BOWLING GREEN – If you look up the term “letdown game” in the dictionary, the entry would probaly refer to Michigan’s 3-2 loss at Bowling Green tonight.
The Wolverines entered tonight’s contest against the last-place Falcons on a six-game winning streak. And with a date against Michigan State at Joe Louis Arena tomorrow night, Michigan had much to look ahead to.
But it didn’t have to look any further back than last year’s 5-2 pounding at the hands of Bowling Green to understand the repercussions of not brining a complete effort against the Falcons.
But it happened again.
Bowling Green’s Tomas Petruska scored the game winner with 35 seconds left in the game to defeat the Wolverines 3-2 tonight at BGSU Ice Arena. Alternate captain T.J. Hensick’s bid to tie the game with 20 seconds remaining clanked off the post.
The Falcons knotted it at two with just over six minutes left in the game in the game on a Derek Whitmore goal.
Petruska served Whitmore the cross-ice pass for the equalizer. After the score evened up at two, the game went back and forth as the intensity picked up. Each team had chances to take the lead but neither goalie would budge.
Michigan goalie Billy Sauer played a good game, making up for some defensive miscues with some acrobatic saves. He saved 29 of the 32 shots he faced.
Bowling Green goalie Jimmy Spratt played just as well. He made some crucial saves down low in the game’s waning minutes to keep the game tied or prevent Michigan from tying it up.
Heading into the third period, Bowling Green (4-19-1 CCHA, 6-24-2 overall) had the better chances on goal, despite the 2-1 Michigan lead on the scoreboard. Sauer had kept Michigan (16-7-0 CCHA, 21-10-0 overall) in the game.
Senior David Rohlfs had the lone tally of the second period to put the Wolverines ahead. Almost eight minutes into the second stanza, junior Kevin Porter tipped the puck in the neutral zone to alternate captain T.J. Hensick, who skated in on a 2-on-1 rush with Rohlfs. Flashing up the left side of the ice, Hensick dished the puck across to the right side of the net where Rohfls knocked in his 16th goal of the season.
The teams exchanged goals in a first period that featured some sloppy play by the Wolverines. They were called for numerous offsides infractions and struggled to get the puck out of the neutral zone.
Junior Chad Kolairk scored a short-handed goal just over a minute into the game on a pass from sophomore Tim Miller. It was Kolarik’s first goal since Michigan’s last game against Bowling Green on Jan. 5.
Michigan’s short-handed goal is its 13th the season. It entered the game tonight tied with Quinnipiac and Minnesota-Duluth for the nation’s lead in most short-handed goals.
Bowling Green knotted the game up with an even strength tally eight minutes later.
With Michigan State’s 2-1 win over Ferris State tonight, the Wolverines will need to bring a stronger effort to save face tomorrow night.
– For coverage of Michigan’s battle against Michigan State Saturday night, check Michigandaily.com following the game.