. The carry over penalty didn’t prove detrimental to the
Irish as they killed it off and then added another goal 4:56 into the period on
a slap shot by Thang that deflected in by Ridderwall. However, after Ridderwall’s goal momentum turned just
41 second later as Bowling Green started their comeback.

The two teams will meet again tomorrow night at 5:05
p.m. in the BGSU Ice Arena.

Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson was not available for
comment following the loss.

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