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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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BG snapped its six-game unbeaten streak with loss to Western Michigan 2-1


Dajon Mingo | Forward

The BG hockey team’s unbeaten streak was finally quelled, but not before it claimed another victim.

The Falcons defeated No. 10 Western Michigan, 3-2, at home Friday night to run the streak to six games. The Broncos came back to defeat BG, 2-1, Saturday night.

The pinnacle of action Friday night began with 8:27 remaining in the third period. With the Falcons clinging to a 3-2 lead, BG forward Brent Tate was given a five-minute major penalty for checking from behind. In the ensuing post-whistle scrum, Western Michigan’s Josh Pitt was given a two-minute roughing minor.

For two minutes, the teams were to skate four-on-four and then Western would have a three-minute continuous power play.

However, a minute and two seconds into that four-on-four, BG defenseman Ryan Peltoma was also given a five-minute major for checking from behind.

“It’s one of those things you never prepare for,” said BG defenseman Mike Sullivan. “Every option you have going into a game, you never expect to be down 5-on-3 with two five minute [majors].”

Now the Broncos would be on a 4-on-3 power play for 58 seconds, and then would have a 5-on-3 power play for three minutes, no matter how many times they scored.

“To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever seen that, to have two five-minute majors,” said BG goalie Andrew Hammond.

At that point, Western had already notched a power play goal: a Kenney Morrison one-timer blast from the left point that tied the game at two late in the second period.

Over and over again, the Broncos tried to go back to that play, but a BG defender would deflect the pass. Western would turn it over and the Falcons would clear.

Momentum was clearly shifting toward the Falcons’ side as BG continued to clear the zone and the crowd grew louder. Western Michigan coach Andy Murray called a timeout to attempt to settle the game down, but it didn’t work.

Hammond was key during the run. While the defenders in front of him were superb at blocking passing lanes and keeping the puck out of the slot, he made a number of big saves on the penalty kill.

“As a goalie, you’re just trying to do anything you can to keep the puck out of the net,” Hammond said. “The longer you go, the more momentum you start to build and feel good about the penalty kill.”

With just less than two and a half minutes to go in the third period, Ben Murphy — who was serving Peltoma’s penalty — stepped out of the box. Shorthanded for nearly six minutes with a one-goal lead late in the third period, BG had successfully killed off both penalties.

“Our guys stuck to the process, they were communicating and were in shot lanes, and for the most part, I think they let [Hammond] see pucks that he is supposed to see,” said BG coach Chris Bergeron. “When your best penalty killer is your goaltender, you have a chance to have a decent penalty kill.”

Western got on the board first with a late first period goal from Chase Balisy, who hammered home a rebound after a shot from Shane Berschbach rang off the post.

BG briefly went ahead in the second period thanks to a pair of goals, one from Mark Cooper and the other from Ryan Carpenter.

The Falcons went ahead for good just more than five minutes into the third period when Dajon Mingo knocked in a loose puck that resulted from Sullivan’s point shot hitting a Western Michigan defender.

“Their forward did a great job of blocking the shooting lane so I just kind of shot it to the right of the net,” Sullivan said. “Luckily it hit one of their defenseman’s skates and went right to Mingo.”

Saturday night, completing the back end of the home-and-home series in Kalamazoo, the Falcons were able to get on the board first, but could not muster much else against Broncos’ goalie Frank Slubowski in a 2-1 loss.

The Falcons had 19 shots in the game, compared to Western Michigan’s 35. Both goalies were strong —Hammond made 33 saves and Slubowski turned away 18 shots.

Carpenter scored his second of the weekend and 10th goal of the season midway through the first period. After Slubowski made the initial save, the puck bounced off Carpenter and went into the net. The goal was upheld by video review.

Western Michigan scored in each the second and third period, with Mike Leone scoring the game winner with just more than seven minutes to go in the third.

The Falcons return to the ice this weekend with a pair of games at Miami University. The RedHawks are ranked No. 6 in the nation.

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