Notebook: Falcons looking to play better at home

By February 6, 2015Notebooks

Bowling Green has a winning record at home this season.

But the Falcons haven’t played as well in the Ice Arena as they have on the road.

They’re 6-3-1 at home, but they’ve lost twice and tied once against teams with losing records overall.

Three of BG’s final five series are at home, starting Friday and Saturday against Ferris State. Faceoff both nights is 7:07.

The Falcons were 3-1 losers to Lake Superior and 3-2 losers to Ohio State, and had to score two extra-attacker goals in the final minute to earn a 4-4 tie against Alaska.

BG coach Chris Bergeron was at a loss as to explain his team’s home struggles.

“Potentially, there’s more pressure on us to do well at home, but that’s not even for sure,” said Bergeron, who team is 15-6-5 overall and 11-4-3 in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.

BG is averaging 2,894 fans per home game, an increase of 800 over last season.

“Our home crowds have been outstanding,” Bergeron said. “Our home ice advantage is back. There’s no reason for why we’ve played better on the road than we have at home. We want to find a way to play well at home.”

HOME STATS: BG is averaging just 2.7 goals per game at home, compared to 3.08 overall.

The BG power play is just 6 of 41 (14.6 percent) with two short-handed goals against at home, but is converting at 16.3 percent overall.

The Falcons are allowing 2.2 gpg at home, compared to 2.27 overall.

The BG penalty-killing, ranked first nationally overall, is 38-of-39 at home. The only goal allowed came Oct. 31 against Minnesota State. BG hasn’t allowed a power-play goal in its last seven home games, covering 35 chances.

SERIES: BG is 55-56-2 against Ferris, including a 1-4-1 record in the last six games.

The Bulldogs have won six straight in the Ice Arena since BG posted a 3-1 win Feb. 14, 2009.

TOUGH STRETCH: The Bulldogs have lost eight of their last 10 games as they try to survive a difficult stretch.

They’ve lost four straight, all to top-ranked and WCHA leading Minnesota State. The previous two weekends were spent in Alaska where they swept Anchorage and lost twice to Fairbanks.

Their next four games are against eighth-ranked BG. The teams play at Ferris next weekend.

Ferris, the defending WCHA regular-season champion and second in the coaches poll this season, is 11-15-1 overall and 8-10 in the league.

“They’re trying to right their ship,” Bergeron said. “Playing (Minnesota State) four times in a row is not easy. They’re going to want to play better. We’re going to want to play better.”

The Bulldogs and Bemidji State are tied for fifth in the league with 16 points, four behind Northern Michigan and nine behind BG.

RIVALRY: BG and Ferris already have played 15 times in Bergeron’s four-plus seasons as the Falcons’ head coach.

They played seven times during the 2011-12 season, with BG winning a best-of-3 series at Ferris in the first round of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs.

Both teams play a physical style and work hard.

BG and Ferris both moved from the now-defunct CCHA to the WCHA after the 2012-13 season.

“A rivalry has developed between us and them,” Bergeron said. “When you play a team that much, you develop a rivalry. These four games are going to be heated.

“When we go over to this new league together and they’ve won the league and had the success they’ve had, I don’t know that they look at us as a rival. We look at them as a rival because we want to be like them. We want to be as successful as them.”

BRAND: Ferris had one of the best teams in the now-defunct CCHA during the league’s last decade and the WCHA. The Bulldogs lost in the NCAA quarterfinals last season and played in the NCAA championship in 2012.

“They’ve always had good goaltending, and they’ve always defended a certain way,” Bergeron said. “The thing about Ferris is they’ve been the same, in terms of their work ethic, for years. You always know what you’re going to get.

“The last few years, they’ve been really, really successful. Now, there’s a swagger a there, a confidence there, that they deserve. They’re a group we’re trying to be like.”

LEADERS: Ferris senior C.J. Motte is one of the league’s best goalies.

He has started every game, posting a 2.24 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage.

Junior left wing Matt Robertson is the team’s leading scorer with 22 points. He has six goals and 16 assists in 27 games.

The Bulldogs are sixth in the league in scoring (2.5 gpg) and are tied with BG for third in goals allowed (2.22 gpg).

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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