Bowling Green will again be put to the test when it faces 12th-ranked Notre Dame in a quarterfinal round of the CCHA tournament.
The best-of-three series starts at 7:05 p.m. Friday at Compton Family Ice Arena in South Bend, Indiana.
BG played the Irish in the regular season finale, dropping a pair on the road, 4-3, 4-1. The Falcons also lost the season series, 3-1. Their lone win was a 4-2 victory on January 15 at the BGSU Ice Arena. The win was a part of a six-game unbeaten streak. What did the Falcons learn in the the season finale?
“The only thing we learned from the last time we played is, if we play a certain way, we won’t win,” BG head coach Chris Bergeron said. “We have to play a certain way, we played them four times this year. We felt like we played one game the way we needed to and three games way too off and on, and the results were one and three.”
BG showed a level of inconsistency the final three weeks of the regular season and the first game of the playoffs. During that time, the Falcons lost six out of nine games.
Season point leaders, Ryan Carpenter (2nd-team all-CCHA), Dan DeSalvo, Dajon Mingo and Adam Berkle were held pointless in a 2-0 loss to Lake Superior State University in the first game of the playoffs. The four increased their effort in the final two games.
DeSalvo, who had three goals all year, scored two goals and recorded an assist Sunday in a 7-0 win over the Lakers. Mingo had two assists in a 6-3 win Saturday and had a plus-4 rating in the final two games of the series. Carpenter had a plus-6 rating, with three goals and two assists and Berkle had two goals and an assist.
They weren’t the only Falcons that made most of their appearances on the ice. Bergeron made several line changes after Friday night’s effort, inserting Ryan Peltoma, Marc Rodriguez and Ted Pletsch into the lineup. All three recorded a point on the weekend. Peltoma scored a goal Saturday night and had a plus-5 rating on the weekend. Rodriguez scored a goal in Sunday’s contest, while Pletsch recorded an assist.
“Full credit to the leadership and older guys in our locker room to take that as another opportunity,” Bergeron said. “They didn’t want the season to be over and that’s the way we played Saturday and Sunday. It must have something to do with the season is closer to ending and our guys don’t want it to end.”
Bowling Green will have its hands full against Notre Dame, one of the most well-balanced teams the Falcons have faced this season.
“Their depth to me is their biggest challenge,” Bergeron said. “Because, if it’s not (T.J.) Tynan, it’s somebody else. If it’s not (Anders) Lee, it’s somebody else. If it’s not a forward, it’s a defenseman. If it’s not a defenseman, (Steven) Summerhays or (Mike) Johnson will be there.”
Lee is Notre Dame’s leading point scorer. He is tied for second in the CCHA in total points (34) and goals (18). Summerhays has 692 saves in goal for the Irish with a save percentage of .919. Tynan is strong on the power play with 11 points (4 goals, 7 assists) on the season.
“If we play our game a certain way, we have a chance,” Bergeron said. “We have to focus and play our game and play our way. We can’t take a shift for granted. Our margin for error is small. Our mindset going to South Bend is to play good hockey.”
Bergeron on the play of Andrew Hammond:
“I think he got back to being Andrew,” Bergeron said. “We were disappointed with what happened at Notre Dame because it doesn’t happen. Andrew, his worst game is good. Obviously his best game is great. Sometimes you see him give up one goal he would like to have back, but not more than one.”
Hammond gave up five goals in four and half periods in his last appearance against Notre Dame. It was his first time in goal since recovering from a lower-body injury that sidelined the senior for four weeks. In the three-game LSSU series, Hammond allowed five goals and stopped 70 shots for a save percentage of .933. He shut out the Lakers in the final game.
Hammond now has three shutouts on the season tying Tyler Masters (2000-01) and Jimmy Spratt (2008-2009) for most single season shutouts. Hammond is also tied with Masters for career shutouts with seven.
“This past weekend the rust had been knocked off, which we were hoping it would have,” Bergeron said. “He made some big time saves on Friday and kept us in that game and obviously Saturday and Sunday, the team in front of him was playing way better. It’s not a surprise at all that Andrew is back on the top of his game. What I like about it now, is that he’s rested, in the big picture. I’m looking forward to seeing what he does with the opportunity.”
Senior defenseman, Bobby Shea was recently named a second-team all-CCHA selection along with sophomore forward, Ryan Carpenter. Shea was also named a finalist for the CCHA’s Best Defensive Defenseman. He finished with a team best, plus-14 rating in conference play while blocking 32 shots. Other nominees include Western Michigan junior Dan DeKeyser and Miami senior Steven Spinell. The winner will be named at the CCHA Awards, Friday, March 22 at Fox Theatre in Detroit.
Tweets of the Week:
Thanks to everyone for all the support! Truly a blessing from God to play hockey here at Bg and time to get after it this weekend!
Thanks for all of the support! Without my teammates I wouldn’t receive this award. The credit goes to them and our hockey family