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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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BGSU hockey defeats Alabama Huntsville; Senior goalie sees first career action

While the BGSU hockey team (18-8-1) defeated the Alabama-Huntsville Chargers (3-13-1) 5-0 on Wednesday, it was a late game substitution that stole the show at Slater Family Ice Arena.

Bowling Green senior netminder Brett Rich is a walk-on from Bowling Green High School and has never seen game action in his four years as a Falcon. When Falcons captain and senior forward Connor Ford scored at the 18 minute mark of the third period, it was time for the Falcons to get Rich.

“(The team) was as excited as he was for this opportunity,” Falcons Head

Coach Ty Eigner said after the victory. “He’s been a huge part of this program. He’s taken full advantage of this opportunity and he earned everything he’s gotten and I couldn’t be more happy for Brett and couldn’t be more proud of the kind of teammate he is and what he means to this program.”

As the team’s third goalie for the past four seasons Rich has mainly been seen by fans opening a door on the Falcons bench during games but he does so much more. Rich provides an extra netminder in practice and in-case of injury. He also is a great team player, who regardless of ice time, keeps the rest of his teammates upbeat.

“It really means a lot (being a BGSU Falcon) … I can’t really express what it means to me,” Rich said. “I can’t imagine it going any better than it has these last four years. For all of it to culminate with me being able to get into a game and to see the reaction from all of my teammates, it means a lot. I think it’s a great way to end my final home game here. ”

It must be noted that junior goalie Eric Dop had a shutout through 58 minutes when Rich went in. Rich said he hopes Dop is able to still register a shutout.

The game was dedicated to the first hockey coach in BGSU history, the late Jack Vivian. Vivian, who passed away in February of 2021, helped to create the Falcons hockey program as well as the CCHA. Vivian truly did so much for the Falcon program, that it was fitting for them to succeed in his honor on Wednesday night.

The first period saw the Falcons outplay and outshoot the Chargers but fail to score. Late in the first Sam Craggs got a penalty Craggs retained his anger from the penalty because five minutes into the third period he was given a 10-minute misconduct for abuse of officials.

The Falcons first goal of the night came from Ford almost 10 minutes into the first period. It was his 13th goal this season. Will Cullen got in on the assist.

A minute and a half later, senior Max Johnson fired an absolute laser-beam from the top of the left circle past the Charger netminder. Johnson’s blast came from fellow senior forward Brandon Kruse with the secondary going to senior defenseman Carson Musser.

With the Chargers goaltender clearly rattled and shaken, the Falcons would score to go up 3-0 just a minute later as Kruse flung a wrister on net that skunk home. Johnson and senior forward Cameron Wright picked up assists on the play, with Wright registering his 99th point as a Falcon.

“Cameron Wright is on 99 points, we were trying to get him to 100 there late, it’s not for lack of attempts because he got a lot of attempts, that’s for sure,” Eigner said with a chuckle postgame.

Another first happened with four minutes left in the second period as freshman defenseman by way of Sweden, Anton Malmstrom, recorded his first goal as a Falcon. The marker came on a very long delayed penalty where the Falcons were toying with the Chargers for the perfect opportunity. The opportunity came when the ever-dangerous Kruse fed Malmstrom at the top of the left circle who fired a strong, left-handed slap shot into the net. Sophomore defenseman T.J. Lloyd got an assist on Malmstrom’s goal.

“He made a real nice shot. He got his head up and he waited with a real good poise play and he picked his spot. Really happy to see that for Anton. The guys were really happy to see that for Anton,” Eigner said.

The final touches of the night came as Ford deposited goal number 14 this season on a feed from junior forward Alex Barber, before the Falcons brought in Rich.

The came was a faceoff against an old foe for Falcon’s sophomore defenseman Max Coyle. Coyle played 34 games for the Chargers last season before transferring to Bowling Green when it looked like the Huntsville program was going to get shut down.

The Falcons will look to continue their success against the Chargers, who they outshot 41-11, when the two teams meet for the regular season finale on Sunday in Huntsville, Alabama.

After that the Falcons will have a week and a half break before WCHA playoffs begin. The Falcons are hopeful that senior forward Gavin Gould will be ready to return to the lineup when the playoffs begin, as he is dealing with a leg injury.

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