BOWLING GREEN – Physical only begins to describe Michigan’s 1-1 tie with Bowling Green Saturday night.

The Falcons’ only goal scorer was given a concussion as he scored, and at one point in the second period Michigan had to cram four guys into the penalty box.

With 22 penalties in just the first two periods – the two teams average 14 a game between them – it is safe to say that both the Wolverines and Falcons were satisfied with their brute strength on the night.

“It’s always a physical game with Bowling Green,” Michigan alternate captain John Shouneyia said. “They’re a big team and a tough team, so we knew we were going to have to come out banging and match them at least.”

Bowling Green (0-7-1 CCHA, 2-8-1 overall) was happy to get its first point this year in conference play against the sixth- ranked Wolverines (3-0-1, 6-1-1). The Falcons lost Friday night’s game 6-4 in another physical contest that saw Michigan’s captain leave the game halfway through with a torn MCL in his left knee.

“It was great to come out with one point,” Sigalet said. “I think (Saturday) night is going to be a big turning point in the season. We’ve come close in a lot of games, so it’s nice to get a point – especially against the sixth-rated team in the country.”

Saturday’s contest began simply enough with Michigan’s Danny Richmond, Dwight Helminen and Eric Werner all getting early chances to put one by Sigalet.

All were unsuccessful. Bowling Green’s Tyler Knight and Chris Pedota had a two-on-one chance in the first few minutes, but it was broken up by Richmond at the last second.

The pace of the game changed after the first 40 minutes brought a great deal of hitting and powerplays that kept the two offenses off balance. Even Michigan defenseman Andy Burnes, who was absent for the past five games with mononucleosis, didn’t hold back as he leveled forward Steve Brudzewski midway through the first period.

Bowling Green broke the stalemate at the 18:30 mark of the first period, when Falcons’ defenseman Kevin Bieksa hit a slapshot from the blue line off a heads-up pass by Sigalet. Bieksa’s shot beat Montoya through the five-hole, but Bieksa paid the price as Michigan defenseman Eric Werner sent the Bowling Green junior directly to the ice and out of the game with a concussion.

“I thought it was a harmless play at first, but Bieksa got a hard shot,” Sigalet said. “He just got the line and let it go. I don’t know if Montoya saw it or not, but Bieksa sacrificed his body making that play and we really missed him the rest of that game. It was good to get the first goal, because we kept the momentum up after we scored it.”

Thirteen penalties later, Michigan evened the score at one at the midway mark of the second period, when senior Mark Mink came from behind the net out to the left faceoff circle to beat Sigalet glove-side.

Aside from those two goals, the game belonged to Montoya and Sigalet, who kept everything else out of their nets – except when Bowling Green forward Tyler Knight slid into Michigan’s goal and Montoya wouldn’t let him out.

“It was just pure emotion,” Montoya said. “It was probably a bad move on my part, but I was just too into the game right there.”

The first three minutes of the third period started with Sigalet making a kick save on a Shouneyia-to-Werner breakaway, a glove save on the red-hot Mink (who had four points on the weekend) and another kick save on a Shouneyia-to-Mink breakaway. After that, play sped up to Michigan’s pace as strategic passing replaced bone-crushing hits in the final 25 minutes.

“We’re just a third period team,” Montoya said. “That’s when we prosper the most. In all our games, third period hockey is Michigan hockey. So we turned things around. We wish we could have had the second period, but it was all full of penalties.”

The Falcons ended the period with a flurry of chances, but Michigan’s defense was up to the task as Michigan’s Brandon Rogers twice made game-saving plays. The first came when Bowling Green’s explosive forward Mark Wires had Rogers one-on-one approaching the net. Rogers won that battle with a poke check. The next came when Knight and center D’Arcy McConvey had a breakaway on Rogers. Again the sophomore defenseman came up huge breaking up Knight’s pass to his teammate.

With no great scoring chances in overtime (three total shots between the teams) the game ended calmly given the game’s beginning.

Michigan, though, was upset because it had wasted such a great performance by Montoya.

“(Sigalet) played well, you can give (him) credit,” Michigan coach Red Berenson said. “On the other hand, when you only give up one goal on the road, you should find a way to win that game.”

For Sigalet, his performance was exceptional, as he was the first goalie to keep Michigan under three goals this season.

“Parents were here this weekend, maybe that helped,” Sigalet said. “I was pretty excited. My little brother was here on a recruiting visit, and it was my first home start of the season too.”

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