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The BG News
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November 30, 2023

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BG’s Matsumoto nails game winner

The return of former BGSU standouts Wayne Wilson and Brian Hills to the BGSU Ice Arena came one penalty and 48 seconds away from an overtime period.

After playing the Falcons tight all game, Rochester Institute of Technology, coached by Wilson and Hills, nearly upset BG before Jonathan Matsumoto notched his second goal of the night at the 19:12 mark of the third period to give BG a 3-2 non-conference win over the Tigers.

“I’m proud of the way they’re playing,” Wilson said of his Tigers. “We have nothing to play for except for pride and character. This was another game where that showed off, and I don’t know how many times we can take some of these tough losses, but they keep going at it.”

The winning goal was the Falcons’ only power play goal of the night as RIT defenseman Justin Hofstetter was nailed with a questionable interference call on Matsumoto with just 2:06 remaining. It appeared Matsumoto had gotten away with a possible diving call, but instead it was the Tigers going to the box and the Falcons made them pay.

“I feel good in the fact that we, in a tight hockey game, were able to make the plays we needed to win the game,” said BG coach Scott Paluch. “RIT played extremely well. It turned into a game that it was going to take a big play to win, and I feel really good that we were able to make that play.”

Matsumoto’s goal came less than a minute after BG goaltender Jon Horrell made one of the biggest plays of the night for the Falcons.

RIT put on some good penalty kill pressure at the beginning of the final power play that led to the Falcons giving up a 1-on-1 breakaway with RIT’s leading scorer, Simon Lambert, with about a minute and a half to play. Lambert skated into the slot and took a shot, but Horrell turned him away making one of many big saves on the night.

“That was a terrific save,” Paluch said of Horrell, who made 22 stops on 24 shots. “We’ve talked about the ability to learn to win close games. A goalie making a save in that situation is a big part of it ” their best player with a breakaway ” their leading scorer ” he saves and then our leading scorers make a terrific play at the other end to score. That’s the difference in the game.”

Those same leading scorers got the Falcons on the board just 28 second into the game. Alex Foster found Matsumoto on the left side of the net, whose pass found the stick of an RIT player in front of the net before beating goaltender Jocelyn Guimond.

Guimond would regain his composure quick though, and played big in net as the Falcons peppered him with shots, but couldn’t find any holes.

“He was very good,” Paluch said of Guimond, who made 34 saves on 37 shots. “We see a lot of good goalies and he is right there with them and his team responded to him.”

Guimond stopped all three shots he faced on the Falcons lone power play of the first and the Tigers rewarded him for his efforts. Rob Tarantino got the puck in the Falcons’ end and beat Horrell on a shot in front after he skated in from behind the net.

The shorthanded goal tied the game with just 31 seconds remaining in the period and set a new school record for most shorthanded goals given up in a season at 14.

“It’s disappointing,” Paluch said of the record. “What’s even more disappointing is that not only did we give up a shorthanded goal, but we almost gave up the hockey game on the power play and that’s extremely disappointing.”

The second period wouldn’t start much better for the Falcons as Lambert scored on a wrap-around attempt on the left side of the net just 1:50 in to give RIT a 2-1 lead.

Brandon Svendson would get BG back in it though when he made a great individual play on an RIT power play to tie the game up just 5:18 later.

RIT would finish the night 0-7 on the power play while BG went 1-8.

The teams would trade chances in the third period, but neither team could figure out the opposing goaltender. The Falcons got off 26 shots in the final 40 minutes while RIT had 14.

Finally after Guimond had been anticipating the Falcons’ shots pretty well, Matsumoto and the top scoring line setup a good chance in front of the net and found one of the few holes they’d seen all night.

“We switched our power play up throughout the game and started out with something different,” Matsumoto said of the goal. “Then we back to our old one and that was kind of a set play. Falk out to the middle and then Foster just found me and I tried to do the same thing Svendson did earlier as their goalie was doing a good job of anticipating.”

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