Petruska delivers shootout win again

Rsatkow and Rsatkow

BG hockey is peaking at the right time.

Following their series split with Michigan State over the weekend, including a thrilling shootout win on senior night, the Falcons have won three of their last four games.

“The end of the season is extremely important because you want to be at your peak heading to the playoffs,” said senior Tomas Petruska, who netted the winner in the third round of the shootout Saturday.

With all of the hype surrounding Saturday’s game, the Falcons still had to play a game Friday at Michigan State, their senior night, and BG came out flat, giving up three goals in the first period in an eventual 5-2 loss.

“I’m very disappointed with our team effort. I don’t think we came out with a lot of jump,” said interim head coach Dennis Williams. “We came out hard in the second, but to spot a team like Michigan three goals, that’s going to be hard to come back from.”

Nick Eno got the start for the Falcons and was pulled 18 minutes into the game after giving up three goals on 13 shots.

The Falcons got on the board 2:58 into the second period, on Josh Boyd’s sixth goal of the year. However, BG could not tally another in the period, and the Spartans were able to get two more against Andrew Hammond, who came in for Eno.

In the third, Marc Rodriguez got his third goal of the year, deflecting Reed Rushing’s point shot past Spartan goalie Drew Palmisano.

Saturday was a much better day for the Falcons, as they were able to pull a shootout win on senior night, in front of a crowd of 3,027, the largest at the BGSU Ice Arena this year.

Prior to the game, the team’s eight seniors were honored, as was former Falcon and 1980 United States Olympian Ken Morrow, who dropped the ceremonial first puck.

The Spartans struck first again, as Andrew Rowe deflected a point shot past Hammond eight minutes into the game. 

Kyle Page nearly tied the game with two minutes remaining in the first, but his shot rang off the right post.

BG tied the game 3:42 into the second period, as David Solway beat Palmisano from the slot on the power play. The goal started an upswing in momentum for the Falcons, as they out shot Michigan 16-10 in the period, despite getting only one goal.

BG took the lead early in the third period, when Jordan Samuels-Thomas received a pass to the left of Palmisano, decked him as he made an aggressive play for the puck, and tapped it into the empty net.

The score remained steady until five minutes left in the game, when Hammond made a save on a point shot, lost the puck in a crowd of bodies in front of the net and Spartan forward Chris Forfar knocked it in.

“It was right against my pad, and their guy was right on top of me so I couldn’t really freeze it,” Hammond said. “Then he kind of kicked it to the other guy, and I couldn’t really move.”

Despite the goal, Hammond played well in the game, stopping 34 of 36 shots, and he was at his best down the stretch, making several great saves in the last five minutes of the third and in overtime.

“I thought that Andrew held his own for five periods of hockey this weekend,” Williams said. “He’s a kid that, if you just focus on him and not the score, you would never know what the score is because he’s always so calm in net; I thought he did a very nice job and was the reason we were able to stay in the game.”

For the second time in their last two series, the Falcons headed to a shootout.

David Solway appeared to give the Falcons a 1-0 after the first round, but the goal was disallowed, as the referee determined that Solway had stopped forward motion on his shot attempt.

Hammond did not have to hold strong in the last two rounds, as both Spartans’ shooters missed the net. After a James Perkin miss, Petruska beat Palmisano five-hold to seal the win on senior night.

“I think it’s special [to win for the seniors],” Hammond said. “They’ve been here for four years, they’ve been through the ups and downs of the program, and to get that for them on their last night, it’s special.

“You can tell in the room right now, it means a lot to them and it should.”

After both teams had left the ice, the seniors came back out for one final salute to the home fans.

As the 11th seed in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs, the Falcons will head to Nebraska next weekend for a best-of-three series with sixth seed Nebraska-Omaha.