Falcons earn first CCHA win with split series against LSSU

Chayse Held and Chayse Held

A desperate BGSU hockey team was able to snap a four-game losing streak and collect its first Central Collegiate Hockey Association win of the season over Lake Superior State over the weekend.

After dropping the opening game of the home weekend series with the Lakers 3-1 on Friday, the Falcons answered back on Saturday with a 4-2 triumph and two critical points in the CCHA standings.

“We thought going into the game [Friday] that it’s an important part of playing in this league,” said coach Scott Paluch. “You have to be desperate all of the time. We’ve done it fairly consistently but we have to be that way to be successful.”

Forward Derek Whitmore opened up the scoring early for BG (3-4-1, 1-3-0) on Saturday with his team-leading seventh goal of the season coming at the 2:52 mark in the first period off of LSSU’s first-team CCHA goalie Jeff Jakaitis.

The Falcons added two more goals in the second from forwards Tomas Petruska (3) and Rich Meloche (2) to take a 3-0 advantage, leading LSSU coach Jim Roque to pull Jakaitis.

“The first goal in hockey is huge,” Whitmore said. “You want to come out hitting and playing hard right away. If we do that more often and come out strong getting the first goal, then I think we’re going to be a very successful hockey team.”

Lake Superior State (5-3-1, 2-2-0) would not go quietly though.

Third period goals from Dominic Osman and Trent Campbell tightened the game at 3-2 going into the final ten minutes of the game.

BG freshman James Perkin was able to stop the late LSSU comeback and put the game out of reach when he snuck in a well-placed wrist shot from the point to secure a 4-2 win. The score was Perkin’s first career goal as a Falcon.

The Falcon offensive attack was led by Whitmore, the first star of the game, and Petruska, who both added an assist to go along with their goals. Forward Jonathon Matsumoto recorded two assists, upping his total to seven on the season.

BG goalie Jimmy Spratt (2-2-0) had 26 saves in the win.

“Momentum switches and different things happen. You have to be prepared to play all 60 or 65 minutes every night,” Paluch said. “Looking at it, we got two out of the four points we wanted.”

Saturday’s win proved to be bittersweet for the Falcons as LSSU was able to get two points on the road Friday. BG out-shot the Lakers 35-32 on the night but Jakaitis lived up to his billing, stopping all but one shot in the Falcons 3-1 loss.

Forward Brandon Svendsen (1) scored the lone goal for BG with Kai Kantola and Perkin picking up an assist each.

Netminder Eddie Neville stopped 29 out of 32 LSSU shots for the Falcons in a losing effort.

BG travels to South Bend this coming weekend to battle Notre Dame in another pair of CCHA games.