Bowling Green State University goalie Ryan Bednard (35) blocks a shot against during a hockey game Saturday, December 10, 2016. BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH
BOWLING GREEN — The Bowling Green State University hockey team won its second exhibition game of the season, throttling USA Hockey’s national under-18 team 4-1 at the Slater Family Ice Arena Friday.
But that victory was far different than their first win, a workmanlike 3-1 decision over Wilfrid Laurier from Canada last Sunday.
“The team we played [Friday] is young and skilled and creative,” said Frederic Letourneau, who scored two of the Falcons’ goals Friday. “The team we played on Sunday was more basic, kept it simple and finished their checks.
“We just followed the plan, kept our turnovers as low as possible to make them make plays.”
Bowling Green scored three power-play goals in Friday’s contest against the top under-18 players in the country. The Falcons scored two goals in each of the final two periods and outshot their opponent 33-21.
“Last Sunday we got the result we wanted, but we didn’t play enough like we wanted to play,” said BG coach Chris Bergeron. “In this game we played much more the way we want to play.
“When we are at our best, we are relentless both with and without the puck. We didn’t turn over the puck, we made the work to go 200 feet, and we defended and got the puck.”
After a scoreless first period, the Falcons took command in the second period. Brandon Kruse scored a power-play goal at 14:59 of the second period to get Bowling Green on the board, and Letourneau added a power-play goal almost exactly two minutes later to give the Falcons a 2-0 lead after two periods.
“It was not what I was trying to do,” said Letourneau, who was trying to center a puck that instead bounced off a U.S. defenseman and past the startled goalie for the score. “But putting pucks on net is always good. …
“I thought we deserved the bounces we got. We control the period and got off good shots, and we defended really well in that period.”
Bowling Green outshot the U.S. national team 10-1 in the second period, and the shot differential reflected the Falcons’ domination of play.
“I don’t know if we went up a level in the second period,” Bergeron said. “I liked the way we killed penalties in the second period.
“I didn’t see us take it up a level – I saw us continuing to play the game the right way. I did not dislike our first period; I felt better about our first period than I did any period last Sunday.”
Brett D’Andrea collected a power-play goal just 1:23 into the third period, and Letourneau added his second goal of the night at 11:53 to complete the Falcons scoring.
Jake Pivonka scored a 5-on-3 goal for the U.S. Under-18 team at the 2:24 mark of the final period to deny Bowling Green the shutout.
Freshman Eric Dop stopped all 11 shots he faced for the Falcons, while Ryan Bednard replaced him with 10:15 left in the second period and finished with nine saves.
Drew DeRidder kicked aside 29 shots for the U.S. national team.
The Falcons will open the season Tuesday with a contest at Western Michigan.