By @StefanKubus –
DETROIT – They were the only team not from Michigan competing in the first-ever Great Lakes Invitational inside Little Caesars Arena.
And on Tuesday night, the Bowling Green Falcons took home the MacInnes Cup Tuesday night with a 4-1 win over the Michigan Tech Huskies in the 53rd year of the annual holiday tournament.
“The key to that game tonight was the way we defended up to the third period,” Bowling Green head coach Chris Bergeron said. “I thought we defended really strong, took away time and space… I don’t think the third was any different, but the difference between the third and the first two was that the pucks went in the net.”
A pair of Michigan natives, Tyler Spezia (Clinton Township) and Brett D’Andrea (Marysville), scored to help lift the Falcons to the win.
On his birthday, D’Andrea opened the game’s scoring during a 1:44 Bowling Green 5-on-3. The senior forward popped home a rebound past Michigan Tech netminder Robbie Beydoun (Plymouth) for his fourth of the season.
“These are guys that have been Red Wings fans, coming to Red Wings games,” Bergeron said. “I know those guys followed the (CCHA), followed the tournament and now here they are playing in it in the new building. I can only imagine it means a lot to them.”
Jake Lucchini potted his seventh of the season in the opening minutes of the middle frame for Michigan Tech, as he fired a point-blank wrist shot top shelf past Falcons netminder Eric Dop.
But Connor Ford banged home a rebound to put Bowling Green back on top near the game’s halfway mark.
The Huskies thought they tied the game late in the period on a Justin Misiak goal. Huskies freshman Greyson Reitmeier knocked the puck out of mid-air as a point shot approached the net. Misiak, a St. Clair Shores native, then was able to bang home the rebound off the pads of Dop. After review, it was ruled Reitmeier’s mid-air bat was with a high stick, so the Falcons remained on top as the period ended.
Michigan Tech head coach Joe Shawan said he felt it wasn’t a high stick, but ultimately said that didn’t make or break the game for his squad.
“I didn’t agree with it, I don’t think that was the difference,” Shawan said. “You have to overcome that. We had lots of views of it after. I know what the rule is. If you deflect the puck it has to be goal post or lower. We had all the looks you guys had. I think you could ask a lot of people and I think more would say it was good than not.
“I give full credit to the way Bowling Green played the hockey game today. We did some things the way we wanted to do, we played the way we wanted to play for the first two peridos. Through the first two periods we got some speed and got involved. I thought we were able to climb above them and not spend time in our zone and play the type of game that we need to play. And I think as the third period wore on, we slowed a bit, we got a lot of separation between our forwards and our defense… ”
Bergeron called the goal review a pivotal point in the game.
“It did a bunch, it stopped any momentum that that goal would’ve created, which would’ve been a lot,” Bergeron said. “You got into the third period tied and you go into the third period up a goal its two different situations. I believe in the process. I would’ve said the same thing had it counted. They looked at it and they deemed it to be a high stick, but I do think it was a huge moment in the game for sure and it worked in our favor.”
Falcons junior forward added to the Bowling Green lead with a tap-in at the back door off a great feed from captain Mitch McLain. Spezia then added a fourth tally for the Falcons, his third of the season, to help seal the victory.
“We believe when we play well we can play with anybody,” Bergeron said. I’m a firm believer in Michigan Tech’s team. They skate, they compete, they’re deep, and I thought we went nose-to-nose with them. Again, it reaffirms to our group that if we play the game a certain way we can be tough to score against because we can defend. The couple things that come to mind are confidence and momentum as we head to the second half with league play.”
F: Lukas Craggs (BG), Cooper Marody (UM) Patrick Khodorenko (MSU)
D: Mitch Reinke (MTU) Alec Rauhauser (BG)
G: Eric Dop (BG)
*indicates tournament MVP