Falcons fly high in electrifying home opener

Momo Pfaff and Momo Pfaff

Oct. 23

Frenzied Falcons fans filled the Madhouse on Mercer stands Oct. 23 as BGSU beat the Miami RedHawks 6-4. The second game of their home-at-home series took place in the Slater Family Ice Arena as fans were welcomed back to see the Falcons players give their all. Although Miami showed strong efforts in the first half of the game, BGSU’s soaring confidence and positive attitude allowed them to take the win.

The Falcons had to overcome many obstacles in a hard-fought win against the RedHawks, especially in the second and third period. Four penalties were called on the Falcons in the second, and a five-minute major was called in the third on Falcon sophomore Anton Malmström for contact to the head on Miami defenseman Robby Drazner.

Despite the tough hurdles and high tensions, the Falcons were able to keep their confidence and momentum going to kill the 5 minutes and go on to win the contest in the end.

BGSU forward Ethan Scardina, who got the Falcons their first goal of the contest, says that confidence, positivity, and hard work are what keep the players going in difficult situations. “We work so hard during the week, and it pays off during the weekends,” Scardina says. “In those moments, you can’t crash and go all negative. You have to stay positive and I am very happy with that effort. We got that win because of our effort.” The efforts definitely paid off as the Falcons dominated in the second half of the game to put up points in front of their passionate fans.

The beginning of the first period was taken over by Miami’s offense as RedHawks’ winger Chase Gresock fired one in, past Falcons’ goaltender Zack Rose under a minute into the contest. Less than 5 minutes later, a penalty was called on RedHawks’ defenseman Robby Drazner for tripping. The Falcons’ only power play of the game converted into a goal by Ethan Scardina, making it his third straight game with a point on the board.

Bowling Green continued to put shots on goal, but was interrupted by another RedHawks’ goal by Gresock at 9:49, making the score 2-1. The rest of the period was filled with close opportunities to tie up the game, but the Falcons would soon make up for it in the later periods.

The second period was first met with a Falcons penalty on Falcons’ senior Coale Norris for holding. Despite killing off the 2 minutes, the RedHawks’ added another to the board with a wrister by Miami winger Ryan Savage. The score was now 3-1, and the rowdy Falcon fanatics desperately wanted to see their team retaliate.

Another Falcons’ penalty on defenseman Max Coyle for elbowing manifested into another hurdle for BG, but the Falcons were able to overcome it as they killed off the penalty and got a goal from Coyle right out of the penalty box. The score was now 3-2 and the team radiated with confidence for retaliation. Just 17 seconds later, BG forward Nathan Burke tapped in the puck past Miami goalie Ludvig Persson from an assist by BG freshman Austen Swankler after a one timer attempt.

The teams were tied up 3-3, and the momentum on the Slate ice was back. Unfortunately, a penalty on Falcons senior Coale Norris allowed for a power play goal by Miami’s Thomas Daskas, and the pace was suddenly slowed down. The board now read 4-3. A fourth penalty haunted the Falcons at 13:11 as forward Sam Craggs was sent to the box for boarding. Bowling Green held on and killed the penalty, keeping Miami just one goal ahead.

BGSU shined in the third period, starting the period with a goal by Falcons’ freshman Spencer Schneider. The crowd erupted in cheers, as the Falcons and the RedHawks were tied up at 4-4.

The Falcons kept putting offensive pressure on Miami, which translated into the first lead for BGSU as Falcons’ forward Austen Swankler got his second collegiate goal to make it 5-4. At 12:30 came the five minute major on Falcons’ defenseman Anton Malmstrom for contact to the head. Tensions rose, but BG was able to kill off the penalty with strong defense and even some offensive opportunities. BGSU’s hard-work ethic was illustrated in the last few minutes of the third, and Miami was feeling the pressure. They pulled Persson from the net at 18:21 to take advantage of the extra man and get the 5th goal, but Falcons’ Coale Norris was able to get an empty netter at 19:46 to seal the deal for the Falcons’ first home win of the season. BGSU fans were ecstatic as their first in-person home game in many months ended up in a thrilling win.

After an exciting game at home, the Falcons will be back on the road against Bemidji State to look for another consecutive win. The game will take place on Oct. 29 at Sanford Center in Bemidji, Minnesota. Puck drop is set at 8:07 pm.

Oct. 22

The Bowling Green State University Falcons took on the Miami Redhawks in a packed Goggin Ice Center and walked away with a tie in their third consecutive overtime game. This is the first time these two teams have met this season, and they will face the Redhawks again Saturday night for BGSU hockey’s home opener.

The energy and excitement were high in Goggin Center as fans sold out the game in order to enjoy a hockey game in the stands again. The thrill was even higher as former head coach Chris Bergeron and former Falcons defenseman Will Cullen now were at the opposite bench.

The Redhawks had the upper hand in the first period. They were met with faceoff wins and shots while BGSU was met with missed opportunities and a slower start to the game. Winning faceoffs and getting shots on net made their confidence grow, as Miami forward Joe Cassetti grabbed a rebound from senior Miami forward Jack Olmstead to make the score 1-0 less than five minutes into the game. The Falcons were not able to curate any responses to the Redhawks’ dominant first period, with 3 power plays resulting in 0 goals.

The Falcons gained momentum in the second period, starting with an early power play. Although the special teams had not lit up the lamp, the Falcons felt more confident than in the first period with 5 shots within that power play.

As Bowling Green was just on the rise, Miami defenseman Alec Capstick tapped in a rebound at 6:29 as BGSU goalie Zack Rose tried to keep control of a loose puck. Just 20 seconds later, Falcons sophomore Ethan Scardina fired a laser of a shot past Miami goalie Ludvig Persson, making the score 2-1.

The Falcons kept grinding to keep the pace going, and it paid off when Falcons senior Coale Norris got a long pass along the boards to Falcons freshman Austen Swankler. Swankler took advantage of this long pass and managed to fire one into the net, making the score 2-2 at 15:45 of the 2nd.

Bowling Green proved to be dominant in the second, and continued their momentum into the third period and into overtime. In the third, BGSU had the upper hand in shots, ending the third with 27-24 in shots. The pressure of this old rivalry matchup grew even greater when both teams held on for overtime. The Falcons dominated again, winning the opening overtime faceoff and getting 4 shots at the net. Although BGSU showed fantastic effort in fighting back against the Redhawks, the game ended in a 2-2 tie. Overall shots were 30-25, favoring Bowling Green.

Falcons forward Austen Swankler shined in this matchup in Oxford. The former Erie Otters forward’s outstanding skills in the preseason translated well into the regular season, with a goal and 9 shots. With the second goal of the contest for Bowling Green, Swankler was able to get his first collegiate goal.

Bowling Green State University and Miami University will be on the ice yet again for BGSU Hockey’s home opener game at the Slater Family Ice Arena. Puck drop is set for 7:07pm.