The process and the details of Bowling Green’s game are paying off.
The Falcons, ranked eighth nationally, are 17-6-5 overall and 13-4-3 in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.
They’re third in the league, six points behind second-place Michigan Tech and 10 points behind first-place and top-ranked Minnesota State. BG has two games in hand on both of those teams, but only has eight games remaining.
The Falcons are coming off a 2-1, 3-2 sweep of Ferris State in the Ice Arena, a series in which it didn’t play well Friday but turned in an improved effort Saturday.
Even though it played much better Saturday, BG still had to score twice in the third period to post a 3-2 win.
“All wins are good in my book. There is no such thing as a bad win,” BG coach Chris Bergeron said. “How we analyze is based on the process. The results will take care of themselves more times than not, if the process is right. Numbers say it.
“There are going to be nights where you get away with it. There are going to be nights when your process is really good and you don’t win. But the majority of the time, (the process) works itself out. “
The process and the details — as Bergeron, his assistant coaches and players refer to them — are how the Falcons execute in all aspects of each game.
“That’s what happened tonight. Our process was pretty darn good,” Bergeron said after Saturday’s win.
The Falcons had just 10 shots during the first two periods and had to kill off almost eight minutes in penalties during the second period.
“We didn’t create enough offense the first two periods, and we had some untimely puck play and some untimely penalties,” Bergeron said. “But there were some good things going on.”
Even though Ferris built leads of 1-0 and 2-1 during the first 40 minutes, the Falcons didn’t quit. BG rebounded to play a strong third period to earn the win.
“There was fight in us,” Bergeron said. “That’s not good enough, but that’s pretty good. Our guys knew there was more in us.”
Bergeron has consistently stressed the details and the process since he was hired in April 2010 after serving as an assistant coach at Miami, which often has one of the best programs in the country.
The Falcons stress playing well every day — whether it’s practice or a game — and they see every day as the next opportunity to do that. They focus strive to great every day — on the off the ice, in the classroom and in the community.
But the road to this season’s success hasn’t been easy.
BG’s program is back in the national spotlight after it was targeted for elimination by university and athletic department administrators during 2008-09 season.
But overwhelming support from the community, Falcon hockey alums and fans of the team saved the program from elimination. The program is now on solid financial ground.
Bergeron, and assistant coaches Ty Eigner and Barry Schutte have upgraded BG’s individual talent and depth of talent at all three positions.
The Falcons were 5-15-5 overall and 4-18-6 in the now-defunct Central Collegiate Hockey Association during the 2009-10 season, the last before Bergeron took and his staff over.
Even Bergeron’s early teams struggled with results because of its lack of talent.
BG was 10-27-4, 3-21-4 in his first season, but the Falcons have increased their win totals overall and in the league every season since. They joined the WCHA at the start of the season.
Now, BG needs just three wins to reach the 20-victory mark for the first time since the 1995-96 season. The Falcons also could earn their first NCAA playoff since the 1990 season.
“There are days I wanted to veer from that process because it was very frustrating,” said Bergeron, an ultra-intense individual who didn’t deal well with losing at the time. “But the fact I surrounded myself with the right people and they reminded me the process will get us to where we want to be.”
But Bergeron has matured as a head coach. He still hates losing, but focuses more on how the team plays each game — meaning were its process and details good?
Now, the Falcons are being rewarded for their hard work on and off the ice.
“I don’t know that it’s a reward, but it’s proof the process works,” Bergeron said. “Everyone’s process will be different, but we can’t get focused on the results.
“In a result oriented world, you get so wrapped up in results, and you’re up and down like a Yo-yo. I do feel like the process is paying off and will continue to pay off because that’s not going to change based on results being a little bit better.”
Sophomore Kevin Dufour leads BG with 13 goals and junior Ben Murphy has 10. Dufour, freshman Brandon Hawkins and junior Matt Pohlkamp share the team lead in points with 19.
BG has scored by committee and it has fared well, even though it doesn’t have one of the league’s top 13 point producers. The Falcons also have depth on defense and in goal. Every player is capable of being a key contributor each night.
The Falcons have done well in the classroom, too, and they’re upgraded their locker room and players lounge. The arena also has been upgraded as well.
“The process isn’t only on the ice, it’s off the ice, from the decisions we made from a personnel standpoint,” Bergeron said. “The decisions we’ve made from a purchase standpoint, in terms of what we’ve bought for our space.”
POLLS: The Falcons are eighth in both the U.S. College Hockey Online Top 20 and the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Top 15 this week.
In the USCHO voting, the Falcons received 651 points — one behind No. 7 Miami.
BG and Miami were tied for eighth last week with 606 points. Miami was a 4-3 winner over Western Michigan Saturday in an outdoor game at Chicago’s Soldier Field.
In the USA Today voting, BG totaled 286 points, up from 255 last week when it was ninth.
HONOREE: Murphy is the WCHA’s offensive player of the week.
He had two goals and one assist in the sweep of Ferris.
Murphy’s 10 goals are second on the team and he’s in a two-way tie for fourth in points.
He has seven goals and four assists in the last 13 games.
HEATING UP: BG’s Dan DeSalvo has a point in five straight games, totaling one goal and four assists in that span.
GOOD START: BG forward Brandon Hawkins is having a solid first season.
In addition to sharing the team lead in points, he has nine goals and an on-ice rating of plus-5. Three of his goals have come on the power play.
Hawkins has a point in seven of the last 11 games, totaling three goals and five assists in that span.
NATIONAL STATS: The Falcons are 12th nationally in goals allowed (2.21 per game) and 16th in goals scored (3.06 per game).