February 25, 2012 - 12:32am
BY STEPHEN J. NESBITT
BOWLING GREEN — It wasn't who scored the quickest, it was who scored last.
It took just 38 seconds for the No. 3 Michigan hockey team to dial up an offense blitz to jump ahead of Bowling Green.
Then it took the Falcons just eight seconds to answer.
Before a minute had ticked off the clock at the BGSU Ice Arena on Friday night, Michigan and Bowling Green had seen a lead change and two ties. And it hardly slowed down from there, with Michigan outlasting the first-period burst but losing the battle to the Falcons, 4-3.
Considering that Michigan (14-9-4-1 CCHA, 20-11-4 overall) was eyeing a run at the CCHA regular-season title – standing six points back of No. 1 Ferris State at the start of play on Friday — and the Falcons are planted firmly in the conference cellar entering the final regular-season series, the matchup provided more thrill than expected.
“You score the first goal on the first shift of the game, but then you give up one on the next shift? Come on,” said Michigan coach Red Berenson. “We’ve got to be better than that.”
With the game deadlocked early after goals by Michigan freshman forward Phil Di Giuseppe and Falcon third-liner Chad Sumsion, the Wolverines kept the early scoring brigade alive with a tally by senior forward David Wohlberg at 4:58 of the first period.
Michigan fifth-year senior goaltender Shawn Hunwick was nipped again midway through the first period on a power-play goal by Falcon foward Camden Wojtala to bring the game to a 2-2 tie.
The back-and-forth affair continued through the first period and into the second. Both goaltenders — Hunwick and Bowling Green's Andrew Hammond — both recovered from their early woes.
Despite the barnburner first period, goals were hard to come by for the remainder of the game.
The only other blemishes for either goalie were crucial — one belonged to Hammond, and two to Hunwick.
With just under three minutes remaining in the second period, freshman forward Alex Guptill — a force on the offensive end all evening — led a rush up the ice, dished into the corner and finished on a centering pass by Wohlberg to put Michigan back up, 3-2.
Then the ice tilted.
Although more of a breakdown by his defense than any fault of his own, Hunwick was beaten by a backhand wrist shot for the equalizer by Bowling Green forward Adam Berkle with 6:47 remaining in the game.
And with just under 90 seconds remaining, a costly turnover in the Michigan zone led to a snap shot between the circles by Bowling Green's Bryce Williamson that beat Hunwick for the late game-winner.
Four goals for the Falcons (5-18-4-3, 10-20-5) was their most since a Nov. 19 tie with Miami (Ohio). Michigan's loss snapped a three-game winning streak.
“We knew (Bowling Green is) a desperate team, but those are proud players over there,” Berenson said. “They don’t want to be embarrassed. They came out here and outplayed us, outworked us and outscored us.”
With the win — Bowling Green's fifth of the season — it knocks Michigan out of contention for first place in the CCHA, even with another game tomorrow night.
“We just didn’t do the little things right,” Wohlberg said. “We knew coming in what we had to do and we didn’t do it. Period.”
LIVE BLOG RECAP:
— Check back to michigandaily.com on Saturday afternoon for the live blog of the regular-season finale from Bowling Green.