Falcons fall on Senior Night to No. 3 Miami

Despite a late surge, the BGSU hockey team just couldn’t quite figure out Miami’s defense last night as they fell victim to the new Central Collegiate Hockey Association champions on senior night, 2-1, continuing their winless streak of six games in league play.

Senior Jon Horrell had a big night in his last home game as a Falcon, making 28 saves on 30 shots, but his counterpart, Charlie Effinger, came up just as big making 24 saves on 25 Falcon shots as BG struggled to get pressure on net all night.

“It’s another hard loss,” said BG coach Scott Paluch. “But as difficult as it’s been down the stretch here, I believe we’ve taken some steps here to becoming a pretty good playoff team. I think we’re playing much better defensively and I think we’ve made some strides here the last few games.”

Ryan Jones notched the game-winner for the RedHawks on the power play at the 17:47 mark of the second period for his second goal of the night. He was able to deflect line-mate Matt Davis’ shot off his shoulder and over Horrell from in front of the net to give the RedHawks a 2-0 lead as they never trailed on the night.

“I didn’t even see it,” Horrell said of the game-winner. “From what I’d heard about it, it hit a shoulder and kind of went the opposite direction of which way the guy was leaning and kind of went over his shoulder and went down and in.”

In the last minute, the RedHawks stood strong and held off a strong surge by the Falcons with an extra-attacker, as BG couldn’t get a bounce to go their way despite numerous chances off deflections and good strong pressure on the net.

BG was able to muster-up 12 shots on goal in the final period, but only found the net once, as they were held to just 13 shots in the first

two periods.

Finally, in the third period, the Falcons were able to get one of their best chances of the night on their second 5-on-3 power play and buried it. Mike Falk knocked home a pass from Jonathan Matsumoto from the bottom of the left circle to pull BG within 2-1 with 5:08 remaining. Alex Foster assisted on the play.

The Falcons only were able to generate seven shots on the night with the extra-man, going 1-10. The RedHawks finished 1-8 on the night on the power play.

“Their penalty kill is so strong,” Paluch said of the RedHawks, who came in as the top penalty-killing team in the country. “It’s frustrating. We had 10 power plays tonight and we didn’t have enough possession. They did a tremendous job of winning pucks and clearing pucks and that’s a reason why they’re a championship team.”

That same defense which has made the RedHawks the third ranked team in the country controlled the game right from its start. With nine minutes to go in the opening period the Falcons only had two shots on net as the Miami defense smothered the Falcons in each zone of the ice.

Horrell came up big for the Falcons all night, making save after save on the other end to give them a chance all throughout, but the Falcons couldn’t get the goals to reward him for his efforts.

“I thought he was really good,” Paluch said of Horrell. “A couple of games he has had some numbers going against him. Tonight he battled extremely hard and he kept the game right where we could have a chance.”

Paluch’s counterpart agreed with him.

“What a great game he played,” said Miami coach Enrico Blasi. “It was senior night. It’s just the way you are suppose to go out, playing just a great game and I thought he was fantastic.”

Horrell’s biggest save on the night came in the third period when he gloved a second chance backhand by RedHawk defenseman Mitch Ganzak to keep the game 2-1. He also dove on top of a puck that was rolling in on a mishap behind the night on the Falcons final power play of the night with just five minutes to play.

However, Horrell was unable to stop a 2-on-1 in the first period that lead to Miami’s first goal by Jones. His shot found the left side of the net after a mishap by the Falcons in the neutral zone as Miami took a 1-0 lead at the 8:23 mark.

With the loss the Falcons now fall to 13-20-2 on the season with a CCHA record of 8-17-2. Miami moved to 22-7-4 with a CCHA record of 19-6-2.

BG will finish its regular season tomorrow night in Oxford, wrapping up their two-game series.