Icers split with Spartans; now 4-9-3 in CCHA

Bowling Green’s Jordan Sigalet was the first star of the night twice this weekend, as the Falcons earned a split with the Michigan State Spartans. The Spartans stole the first game 1-0 on Friday, then the Falcons battled tough the next night to win the second game 3-2.

Sigalet earned CCHA defensive player of the week honors for the second time this season with a total of 79 saves on the weekend. The Falcons came out strong to begin the weekend and got 15 shots on net in the first period on Friday, compared to only 12 for the Spartans. Spartan goaltender Dominic Vicari and Sigalet came up big in a wide open period. Brett Pilkington had the best chance for the Falcons, as his shot from the left side hit the inside of the post and bounced out. The Spartans had a few 2 on 1 break-aways, but Sigalet came up big and made some outstanding saves to keep the game scoreless.

Sigalet would dominate the second period, as the Spartans put up 19 shots and were unable to capitalize on 2 power-plays. Ryan Minnabarriet had a break-away chance on Vicari mid-way through the period, but the goaltender made 1 of 9 saves in the period to keep his shut-out going.

Bryan Dobek came out in the final period and got some opportunities early, but still the Falcons had trouble getting the puck in the net.

Finally with only 5:33 left in the game, Colton Fretter put a back-handed shot past Sigalet to give the Spartans a 1-0 lead that they wouldn’t give up.

“I was coming out the corner and I was looking up to Jared Nightingale…I was going to throw it back to the point, then bust to the net for a shot,” Fretter said. “Their forward busted out to Jared so I just had an open lane to slot and I just went in and took a back-hand.”

Vicari recorded his fourth shut-out of the year making 34 saves on the night and Sigalet countered with 39.

“It was a real tough game to not get any points,” head coach Scott Paluch said. “I thought both teams played extremely well and the goalies were just outstanding. Both teams created chances and the goalies were outstanding throughout the whole night. In the game of hockey … both goalies play well like that and the goal that goes in is bouncing around.”

In the second game, the Falcons came out and got on the scoreboard early.

Just 2:31 in, Minnabariet struck on the power-play to give the Falcons a 1-0 lead with the assists going to Steve Brudzewski and Don Morrison. Morrison was able to get off a good pass from the left side to find Minnabarriet wide open for a one-timer into an open net past Vicari.

Sigalet once again was big for the Falcons making 8 saves in the period, including one on Spartan Ash Goldie in front.

In the second period, Sigalet once again made a big save on Goldie, as the Spartans best chance came off a hard shot by Corey Potter that went off the right post.

Mark Wires had a good short-handed break-away opportunity, then with 2:04 left in the period the Falcons got a two goal lead. Erik Eaton got his first goal of the year with assists going to Chris Pedota and Brian Escobedo to make it 2-0 BG.

Goldie finally found the net for the Spartans just 3:47 into the final period on a 5 on 3 power-play to make it 2-1 Falcons. Then Minnabarriet got his second goal of the night and fourth of the season just 6 minutes later to give BG a 3-1 cushion.

Goldie once again struck on a hard slapper from the point with just under 8 minutes left to make it 3-2.

The Falcons were down a man for most of the period and surrendered 23 shots to only 2, but Sigalet came up big making 40 saves on the night. The Falcons pulled out a 3-2 win despite the 42-19 difference in shots.

“There was no poor effort tonight,” Spartan head coach Rick Comley said. “I thought our kids played their hearts out and did everything they could. Sigalet was just outstanding and played great all night long.”

“I thought everything just kind of picked up where we left off last night,” Paluch said. “It was a great college hockey weekend for all six periods and I thought our team came right back tonight. We did a lot of things well and Jordan was outstanding again tonight.”

Minnabarriet had two goals on the night and he talked about how his team was more prepared for the second night.

“I think we were better mentally prepared tonight than last night,” Minnabarriet said. “We knew how close we came last night … so it added fuel to the fire and the captains did a good job of stepping up in the locker room, making sure everyone was ready for the game.”

The Falcons move to 6-12-6 on the year after the weekend with a league record of 4-9-3. They will play at Alaska-Fairbanks in an important CCHA battle next weekend.