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No. 16 Falcons edge No. 17 Huskies, 3-2

Michigan Tech’s Trenton Bliss shoots against Bowling Green on Friday, Jan. 10, 2020, in Houghton, Mich. (David Archambeau/Daily Mining Gazette)

HOUGHTON — Bowling Green didn’t tip-toe around flat-footed Michigan Tech.

The No. 16 Falcons (12-9-1, 7-6-1-1 WCHA) wore down the No. 17 Huskies with a relentless forecheck en route to a 3-2 win Friday.

Bowling Green came into Friday with every intention of reversing the misfortunes of the previous week. The Falcons had lost four games including a sweep last week by Northern Michigan. Needless to say, they made it a point to set the tone early Friday. And they did.

“We’ve obviously had a difficult last week. We wanted to try to get off to the best start we could. It was important for us that we get off to a good start and feel good and be on our toes and get opportunities. We felt from the drop of the puck on, we played the way we wanted to play. The good start certainly helps — get everybody on the bench going, get everybody involved in the game and it gives you some momentum.”

The Huskies (13-10-1, 8-6) fell to a 3-0 deficit before finishing the game stronger than they started.

Huskies sophomore Seamus Donohue snapped a wrist shot past Bowling Green goalie Eric Dop halfway through to make it a 3-2 game. Donohue was given the scoring chance off a pass from Trenton Bliss. Justin Misiak also assisted.

But it was too little too late for Tech. The Huskies pulled Blake Pietila from the net, but never found a late high-quality scoring chance to tie.

“I thought we were a little flat in terms of who the aggressor was,” Michigan Tech assistant coach Dallas Steward said. “I thought they were the aggressor and we were the aggressee. We need to take it more to them and show them who’s boss on home ice. Just like anything in life, you gotta respond. I thought we started out on our heels rather than our toes.”

The Huskies didn’t get their first shot on goal until Donohue let fly a wrist shot nearly 15 minutes into the first. Bowling Green outshot Tech 12-4 in the first period and 30-16 total.

The successful run the Huskies have had the last couple months — going 10-4-1 since mid-November and winning the Great Lakes Invitational — was somewhat stunted with Friday’s loss. The Huskies have lost two of the last three games and illness has impacted the locker room. But illness wasn’t a determining factor on the ice, freshman Parker Saretsky said.

“It’s going around for sure. Impact? No,” Saretsky said. “We had 21 healthy guys ready to compete today. Unfortunately we weren’t ready at the start and it came back to bite us in the end.”

With the win, Bowling Green inched ahead of Michigan Tech in conference standings. The Huskies were a point ahead of the Falcons heading into Friday.

“I think ultimately they were the aggressor tonight. And we were on our heels,” Steward said. “I don’t think it was so much for me and our staff, a gameplan, it was just executing what we already know to do and winning the battles where you versus him, making 200-foot plays versus turning pucks over in the neutral zone. If you don’t have a play, make the right play and we had a really good gameplan put together.

“At the end of the day, I thought the difference was where they were the aggressor and we weren’t in 50-50s and managing pucks.”

The first home game of the decade didn’t get off to a good start for the Huskies. Bowling Green outpaced Tech all night, holding puck possession and establishing zone time. It grinded Tech’s shifts, making the Huskies tired and, when they finally got the puck, were only able to get it across center ice to dump it for a line change.

Senior defenseman Alec Rauhauser gave Bowling Green a 3-0 lead with a short-handed wrist shot past Matt Jurusik late in the second period. He gained the puck in the neutral zone, entered Tech’s zone on the left side, and let go a wrist shot around the top of the circle that beat Jurusik.

Tech’s one bright spot was its power-play opportunities. The man-advantage opportunities through the game culminated with Saretsky’s power-play goal with five seconds remaining in the second, about a minute and a half after Rauhauser’s goal. Alec Broetzman, at the top of the left circle, passed across the slot to Saretsky at the backdoor. Saretsky missed the forehand shot, regrouped and backhanded it past Dop to cut the score to 3-1 with his fourth of the season. Colin Swoyer got the secondary assist.

Eigner said the Falcons’ success against Tech didn’t hinge on any particular play, but rather it was putting together one good shift after another.

“I felt how we played early was just wasn’t one line or one pair of D or one person, there were stretches in that first period where it was one, two, three, four, back to the top,” Eigner said. “Then we get to the TV timeout and start over again. I thought the play Rauhauser made to make it 3-0 was a great play. Unfortunately we shouldn’t have been in that situation, short-handed. We would love to not be in that situation, but he made a big time play. I can’t put my finger on one play, but I just felt like we had a bunch of guys playing the game the way we wanted to play.”

Pietila played the third period after Jurusik played the first two. Steward gave no reasoning for Jurusik being pulled, as it was head coach Joe Shawhan’s decision.

Jurusik made 21 saves in 40 minutes. Pietila made six saves in the third period.

Jurusik tried to send the puck around the boards in the first period, but flipped it right into Cameron Wright, who took possession and beat Jurusik to the far side of the net with a wraparound. It put Bowling Green up a goal five minutes into the game.

That goal was set up by the Falcons’ pressure up to that point. Tech had gotten the puck out to Bowling Green’s blue line for a line change. The Falcons dumped it in, when Jurusik then coughed it up for the goal.

The Falcons added another goal from Connor Ford about halfway through the second. The goal was assisted by Rauhauser and Taylor Schneider.

Michigan Tech hosts Bowling Green at 6:07 p.m. Saturday.

NOTES: The 2020 NCAA National Championship trophy was on display beside the MacInnes Cup at the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena on Friday. Michigan Tech won the MacInnes Cup during the 55th Great Lakes Invitational after defeating Michigan 4-2. … MTU defenseman Keegan Ford was scratched because of an upper body injury sustained during practice this week.

Bowling Green 1 2 0 — 3

Michigan Tech 0 1 1 — 2

First Period–1, BGSU, Wright, 5:34. Penalties–BGSU, Craggs (interference), 17:39.

Second Period–2, BGSU, Ford (Rauhauser, Schneider), 13:25, pp. 3, BGSU, Rauhauser (Ford), 18:33, sh. 4, MTU, Saretsky (Broetzman, Swoyer), 19:54, pp. Penalties–BGSU, Letourneau (slashing), 0:28. MTU, Bliss (delay of game), 0:32. MTU, Watson (high-sticking), 8:56. MTU, Buckley (tripping), 12:38. BGSU, Barber (elbowing), 17:34. BGSU, Dougherty (high-sticking), 19:28.

Third Period–5, MTU, Donohue (Bliss, Misiak), 9:29. Penalties–MTU, Kiilunen (tripping), 4:22. BGSU, Kruse (tripping), 13:18.

Shots on Goal–BGSU 12-12-6–30. MTU 4-5-7–16.

Power-play Opportunities–BGSU 1 of 4. MTU 1 of 5.

Goalies–BGSU, Dop 4-4-6–14. MTU, Jurusik 11-10-0–21, Pietila 0-0-6–6.

A–2,413. T–2:15.

Referees–Brady Johnson, Robert Lukkason. Linesmen–Tyler Landman, Paul Tunison.

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