Ya know, the funny thing about life is the second you point out something good, you jinx it. I don’t know that that’s an “always” situation, but at least in my experience it is.
So what are the odds that the week well all write about how good BG has been in the third period this year, that it blows two third period leads in the ensuing weekend series?
At least even money, right?
Gambling joke. Nevermind. Well, last week I wrote about it at the Sentinel. Gordo wrote about it here. Then BG gave up three goals in the third to lose Friday, and gave up a late goal that appeared to be doom Saturday, and might have been had Brandon Hawkins not come to the rescue. I think that’s a textbook definition of irony.
Well it was still a weekend split, which is OK. Not the best result but whatever, I won’t nitpick too much.
Please note that these are all box score observations this week, since your’s truly was dispatched at high school football games both nights this weekend. The exciting life of me.
Tate: It seems that whenever Brent Tate is in the lineup good things happen. The problem is he has trouble staying in the lineup.
Tate scored both goals in the 3-2 loss Friday. He has three goals in four games this year. If he can manage to stay healthy the rest of the year, he could have an impressive stat line. But, that’s a capital I.F.
He was playing down the middle this weekend, so it will be interesting if that continues going forward. He was a respectable 10 of 16 on faceoffs Friday, but only 7 of 17 Saturday. Fun experiments.
Goalies: Head coach Chris Bergeron opted to go with the hot hand in Tommy Burke on Friday, which is something I think anyone would have done.
He only stopped 21 of 24 shots, so the stat line wasn’t pretty. But he wasn’t under fire for much of the first two and a half periods. And from what I’ve heard/gleaned about the three OSU goals, they were all pretty unfortunate bounces, so not necessarily his fault.
Regardless, it sort of gave Bergeron an excuse to start someone Saturday, and he gave Chris Nell his third start of the year. He was strong, stopping 27 of 29 shots, including a couple of strong saves (at least that’s what Twitter told me).
Where does this leave us? I don’t know. Nell actually has the best numbers of the three with a 2.00 goals-against average and a .928 save percent. He’s also 3-0-0, not that wins is a huge indicator of goalie usefulness, but still. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the staff give Burke this weekend off and go with Nell and Tomas Sholl, who hasn’t played since allowing five goals to Minnesota State on Oct. 31. But we’ll find that out eventually.
Balance: BG scored five times this weekend, with 10 different players picking up points.
Perhaps most importantly, BG defensemen got in on the fun.
Mike Sullivan had a goal and an assist Saturday to give him five points on the year. Sean Walker scored his first goal of the season, while Dajon Mingo picked up an assist.
After a strong start to the year, BG’s defensemen have seen their point production drop.
Nolan Valleau is still sitting on no goals and six assists, having gone pointless the last eight games. Freshman Mark Friedman is also pointless the last eight games, and has only a goal and two assists on the season.
Point production from the blue line figured to be a strength of the Falcons this year. And, I mean, it hasn’t been terrible. BG has two of the top 14 scoring defensemen in the WCHA this year. But one of those guys is Valleau, who had all of his points the first four games.
I don’t think that’s anything to be concerned about at present time. But it will be worth monitoring as the season moves along.
RECORD: I did this one in all caps because it’s pretty cool. Friday night’s game had an attendance of 5,353, an ice arena record. That broke the record of 5,031 a few years ago against Michigan.
I was at that game, and it was one of the coolest experiences of my life. If I remember correctly, the record was broken the second game, which BG lost. There was pretty close to as many people there the first night when the Falcons won. When Bryce Williamson scored with like two minutes left in the game to put BG up, I thought the roof was coming off the building.
It’s cool to see that type of atmosphere there again (and for the record, yes I’m bummed I couldn’t witness that). We were kind of spitballing mid-week about what we thought attendance would hit. I don’t even remember what I guesstimated. The OSU game last year only had 2,752. So I don’t know that this was expected.
Perhaps BG being ranked played a factor? If that is the case, it will be interesting to see if that leads to attendance increase for WCHA home games.
To be a bit of a downer: 5,353 is nice, but I’ll be impressed when the house is packed for Bemidji State or Michigan Tech. That will be an accomplishment.