OXFORD, Ohio – The Hollywood script disintegrated in the final 28 minutes of the game.
Until then, everything was aligning for a fantastic story.
Miami fell to Bowling Green, 7-4 in the teams’ season opener and RedHawks coach Chris Bergeron’s debut at Cady Arena on Sunday.
Bergeron was the head coach of the Falcons (1-0) for the past nine seasons.
The RedHawks (0-1) took the lead in the first minute of the second period and held it for over 12 minutes, but the Falcons scored seven times in the final 27:05.
MU did pull to within one, 5-4 in the final minutes but Bowling Green scored twice in the final 98 seconds to seal it.
Cameron Wright scored four goals to pace the Falcons. Gordie Green netted two goals and assisted on two more to pace the RedHawks, and Karch Bachman netted the other two MU tallies.
RECAP: The game was scoreless through the first period, but 50 seconds into the second, Green skated the length of the ice and beat goalie Eric Dop just inside the far post.
Wright tied it with 7:05 left in the middle stanza when he seemed to fool both teams by securing the puck along the end boards, skated into the faceoff circle and whipped one home to tie it.
Wright put BGSU ahead three minutes later when he skated in on net from the right side and snuck a puck past Miami goalie Ryan Larkin.
The Falcons made it 3-1 when Connor Ford beat Larkin after taking a 2-on-1 feed from Alex Barber two minutes into the third.
Bowling Green took a three-goal lead less than four minutes later when Evan Dougherty ripped a loose puck in the slot past Larkin after T.J. Lloyd had a wrister from the blue line knocked down.
Two minutes later, Miami cut the deficit to two on the power play when Brayden Crowder sent a pass from the blue line across the ice to Green, whose one-touch to the side of the net was redirected in by Bachman.
Wright completed his hat trick on the power play 49 seconds later when he ripped a one-time pass home from the high slot.
The score held at 5-2 for over eight minutes, but Green redirected a Casey Gilling feed as the side of the cage with 3:56 remaining to cut the deficit to two.
Miami made it a one-goal game when Green sent a pass from the left point to Bachman, who controlled it and fired it home on the short side with 2:24 left.
But Wright buried a centering feed from Max Johnson with 98 seconds to play.
Alec Rauhauser sealed it with an empty netter from his own zone in the closing seconds.
STATISTICS: Green’s two-goal, two-assist performance ties him for the second-highest point total of his career. He recorded five points at Maine as a sophomore.
Bachman scored two goals in the season finale loss in the best-of-3 opening-round NCHC Tournament series at St. Cloud State. That means Bachman has scored four goals in his last two games.
— Crowder tallied two assists, a career best, and Gilling also went 0-2-2, the second two-assist game of his career.
— It was the first time in at least a decade Miami has allowed five third-period goals.
— Defenseman Jack Clement picked up his first career point, earning a secondary assist on Green’s second tally.
— Six goals allowed ties the most Larkin has ever allowed. It’s the fourth time an opponent has scored that many goals against him: He previously gave up six once as a freshman, once as a sophomore and once as a junior.
THOUGHTS: It was three different games: A feeling-out process in the first period, a typical hockey game in the second and a run-and-gun track meet in the third.
Bowling Green outshot Miami, 12-5 a sluggish first period that saw the RedHawks unable to clear the puck out of their own end way too many times.
Miami scored on its first shot of the second period in the opening minute but generated just two more SOG the duration of that frame.
The Falcons took a 3-1 lead early in the final stanza, so obviously the RedHawks had to take more chances to try and tie it, but this period proved why Miami doesn’t have the weapons to play a high-tempo game.
RedHawks’ passing was less than crisp, but it was Game 1 and hopefully a lot more repetitions will remedy that. That’s a key reason Bowling Green had a transition game and Miami did not.
— Crowder was a major story in this game, as he was arguably the best defenseman on the team. He stole the puck at least five times, shut down rushing attacks numerous on numerous more occasions and moved the puck extremely well, including that set-up pass on one of Bachman’s goals.
— Bergeron used a line of Monte Graham, Brian Hawkinson and Scott Corbett. They were scored on once when the entire rink seemed to lose sight of the puck along the end boards, but they had solid chemistry, which is not surprising since all three worked extremely hard last season.
— Bowling Green brought a ton of fans, and many were great, but some booed the announcement of Bergeron as Miami head coach. A handful openly voiced their displeasure about him returning to Oxford, saying he betrayed them.
Note to those fans: Bergeron saved your program from literal extinction and took it to its first NCAA Tournament berth in 29 years. Appreciate what he did for BGSU, ride the momentum he has created to more success and encourage your alumni to contribute to the program to help in recruiting to ensure winning seasons in the future.
FORWARDS: B-. Considering they were held to 19 total shots and 15 by this corps, four goals looks pretty admirable. Green was buzzing all night and Bachman seemed to improve as the game went along. Gilling had a down season in 2018-19 but was one of the top forwards in this game.
DEFENSEMEN: C-. Crowder’s play was documented above and Derek Daschke was solid in both ends. The rest of this corps earned a ‘needs improvement’ grade, as far too many BGSU players skated into the slot unabated, many of which fired high-percentage shots.
GOALTENDING: C-. The second BGSU goal maybe could’ve been stopped, but the other five goals Larkin allowed were on high-percentage chances. Larkin faced a shooting gallery in the third period and he was largely left to fend for himself. He made several key saves in the first and early second periods to keep Miami in the game.
LINEUP CHANGES: Every freshman dressed in Game 1.
What better way for an on-ice evaluation of the newbies.
The worst injury news is that Alec Mahalak was in a boot after taking a shot to the leg in practice. He will miss significant time. Chaz Switzer was also banged up, but he could return next weekend.
FINAL THOUGHTS: This season is going to be a process.
A Bowling Green team on the edge of the top 20 dominated Miami on its home ice in Game 1.
That’s where the RedHawks are at this moment.
Miami never quit, which was very encouraging, and while no sane person is expecting miracles this season, it’s fair to monitor the effort and progress this team makes from now until March.