BGSU hockey advances to NCAA Tournament despite championship loss

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The Falcons played the top divisional ranked Minnesota State Mankato Mavericks in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Finals Saturday, dropping a 3-2 heartbreaker in overtime.

“We just lost our poise and our focus,” head coach Chris Bergeron said. “It’s very difficult to simulate that type of situation. We hadn’t been in a situation like that this season with what was at stake, and we found our way on the wrong side of plays. … The responsibility is mine; it falls on me. … The momentum hurt us.”

The scoring started with junior Frederic Letourneau doing what he does best and using his speed. Those wheels got him an open shot opportunity, and he did not miss. Letourneau found the smallest opening over the Maverick goalies left shoulder to put BG up in the first, with helpers in forward Taylor Schneider and defenseman Will Cullen.

The score remained locked at 1-0 after a back-and-forth second period.

Quickly into the third period, a Maverick player ran Schneider into the boards from behind earning himself an ejection from the game and giving the Falcons a five-minute man advantage. They took advantage as junior defenseman Alec Rauhauser found twine on helpers from sophomore forwards Connor Ford and Max Johnson. The goal was Johnson’s 11th point of the postseason.

The Falcons controlled the game for the first 58 minutes, and college hockey games are 60 minutes long. With time running out and down by 2 points, the Mavericks pulled their goalie for an extra attacker with three minutes left.

The Mavericks scored back-to-back goals in under 30 seconds with their goalie pulled to send the game into overtime. This took all the momentum from the Falcons. Once the home crowd got back into this one, it was going to be hard to take them out again.

“I thought we were taking away time and space, and we were playing hard, which is who we are when we are at our best. I think we defend pretty well for the most part. When we did break down, Ryan was there to make saves. That’s who we are when we’re playing good hockey. I thought we did that for 58 minutes,” Bergeron said.

With all the momentum on the side of the Mavericks, they quickly scored the game-winner less than two minutes into overtime earning another WCHA Championship.

“It’s tough. We’ve got to turn the page, and we just had an opportunity to win something, and it’s always really sad, and we will think about it for a few days. There’s another championship at stake, and we’ve just got to move on. That’s our next goal, winning the next game,” Letourneau said.

Even with the loss, the Falcons were still able to lock up a spot in the college hockey tournament for the first time in over 25 years.