Tech drops 4th straight, falls 2-1 to Bowling Green
HOUGHTON — Sometimes when things are going wrong, the best thing to do is go home and regroup.
But a home game couldn’t fix No. 20 Michigan Tech’s losing streak. Instead, the Huskies dropped their fourth contest in a row, losing 2-1 to Bowling Green State at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena.
It proved to be a new game with the same problems: penalty kill, power play and shot selection.
The penalty kill is an issue that won’t go away for Tech (4-5-1, 2-4-1 WCHA) and head coach Joe Shawhan is still looking for a solution. Bowling Green (5-3-1, 3-1-1 WCHA) scored both of its goals on the power play, going 2-for-4 on the game.
“Again, our special teams are letting us down,” Shawhan said. “That is as much on the coaches as on anyone else. We aren’t solving those issues. We think we are getting the penalty kill going but then two goals end up in our net.”
Bowling Green had 28 shots on goal against junior keeper Devin Kero, who made his first start of the season. Kero recorded 26 saves.
“I thought Devin did a great job for us,” Shawhan said. “His numbers will always be good and he will always do what we ask of him.”
The first period was full of back-and-forth action, and when the buzzer sounded, Tech and Bowling Green were tied at 1, with nine shots apiece.
From the game’s start, it was only a matter of time until Tech scored. The Huskies had two good looks from senior winger Joel L’Esperance, but it was a Bowling Green penalty that led to their first goal. Lukas Craggs went to the box for hooking, setting up a Tech power play.
Then at 13:56, freshman winger Justin Misiak connected with fellow wing, sophomore Thomas Beretta. Misiak fired the puck across the ice as Beretta bolted toward the net, sliding the puck between Bowling Green goalie Eric Dop and the left post.
Bowling Green had five penalties in the period, including two that put Tech in a 5-on-3 situation. But the Huskies failed to capitalize. Instead, it was the Falcons that took advantage of a power play. At 12:46, Greyson Reitmeier was whistled for hooking and John Schilling evened the score at 1-1.
“On the power play we had our chances,” Shawhan said. “We had a 5-on-3 opportunity and didn’t generate any shots, and we are trying to resolve those issues. We keep thinking we are getting close and then we realize we aren’t as close as we need to be.”
In the second period, Bowling Green seemed to snatch the momentum. The Huskies had only four shots and didn’t put one on goal until 11 minutes into the period. They were plagued with sloppy play, and by the end of the second Bowling Green had taken a 2-1 lead, which the Falcons held through the third.
Schilling, who didn’t have a point coming into the game, scored his second goal of the night in the second period after Seamus Donohue was called for holding.
Special teams, Shawhan said, made the ultimate difference in the game.
According to senior captain, Brent Baltus, the Huskies were too stingy with their shot selection. Tech took 22 shots in the game, a number that needs to increase if the team wants to have success going forward.
“We didn’t really get to the dirty areas,” he said. “In this league, a lot of goals come on second-chance looks, so we have to find a way to get to the net and find loose pucks.”
Most of Tech’s shots came from the edges of the ice, as Bowling Green forced the Huskies into low-percentage looks.
“We have to get off the wall,” Shawhan said. “We are easy to defend when the walls work against us, when all we do is push it straight up the boards. There is an area of the ice where you have to be good in, and we need our guys to really embrace playing in those areas.”
Tech will get another chance to snap its losing streak, Saturday at 7:07 in the MacInness Student Ice Arena when the Huskies take on Bowling Green for the second time.
Bowling Green 1 1 0 – 2
Michigan Tech 1 0 0 – 1
Tech- Thomas Beretta (Justin Misiak, Dane Birks), 6:04, 1-0.
BGSU -John Schilling (Connor Ford, Brandon Kruse), 12:46, 1-1.
BGSU – Schilling (Brett D’Andrea, Alec Rauhauser)
Tech – Jake Jackson (Michael Neville, Shane Hanna), 12:25, 2-0
BGSU, Eric Dop 8 4 9 – 21
Tech, Devin Kero 8 11 7 – 26
BGSU: 8/16; Tech: 5/10
BGSU: 2/4; Tech 1/6.