BGSU hockey falters in second period, lose game 1 of WCHA playoffs

BGSU hockey lost to the Northern Michigan Wildcats on Friday night 4-3 in game one of the WCHA best-of-three opening round. 

Offensively the Falcons were led by junior forward Taylor Schneider, who scored a hat-trick but it was not enough. 

“We put together 40 minutes out of 60,” Schneider said after the game. “I liked how we played in the first and the third period. They took advantage of us in the second and that cost us.” 

While the Falcons outscored the Wildcats 17-5 during the regular season, Northern Michigan’s offense was ablaze on Friday night, scoring four in the second period. 

Special teams were a determining factor as the Falcons went 0-4 on the powerplay while the Wildcats went 2-4.

BGSU got off to a quick start as Schneider roofed a rebound from just in-front of the Wildcat net for his eighth of the season, 13:30 into the first period. Senior forward Sam Craggs and junior defenseman Tim Theocharidis assisted Schneider’s rebound goal. 

The Falcons went into the first intermission with an edge in shots 11-4 and started off the second period with chances. 

Less than a minute into the second frame, the Wildcats found themselves defending a 5-on-3. Northern Michigan fought through the penalty kill and would then take over.

Half-way in the second period, Northern Michigan tied the game up on the power-play as Alex Frye found the back of the net. Michiael Van Unen and Brandon Schultz got assists on Frye’s goal. 

“The first period was good, we got some opportunities and played really well,” Falcons head coach Ty Eigner said. “Unfortunately we weren’t able to capitalize on the power-play opportunities we got … things just unraveled a little in the second period. Some uncharacteristic mistakes and plays in the second.”  

Less than a minute later, with the Falcons on their heels, the Wildcats scored another as Michael Colella threw a puck on net that beat senior Falcons netminder Eric Dop making it 2-1 Wildcats. Colella’s goal was unassisted as it came after a Falcon giveaway. 

Under three minutes later, with the Falcons still reeling and on the short-hand, the Wildcats made it 3-1. The power-play goal was scored by Griffin Loughran with assists to Van Unen and AJ Vanderbeeck. 

Schultz put the Wildcats up 4-1 with the eventual game winning goal with less than three minutes remaining in the second frame. Vanderbeeck got his second assist of the night on the goal. 

The Falcons would fight back in the third, but it would be too little, too late. 

Coming out of the gates in the last period with intensity, the Falcons scored 1:45 into the period as Schneider tucked home a shot from the slot. Seniors, forward Cameron Wright and defenseman Justin Wells picked up assists. The point was number 100 in the four-year career of Wright as a Falcon. 

Schneider finished off his hat-trick half-way through the third period, as the Falcons scored just as an Wildcat penalty expired. Junior defenseman Will Cullen and Tim Theocharidis assisted on Schneiders 10th goal this season. 

The Falcons will be back at Slater Family Ice Arena against Northern Michigan tonight where they will try to force a deciding game three on Sunday. Puck is set to drop at 7:07 p.m.