Falcons striving to shore up team defense

By January 22, 2015Notebooks

Bowling Green’s striving to shore up the defensive portion of its game.

The Falcons allowed four goals in back-to-back games Jan. 10 and Jan. 16 against the University of Alaska (Fairbanks) and Michigan Tech, and gave Tech too much time and space in a 3-2 BG win Jan. 17

BG is fifth in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association in overall goals allowed at 2.18 goals per game and fourth in league games goals allowed (2.07 gpg).

The Falcons, ranked sixth nationally, are coming off a split at No. 10 Tech.

Tech rallied from a 2-0 deficit to post a 4-3 win in Game 1 before the Falcons rebounded. BG built a 3-0 lead in the second game and held off Tech the rest of the way for a 3-2 win.

“When you look at the tape from both nights, there are situations we weren’t tight enough from a back-checking defensive standpoint and a defensive zone standpoint,” BG coach Chris Bergeron said of the Tech series.

“Those are things you can correct. We want to do things right, that’s us trying to be the best version of ourselves in playing good hockey for as close to 60 minutes, if not 60 or whatever it takes. We didn’t do that enough this weekend.”

The Falcons are 14-4-4 overall and 10-2-2 in the WCHA, going into a home series this weekend against Lake Superior (6-19-1, 5-13).

BG is still one point behind Tech for second place in the WCHA, but has two games in hand on the Huskies.

“Our competition and intensity wasn’t good enough, enough of the time,” Bergeron said. “But, at times, it was pretty good. We want to play harder than we did last weekend. We want to execute at a higher level. We want to defend at a higher level.

“(Tech is) a top team. They made it tough on us. I would just like to see a higher level of competition for more of the time. That’s something we’ve taken pride in.”

RECAP: The Falcons haven’t lost consecutive games games since Jan. 31-Feb. 1 last season when they lost twice at home to Northern Michigan.

“We went into Saturday night’s game with the mind-set we did not want to lose two games in a row,” Bergeron said of BG’s win at Tech. “We were able to find a way.”

OFFENSE: The Falcons are second in the league and 12t nationally in scoring, averaging 3.27 goals per game. They’ve scored three or more goals in five straight games and 16 times this season.

“That’s something we take pride in,” Bergeron said. “We’ve got guys contributing. We can generate offense.”

PK: The Falcon penalty-killing is still first nationally at 93.2 percent.

BG was 9 of 10 at Tech, the last coming Saturday on a major penalty with just 3:15 remaining in regulation and the Falcons holding a 3-2 lead.

Vermont is second at 92.8 percent

RECORDS: BG’s .727 winning percentage is fourth-best in the nation.

Minnesota State is first (.801, 18-4-1), followed by Harvard (.750, 11-3-2) and North Dakota (.739, 16-5-2). Tech is tied for 10th (.688, 16-7-1).

PAIRWISE: The Falcons are third in the Pairwise Rankings, which mirror the criteria for the NCAA playoffs. The top four teams receive No. 1 seeds for the regional playoffs.

The NCAA playoff field consists of six automatic bids and 10 at-large bids. The automatic bids go to the six league playoff champions.

LIGHT MENU: The BG-Lake Superior series is one of just two league series this weekend. The other sends Alaska (Fairbanks) to Tech.

HOME ICE: The Falcons are 5-2-2 at home this season, including a 4-1-1 record in league games.

Lake Superior is 1-6-1 on the road, going 0-6 in the league.

SERIES: BG is 78-70-10 all-time against Lake Superior, including a 44-25-4 record at home.

Lake Superior won three of the four meetings last season, winning twice at home and splitting in the Ice Arena.

This weekend’s series marks the only regular-season meetings between the teams.

Kevin Gordon

About Kevin Gordon

Kevin joined BGSUHockey.com after wrapping up a 27-year run as the Falcon hockey beat writer for the Sentinel-Tribune. He now provides his features, notebooks, and insights with BGSUHockey.com to continue providing Falcon hockey fans with the in-depth coverage they've loved for nearly three decades. He can be reached by e-mail at Kevin@bgsuhockey.com and on Twitter at @KGordonBG.

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