MADISON, Wisc. - Northeastern scored four unanswered goals in the second half of the game to beat No. 19 Bowling Green, 4-3, in the first round of the Badger Hockey Showdown at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wisc., on Friday. After Bowling Green got out to a 3-0 lead, Dan Nycholat scored, Jimmy Russo scored twice and Louis Liotti scored the game-winning goal to lift the Huskies to victory.
The win improved 11th-ranked Northeastern to 8-4-2 overall and the Huskies stayed 6-3-1 in Hockey East. Bowling Green dropped to 8-7-0 overall and stayed 5-5-0 in the CCHA. The win extended Northeastern's unbeaten streak to nine games at 7-0-2. It was the Huskies' eighth comeback win of the season, as NU is 8-3-1 when scoring first.
After falling behind, 3-0, Northeastern came back with goals by Nycholat and Russo within 2:30 of each other in the second to make it 3-2. Bowling Green opened the second peirod with a Jacob Cepis goal at 2:24. The momentum swung in Northeastern's direction halfway through the second period when Nycholat scored his first collegiate goal and point at 11:19. Wade MacLeod passed the puck from the goal line to Nycholat, who was open in the slot and shot it just under the crossbar to get the Huskies on the board. Tyler McNeely also got an assist on the play.
Less than three minutes later, Northeastern put another goal on the board. A Nycholat shot was saved by Bowling Green goalie Jimmy Spratt and the rebound went to Greg Costa. Costa sent the puck out of the corner and Russo deflected it past Spratt to make it 3-2 at 13:49 in the second. Northeastern outshot Bowling Green, 16-7, in the second period with most of the shots coming in the later half of the period.
Russo's second goal tied the game 5:00 into the third period. David Strathman passed the puck to Randy Guzior, who took it up the right side into the corner. He centered it and the puck went off a Bowling Green defenseman and stopped at the top of the crease, where Russo shot it high past Spratt. It was Russo's fourth goal in as many games.
Liotti's game-winner came at 13:03 in the third. Ryan Ginand won a faceoff back to Liotti and Liotti shot the puck through traffic from the point to the back of the net, making it 4-3.
Northeastern outshot Bowling Green, 9-5, in the first period but it was the Falcons that ended the period with a 2-0 lead. Bowling Green's David Solway scored the first goal of the game 1:59 into it when he beat Huskies goalie Brad Thiessen from the left circle. Todd McIlrath had chipped the puck ahead to Solway, who beat a defenseman and got the shot off. The Falcons made it 2-0 when Dan Sexton scored at 14:46. He potted the rebound of a McIlrath shot from the right side.
The Huskies put several good shots in the fourth minute of play, including a crossbar by Joe Vitale, but NU couldn't find the back of the net. Northeastern had two power plays in the period when Derek Whitmore was called for tripping at 8:37 and Kai Kantola was whistled for slashing at 17:58. The latter penalty was neutralized when NU's Randy Guzior was called for interference at 18:22.
Thiessen made 23 saves for the win and Spratt made 29. Both teams went 0-for-3 on power plays.
Northeastern plays the winner of the Colgate vs. Wisconsin game in the final of the Badger Hockey Showdown on Saturday at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wisc. If NU plays Colgate, the game will be at 5 p.m. (Eastern) and if it plays No. 13 Wisconsin, the game will be at 8 p.m. (Eastern). The game will be broadcasted on 890 ESPN Boston and WRBB Radio.