Here are a few notes and quotes from the Bowling Green hockey team's win over Minnesota State at the BG Ice Arena Friday, Nov. 22. ...
- Sophomore Mark Cooper collected his first college hat-trick in the victory, which included scoring the game-winner with just 31.5 seconds left to play. “I got the puck in the corner and was looking to move it to the point, but Berkle told me not to do that,” Cooper said about his game-winner. “Then I fell, but me falling opened up some space to the net, so I threw it on net and fortunately it bounced in.”
Cooper's hat trick was the first for a Bowling Green player since Dan DeSalvo turned the trick at Ferris State on March 11, 2012, in the Falcons' 4-3 overtime win as part of the CCHA playoffs.
- Cooper's goal snapped a personal seven-game scoring drought. Cooper now has five goals this season, tying him with Brent Tate for third-most on the team. Bryce Williamson and Ben Murphy are tied for the team lead with six goals each.
“The last few games I’ve been getting changes, but I haven’t been finding the back of the net,” Cooper said. “This was kind of a monkey off my back. It’s a relief; now I can get back to playing my game and not worry as much about scoring.”
- Cooper got the Falcons on the board with a goal just 16 seconds into the second period. On the play Ralfs Freibergs seemed to shoot the puck over the net, and the puck bounced back out front, with Cooper knocking it into the net.
“It went off the glass, and it was in the air out front,” Cooper said. “Luckily I got my stick on it -– and [luckily] it wasn’t a high stick.”
- That goal was a power-play goal for the Falcons, which snapped an 0-for-23 drought on the power play. While BG was just 1-for-4 with the man advantage, that's a whole lot better than 0-for-23.
- I asked BG coach Chris Bergeron to talk about the first-intermission discussion in the Falcons lockerroom. Remember, Bowling Green was trailing Minnesota State 2-0 at that point, and I expected a blistering harang that would peel the paint off the walls.
“I can honestly tell you I didn’t say one word,” Bergeron said. “[Cam] Wojtala said, ‘I’ve got it,’ and that’s what you expect from your senior captain. It wasn’t his voice only. Our upperclassmen made sure everyone knew that wasn’t acceptable, and that we could all go up a level.”
- Whatever happened during the first intermission certainly worked, because BG scored just 16 seconds into the second period. It was a disputed goal by Cooper, with the officials using replay to see if he used a high stick to score.
“I think we got a good bounce on that first goal on our first shift of the second [period],” Bergeron said. “We’ll take the bounce. It gave us some momentum.”
- While the Falcons scored twice in the second period, they also managed to work off a seven-minute Minnesota State power-play. The Falcons' Sean Walker was caught hooking a Mavericks player, then during the delayed penalty Walker was called for checking from behind and given a game misconduct, which led to the seven-minute power play for MSU.
“I’ve never seen one before,” Bergeron said, who quickly added that he didn’t dispute the call. “But at that time, in a 2-2 game, it was a really gritty penalty kill – and I think we had two pretty good [scoring] chances.”
- Bergeron talked also about the game-tying goal Minnesota State got with 8:23 left in the third period. Bowling Green had taken a 3-2 lead on a short-handed goal by Adam Berkle, but MSU's Zach Stepan took control of the puck along the boards in the corner to the right of Falcons goalie Tommy Burke, then steered the puck on goal -- and past Burke. It seemed to take the life out of the Falcons, who struggled to keep the game tied heading into overtime.
“We can’t afford bad goals,” Bergeron said. “We’re fighting for every inch. … That’s not a puck that normally goes in from the corner. How does that not deflate you? How does it not deflate you for the next three or four minutes? We hung in there, but that’s all we did.”