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Bowling Green’s Dan DeSalvo (left) and Bemidji State’s Mitch Cain (27) are seen near the puck as Bowling Green’s Connor Kucera (3) moves in. Enoch Wu | Bowling Green Sentinel-Tribune

MEN'S HOCKEY: With 5-3 loss to Bowling Green, BSU's playoff hopes get more dire

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BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — Coming into this weekend’s series against Bowling Green, the BSU men’s hockey team needed a sweep of the Falcons to secure a spot in the WCHA playoffs.

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Anything else and the Beavers would need some help.

The Beavers won’t get the sweep — Bowling Green’s 5-3 win Friday night made sure of that — but they also got some help.

Ferris State also defeated Lake Superior State 2-1 Friday night in Big Rapids, Mich.

Those results, combined with Northern Michigan’s 4-1 road win over Alabama-Huntsville, means that the Beavers and the Lakers enter the final game of the regular season tied for the eighth and final WCHA playoff spot. Both teams have 24 points while Northern Michigan has 25.

The Beavers and Falcons face off again at 6:07 p.m. tonight.

On Friday the Beavers (10-18-7, 10-13-4 WCHA) struck first but couldn’t sustain the momentum, as BGSU (15-14-6, 12-11-4 WCHA) scored twice in the first period and three times in the third, chasing BSU starting goaltender Jesse Wilkins in the second period.

After BSU’s Brendan Harms put the Beavers up 1-0 just less than five minutes into the game, Bowling Green scored two minutes later on Ben Murphy’s goal at 6:50. Mark Cooper made it 2-1 at 11:08 and BGSU went into first intermission up 2-1.

The Beavers tied the game early in the second on John Parker’s goal at the 2:38 mark, but that was the closest the Beavers would get.

Bowling Green scored three straight goals in a span of seven minutes to take a commanding lead. All three goals came from different players — Kevin Durfour, Sean Walker and Ryan Carpenter — and led to BSU head coach Tom Serratore pulling goalie Wilkins in favor of Reid Mimmack.

Wilkins made just eight saves on 13 shots faced, but almost all of the goals were deflections in front of him that he could do little to stop.

The Beavers scored late in the second period on Markus Gerbrandt’s goal, pulling them back to within 5-3, but BSU had no luck scoring in the third.

BSU pulled Mimmack with over two minutes to go but couldn’t put anything past BGSU goalie Tommy Burke.

The Falcons outshot the Beavers 27-19, including a 9-6 edge in the third period.

BGSU also held BSU to 0-for-3 on the power play while at the same time solving BSU’s strong penalty kill unit on Walker’s second-period score.

Mimmack finished the game with 14 saves on 14 BGSU shots while Burke stopped 16 shots for Bowling Green.

With the win Bowling Green secured a playoff spot but their seed and opponent will not be known until the conclusion of Saturday night’s games.

Bowling Green 5, Bemidji State 3

BSU 1 2 0 — 3

BGSU 2 3 0 — 5

First Period — 1, BSU, Harms (Gerbrandt, Ward), 4:50; 2, BSGU, Murphy (Mercier, Kucera), 6:50; 3, BGSU, Cooper (Williamson, Murphy), 11:08. Penalties — BGSU, Walker (Hooking), 17:20.

Second Period — 4, BSU, Parker (Hansen, Marinaccio), 2:38; 5, BGSU, Dufour (Walker, Sullivan), 3:50; 6, BGSU, Walker (Sullivan, Dufour), 8:34, PP; 7, BGSU, Carpenter (Mercier, Sullivan), 10:40; 8, BSU, Gerbrandt (Ward, Rendle), 17:32. Penalties — BGSU, Kucera (Interference), 4:33; BSU, Harms (Tripping), 7:49; BSU, Arentz (Slashing), 12:49.

Third Period — No Scoring. Penalties — BGSU, Walker (Tripping), 9:30.

Shots On Goal — BSU, 10-3-6—19; BSGU, 8-10-9—27. Goalies (Shots-Saves) — BSU, Wilkins (13-8, 30:40); Mimmack (14-14, 27:13). BGSU, Burke (19-16). Penalties-Minutes — BSU, 2-4; BGSU, 3-6. Power Plays-Opportunities — BSU, 0-for-3; BGSU, 1-for-2. Faceoffs — UND, 33-28. Three Stars: 1-Kevin Dufour (BGSU) 2. Ben Murphy (BGSU) 3. Sean Walker (BGSU). Referees: Keith Sergott, Kevin Langseth Linesmen: Paul Tunsion, Erik Froberg.

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Jack Hittinger
Jack Hittinger is the sports editor of the Bemidji Pioneer. He is also the Bemidji State beat writer. He hails from the Great State of Michigan. Read his Bemidji State blog at http://thebeaverblog.areavoices.com/ and follow him on Twitter at @Jackhitts.
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