Noteboook: Despite results, Falcons still seeking improvement

By December 3, 2014 September 26th, 2015 Notebooks

Bowling Green likes its recent results.

But the Falcons aren’t as pleased with the way they’ve played during their last six games.

BG is 5-1 in that span as it prepares to visit Northern Michigan for a Western Collegiate Hockey Association series Friday and Saturday.

Faceoff both nights is 7:07 in Marquette, Mich.

Most recently, BG wasn’t consistently sharp in a 3-1, 3-2 sweep of Bemidji State in the Ice Arena.

The Falcons, 10-3-1 overall and 7-1 in the WCHA, were idle last weekend. NMU is 8-3-1, 5-3. BG has won three straight and six of its last seven games overall to climb to 14th in both national polls. NMU is No. 19.

“I don’t think we’ve played our best over the last five, six games,” BG coach Chris Bergeron said. “We’re trying to get guys not to worry about the results, but to worry about the process which is sometimes difficult with this age of people.”

The Falcons’ biggest concern is too many turnovers.

“We want to play our best hockey for 60 minutes, and that’s everyone’s challenge,” Bergeron said. “We’ve been able to win some games when we haven’t played our best, and we’re trying to get our guys to understand we can play better.”

Bergeron said the coaches are leaning on BG’s veteran players to make sure the team is focusing on the process and the details of each game and not the results.

When a team is losing, it’s generally easier for a coaching staff to get the attention of the players. Now the Falcons are finding ways to win, even when they don’t play well.

“If those guys (the veterans) buy into that, hopefully the other 21 guys will buy into it. It’s not easy because the results say everything is great,” Bergeron said. “But the process says everything is not great, and we can play better.”

FAST STARTS: The Falcons’ 14-game record is their best since the 1995-96 season when they were 11-2-1.

NMU’s 12-game record represents the school’s most wins since the 1998-99 season when it was 9-3.

POWERLESS: The Falcon power play has scored just twice in its last 29 chances during the last eight games.

“We feel like our power play can be good,” Bergeron said. “But as of late, it hasn’t been as consistent as it was early.”

BG’s power play started the season 8 of 27 (29.6 percent).

“We want to see (the power play) getting better,” Bergeron said. “It doesn’t necessarily need to be scoring. For now, it needs to be (offensive) zone time. It needs to be chances. Then, we can focus on results.”

NMU’s penalty-killing should provide BG’s power play with a big test. The Wildcats — who are allowing a national-best 1.17 goals game — are tied for fourth nationally in penalty-killing at 91.7 percent.

NMU sophomore Mathias Dahlstrom is one of the country’s best goalies, ranking first nationally with a 1.19 goals-against average and second with a .952 save percentage.

“But if we can’t get zone time and we can’t create opportunities, then we can can’t worry about the results,” Bergeron said. “We have to make sure the process is right. The last six games, the process hasn’t been right.”

SPEZIA: Bergeron said freshman forward Tyler Spezia is “basically shut down” until the team returns on Dec. 28 from its break.

Spezia missed the Bemidji series with an undisclosed illness.

SERIES: The Falcons are 40-39-7 all-time against NMU, including a road split last season.

BG is 18-25-4 at NMU.

Kevin Gordon

About Kevin Gordon

Kevin joined after wrapping up a 27-year run as the Falcon hockey beat writer for the Sentinel-Tribune. After providing another two years of the Falcon hockey coverage fans had grown to love over the past three decades, Kevin decided to hang up his notebook and is now enjoying the retired life. Please join us by sending Kevin a tweet and thank him for all the time he's dedicated to BGSU hockey: @KGordonBG.