The game was secondary Saturday night in Bowling Green.

Ice Hockey
Bowling Green goalie Jordan Sigalet faced Michigan on Friday. On Saturday, he announced he suffers from MS. (Ryan Weiner/Daily)

Before the puck dropped for the contest between the fourth-ranked Wolverines and the Falcons, Bowling Green’s senior goalie and captain, Jordan Sigalet, announced that he had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in March.

“What Jordan has exhibited over the past nine months, both physically and mentally, is nothing short of extraordinary,” Bowling Green coach Scott Paluch said in a written statement. “His ability to deal with his disease and perform at the high level he has is unbelievable.”

Sigalet had kept his condition out of public knowledge, only alerting his family and coaches upon the initial discovery.

Since Sigalet’s diagnosis, he has missed just three games due to his illness, including his absence on Saturday. Junior Jon Horrell got the start in Sigalet’s place against Michigan, whose players and coaches learned of the announcement just before the game started.

Multiple sclerosis is a disease that attacks the central nervous system. Vision, muscles and reflexes are affected by the disorder, which can also cause numbness.

Sigalet — who made last year’s All-CCHA First Team and was named to the All-CCHA Preseason Second Team at the start of this season — was a seventh-round draft pick of the Boston Bruins in 2001. His shoes were big ones for Horrell to fill against a resilient and talented Michigan squad.

“It was a bit nerve-wracking at first,” Horrell said. “You find out in the morning that your goaltending partner is kind of sick and he might not be able to play. You just have to get ready to go. It’s hard coming into a game against one of the top teams in the nation.”

In a statement, Sigalet cited the desire to help others with multiple sclerosis, along with the possibility of learning more about the disease, as reasons for going public with his condition.

“What (Sigalet) has done and how he’s handled himself through the first half of the season has been as courageous as anything I’ve ever been around from an athlete,” Paluch said. “Certainly, I know our players and our staff certainly learn a lot and draw a lot from Jordan over the last nine months and as we move forward on this.”

Sigalet tops Bowling Green’s all-time save percentage list with a career mark of .915. His 3.00 goals-allowed per game ranks second in Falcons history. Sigalet’s 1,140 saves during last year’s regular season were the most by any goalie in the country.

“I was really sorry to hear about Jordan Sigalet and his situation,” Michigan coach Red Berenson said after the game.

B-Day for T.J: During the second period of Friday’s game, the crowd at Yost Ice Arena sang “Happy Birthday” for sophomore forward T.J. Hensick. Hensick, who turned 19, responded by scoring the game-winning goal 1:09 into the third.

“I was talking to Al (Montoya) at the pregame meal, and I was like, ‘You know, it would be interesting to see if (the crowd sings)’ because I remembered (Montoya) getting one last year,” Hensick said. “It was nice of the crowd — to see the support from them.”

But Hensick wasn’t through after scoring Michigan’s fourth goal. Michigan’s leading scorer with 24 points, Hensick assisted on Kevin Porter’s goal five minutes later, which gave Michigan a 6-3 lead. He added his second goal of the night 15:03 into the final period to push the Wolverines’ lead to four. Hensick’s two goals and three points both tied season highs.

Comeback Kids: Michigan’s comeback from a 3-0 deficit on Friday marked the first time since March 26, 1999, that the Wolverines won a game after trailing by three goals. The last time came against Denver in the NCAA East Regional in Worcester, Mass. Michigan ultimately won the game, 5-3. The Wolverines came back, but settled for a 4-4 tie, after falling behind to Western Michigan by three goals on Jan. 20, 2001.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *