By Susannah Nichols/ Northern Michigan Beat Writer
The Northern Michigan Wildcats started their postseason off strong: a 4-2 victory on their home ice. But the Bowling Green Falcons came back to win two straight and advance to the next round of the CCHA tournament.
The two teams were deadlocked at 2-2 after the first two periods of Friday's game, with the 'Cats getting their goals from offensive mainstay Justin Florek and the unheralded Ryan Daughtery, who scored his third of the season.
Andrew Cherniwhcan seized the lead for the 'Cats with a power play goal, and Tyler Gron's 17th goal of the season sealed the victory.
The Falcons outshot the Wildcats 33-26, and Jared Coreau had 31 saves for the win.
Things were still looking good for the 'Cats through the first intermission of Saturday's game. Power play goals from Florek and Matt Thurber, plus an even-strength goal from Stephan Vigier gave the 'Cats a 3-1 lead early in the second. But the Falcons scored four unanswered goals, despite the 'Cats outshooting them 11-5 in the final period.
Reid Ellingson had 24 saves in the loss.
"You have to give [Bowling Green] a lot of credit,” coach Walt Kyle said after the game. “They came out, they played hard and did the things they needed to do.
It all came down to Sunday's game. After a quiet first period, with the Falcons managing only nine shots to the 'Cats' five, Mitch Jones drew first blood with assists from Florek and Vigier. The 'Cats didn't go quietly--they outshot the Falcons 26-18 for the remainder of the game--but it was the Falcons who found the back of the net, again scoring four unanswered goals to walk away with the 4-2 victory and the series win.
Coreau had 19 saves for the loss.
Unless they receive a berth to the NCAA tournament, the Wildcats close out their season with a record of 17-12-6, 11-11-6-3 in the CCHA. They bid farewell to seniors Cherniwchan, Florek, Ellingson, Gron, and backup goalie Devan Hartigan.