Notebook: Falcons can control where they finish

By January 7, 2015 September 26th, 2015 Notebooks

Bowling Green is in position to control where it finishes in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.

The Falcons have the best winning percentage (.850) in league play, going 8-1-1.

They have 18 of their 28 league games remaining, starting Friday and Saturday when they host the University of Alaska (Fairbanks).

Faceoff in the Ice Arena both nights is at 7:07.

The Falcons, ranked 11th nationally and 12-3-3 overall, have 17 points in the league. Minnesota State leads the league with 23, while Michigan Tech is second with 20.

But BG has played four fewer games than Minnesota State and two fewer games than Tech.

“We can control where we finish in terms of a lot of our goals. Those goals are real,” said BG coach Chris Bergeron, who is in his fifth season. “It really is in our hands.”

BG’s primary goals are to win the WCHA regular season and playoff championships. The top four teams host first-round series.

The Falcons were fourth in the WCHA coaches poll after tying Alaska for third in the league last season.

BG hasn’t played a league series since Dec. 5-6, although it earned a win and a tie last weekend in a non-league series against Robert Morris.

EMPHASIS: Even though the Falcons have played well and are contending for the league championship, they’re still using the one day at a time approach.

“What we’re trying to do is really focus on the small picture and not get too far ahead of ourselves because of the first half we’ve had,” Bergeron said.

“We’ve talked about this a lot over the last five years, and it’s because it’s been negative,” Bergeron added. “You don’t want to think too far ahead, and you don’t want to think big picture.”

The Falcons are 8-1-2 in their last 11 games overall, including a 5-0-2 record in their last seven games dating back to Nov. 15. BG is 6-0-1 in its last seven league games, dating back to Nov. 1.

“You want to think in small terms. It’s the best way for us to operate,” Bergeron said. “If we can take care of today, then tomorrow will take care of itself in terms of standings, the polls and that stuff.”

WHAT’S LEFT: The Falcons have a favorable schedule remaining. Ten of their final 18 games are at home, and their opponents are a combined 32 games below .500 in league play.

BG doesn’t play Minnesota State again during the regular season and has just one series to play against Tech, that coming Jan. 16-17 in Houghton, Mich. Minnesota State and Tech also have a series to play against each other.

HOME SWEET HOME: The Alaska series marks BG’s first home games since Nov. 21-22 when it swept Bemidji State.

Although BG is 4-2-1 at home, it generally has played better on the road than it has at home.

“I can’t give you a reason for that,” Bergeron said. “We want to play well at home, and this building is conducive to us having a good home-ice advantage. We have plenty of opportunities to improve our home performances.”

The Falcons are 8-1-1 on the road and have a neutral-site tie against Robert Morris in an outdoor game at Fifth Third Field in Toledo.

NANOOKS: Alaska is 12-8 overall and 7-7 in the league, but the Nanooks are ineligible for the WCHA playoffs, the result of penalties for NCAA rules violations that spanned the 2007-08 through 2011-12 academic years.

The Nanooks were fifth in the coaches poll.

REMATCH: The Falcons already have beaten Alaska twice this season, posting two 3-2 wins in Fairbanks Nov. 7-8.

“We had difficult series in Fairbanks and came away with two wins,” Bergeron said. “Both games could have gone either way, but we found a way to win both.”

SERIES: The Falcons are 25-26-6 all-time against Alaska.

The teams are 12-12-3 in the Ice Arena, but the Falcons are 5-0-2 in the last seven meetings in BG.

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.