Falcons fall to UM in CCHA semis in 2 OTs

Hammond stops 55 shots in loss

3/16/2012
BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Michigan's Luke Moffatt (9) puts the puck in the net during a scrum 1:04 into the second overtime against Bowling Green to beat the Falcons 3-2.
Michigan's Luke Moffatt (9) puts the puck in the net during a scrum 1:04 into the second overtime against Bowling Green to beat the Falcons 3-2.

The hockey gods must not believe in Cinderella.

Michigan's Luke Moffatt scored at the 1:04 mark of the second overtime to give the Wolverines a 3-2 victory over Bowling Green State University in the semifinals of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association tournament at Joe Louis Arena Friday.

PHOTO GALLERY: BGSU vs. UM Hockey

The Falcons saw their hopes of a worst-to-first run through the CCHA playoffs dashed when Michigan scored with just 2:45 left in the third period, then netted the game-winner in a scrum early in the second extra session.

"When we look back, it just wasn't meant to be -- it wasn't our time," BG coach Chris Bergeron said. "We're going to be back here, and when we are we're going to be more ready for it."

As a result, Bowling Green, which fell to 14-24-5, will play in the third-place contest at the Joe Saturday at 3:30 p.m. against Miami, which lost to Western Michigan 6-2 in Friday's first semifinal. The Wolverines (24-11-4) will face the Broncos at 7:35 p.m.

"It will be tough [to come back Saturday] because this [loss] burns right now," Marc Rodriguez said. "I don't think we know how anything else except to show up and play. I think we'll give our best effort [Saturday]."

Bowling Green goalie Andrew Hammond, right, had 55 saves in the loss. He fell one save short of the school record set in 2003.
Bowling Green goalie Andrew Hammond, right, had 55 saves in the loss. He fell one save short of the school record set in 2003.

It was a bitter finish for Bowling Green, and it came despite a near-record effort by Falcons' goaltender Andrew Hammond. The junior finished with 55 saves, which broke his career high of 54 that came in game one of the second-round series at Ferris State March 9, a one-overtime affair Bowling Green won 3-2.

The school record is 56 saves set by Jordan Sigalet in 2003.

"I just tried to take it one shot at a time, and I didn't pay attention to how many shots I [faced]," Hammond said. "You're worrying about making that next save for your team. I just tried to worry about each shot as it came."

The Falcons drew first blood against the Wolverines, who are the second seed -- the highest remaining -- in the tournament. Bowling Green took advantage of a power-play opportunity when Camden Wojtala took a puck along the right boards and swept it towards the Michigan goal.

Ryan Carpenter pushed it under the pads of UM goalie Shawn Hunwick and into the net for his 11th goal of the season, with the goal coming at the 9:53 mark of the period.

Bowling Green made it 2-0 at the 5:58 mark of the second period thanks to a Michigan mistake behind its goal. Andrew Wallace forced the Wolverine defender to turn the puck over, and Ted Pletsch back-handed it towards the front of the UM net.

Rodriguez made no mistake with the loose puck, whistling a shot over the left shoulder of Hunwick for his third goal of the season.

It looked as if the Falcons would take a 2-0 lead into the locker room, but instead Michigan scored a fluky goal with 9.6 seconds left in the period to cut its deficit to a single goal.

Bowling Green struggled to get the puck out of its zone in the final minute, and the Wolverines' Jon Merrill back-handed the puck towards the Falcons' net. Hammond was screened and never saw the bouncing puck until it fluttered into the goal between his skate and the near goalpost.

That late goal seemed to invigorate the Wolverines in the third period. Michigan fired 12 shots on goal in the third period but didn't beat Hammond until there was just 2:45 left in regulation.

The opportunity arose when BG lost the puck behind its own net and Michigan's Derek DeBlois quickly found David Wolhberg alone in front of the net for the score.

In the first overtime both teams had a number of opportunities to claim the victory. The two teams combined for 24 shots -- BG had 11 -- and each team rang at least one shot off the post.

There was little doubt about Michigan's game winner early in the second overtime.

A.J. Treais wheeled with the puck to the left of Hammond, then threw it into the crease, where Moffatt took advantage of a scrum and pushed it past the goal line for his sixth goal of the year.

Contact John Wagner at: jwagner@theblade.com, 419-724-6481 or on Twitter @jwagnerblade.