Ice Hockey: BGSU halts six-game streak

Despite leading most of the way, the No. 8-ranked Michigan ice hockey team saw its six-game win streak come to a screeching halt with a 3-2 loss to the Bowling Green State University Falcons on Friday night at BGSU Ice Arena in Bowling Green, Ohio. Billy Sauer was spectacular in net for the Wolverines, but the offense was no where to be found in the disappointing 3-2 loss.

Just when it looked like the Michigan hockey team was turning the corner, it's back to reality for the No. 8-ranked Wolverines. Billy Sauer was spectacular turning aside 32 shots from the BGSU Falcons, including multiple opportunities right in front of the goal mouth, but the Michigan offense managed just a pair of goals in a 3-2 loss that effectively ends the Wolverines bid for a CCHA regular season title.

It started out well for Red Berenson and his Michigan Wolverines in this one. Despite a breakaway from Hobey Baker Award candidate T.J. Hensick being whistled dead due to a penalty behind the play, the Wolverines struck first just one minute into the contest.

Skating on the penalty kill, Chad Kolarik made it 1-0 by snapping the puck past Bowling Green State goalie Jimmy Spratt on a cross-ice feed from Tim Miller on a two-on-one shorthanded rush. Kolarik's goal, his 15th of the season, snapped a nine-game drought since the last time these two clubs met.

From that point on, the Falcons took over. BGSU tied it 1-1 at the 8:18 mark when Kevin Schmidt banged his own rebound past Sauer after a brilliant initial save by the Michigan netminder.

Derek Whitmore threatened to put BGSU on top just 1:30 into the second, but Sauer stoned the Falcons forward on a one-on-zero after a breakout pass in the Michigan zone was intercepted by the home team.

Michigan went back on top 2-1 at 7:28 with David Rohlfs' 15th goal of the season. T.J. Hensick took a pass from Kevin Porter, carried it into the Falcons zone on the left side and found Rohlfs crashing the right post for the easy goal.

The Wolverines picked up their first power play of the contest in the final minute of the second, but the Wolverines were unable to build on their lead through two periods. BGSU held a 26-15 edge in shots through 40 minutes.

Michigan was unsuccessful on two more power plays to open the third period, and the Falcons started knocking on the door midway through the last frame. After nearly tying the score on a shorthanded rush, BGSU converted on a botched clearing attempt by U-M defenseman Jason Dest with 6:35 left on the clock.

After being denied by Sauer earlier in the contest, Derek Whitmore knotted it 2-2 with a rocket over Sauer's shoulder from the left circle to give BGSU new life. Then, with under a minute left on the clock, BGSU scored the game-winning power-play goal after a scramble in front of the Michigan net left Sauer screened as the puck flew over his left shoulder and into the top corner of the net.

T.J. Hensick rang a shot off the post with 22 seconds remaining in the Wolverines final shot at forcing overtime. With the loss, the Wolverines drop six points behind Notre Dame in the CCHA standings with just five games left to play.

The No. 8-ranked Wolverines continue CCHA play with a game critical to the Wolverines NCAA tournament hopes against the No. 6 Michigan State on Saturday night at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.

The Michigan Insider Top Stories