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Bemidji State’s Ruslan Pedan, left, passes the puck as Bowling Green’s Dan DeSalvo, center, and Ralfs Freibergs close in during their game Saturday at Bowling Green. BGSU won 5-2 but the Beavers clinched a WCHA playoff spot thanks to Ferris State’s 2-1 win over Lake Superior State Saturday night. Shane Hughes | Bowling Green Sentinel-Tribune

MEN'S HOCKEY: Beavers fall to Bowling Green 5-2, sneak into playoffs anyway

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BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — The BSU men’s hockey team needed some help.

After Bowling Green again scored five goals on Bemidji State to win 5-2 and complete the two-game sweep in their Western Collegiate Hockey Association season finale, that helpcame in the form of Ferris State.

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The Bulldogs completed a sweep of their own Saturday night, defeating Lake Superior State 2-1 and giving Bemidji State a backdoor entry into the WCHA playoffs.

The Beavers and the Lakers finished the season tied for eighth in the WCHA standings with 24 points apiece, but BSU won the tiebreaker over Lake State by virtue of winning the regular-season series 3-1.

That means the Beavers (10-19-7, 10-14-4 WCHA) will be alive to play another weekend.

BSU, as the No. 8 seed in the playoffs, will play Ferris State in the best-of-three first-round series starting next Friday in Big Rapids, Mich.

Ferris won the McNaughton Cup — and the No. 1 seed — by virtue of their 2-1 win over Lake Superior State and Minnesota State’s 1-1 tie with Michigan Tech Saturday. Ferris finished with one more point in the conference standings to take the title.

On Saturday night it was special teams that proved to be the difference for Bowling Green (16-14-6, 13-11-4 WCHA).

Bemidji State’s penalty kill came into the the game ranked in the top five nationally but the Falcons scored three times in five tries.

Bryce Williamson scored on the man-advantage in the first period, while Kevin Durfour scored Bowling Green’s other two power play tallies — once in the second period and again in the third.

Conversely, the Falcons held BSU scoreless on six power play tries — including a pair of long 5-on-3 opportunities.

Although BGSU scored first, BSU scored the game’s next two goals but couldn’t hold onto its lead.

After Williamson’s power-play tally, Radoslav Illo helped BSU pull even with under 25 seconds to go in the first period and send the teams tied going into intermission.

In the second period BSU scored early on Markus Gerbrandt’s goal at the 2:42 mark to make it 2-1.

From there, though, it was all Falcons.

Durfor scored on the power play to help Bowling Green pull even, then the Falcons took the lead for good on Ben Murphy’s game-winner at 16:51.

In the third period, Durfor scored at the 8:45 mark for his second goal of the night and Dan DeSalvo capped the scoring with a goal at 10:37.

Bowling Green outshot BSU 31-21. BSU goaltender Jesse Wilkins got the start and made 26 saves in the loss while Tommy Burke stopped 19 shots for BGSU.

Bowling Green 5, Bemidji State 2

BSU 1 1 0 — 2

BGSU 1 2 2 — 5

First Period — 1, BGSU, Williamson (Murphy, Berkle), 12:25; PP; 2, BSU, Illo (Unassisted), 19:36. Penalties — BGSU, Freibergs (Boarding), 3:56; BGSU, Kucera (Offensive Interference), 6:40; BSU, Arentz (Interference), 10:41; BSU, Illo (Boarding), 17:15.

Second Period — 3, BSU, Gerbrandt (Harms, McCormack), 2:42; 4, BGSU, Durfour (Walker, Sullivan), 5:47, PP; 5, BGSU, Murphy (Cooper), 16:51. Penalties — BSU, Gerbrandt (High Sticking), 5:19; BGSU, Murphy (Roughing), 6:33; BSU, Pedan (Holding), 6:33; BGSU, Walker (Charging), 13:50; BGSU, Berkle (Holding), 14:23; BGSU, Wojala (Holding), 15:37; BSU, Ward (Cross-Checking), 15:37; BSU, Kinne (Roughing), 17:01.

Third Period — 6, BGSU, Durfour (Carpenter, Walker), 8:45, PP; 7, BGSU, DeSalvo (Berkle), 10:37. Penalties — BSU, Marinaccio (Slashing), 8:16; BGSU, Mohler (Tripping), 14:44; BGSU, DeSalvo (Slashing), 15:19.

Shots On Goal — BSU, 4-10-7—21; BGSU, 5-17-9—31. Goalies (Shots-Saves) — BSU, Wilkins (31-26); BGSU, Burke (21-19). Penalties-Minutes — BSU, 7-14; BGSU, 8-16. Power Plays-Opportunities — BSU, 0-for-6; BGSU, 3-5.

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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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