Bowling Green is no stranger to postseason success.
The Falcons are hoping their playoff success during the last three seasons will pay off this weekend.
They host Northern Michigan in the first round of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs.
The Falcons have won four playoff series during the last three seasons.
BG advanced to the Western Collegiate Hockey Association semifinals last season and the Central Collegiate Hockey Association semifinals in 2012.
BG posted a sweep of Michigan Tech in the quarterfinals at home last season after winning three series on the road the two previous seasons.
“The experience factor is something you just can’t teach. You have to live through it, and we’ve lived through a bunch,” BG coach Chris Bergeron said.
The Falcons, 21-10-5 overall, are the No. 3 seed. NMU (14-16-6) finished seventh in the league.
BG and NMU play a best-of-3 quarterfinal series tonight, Saturday and, if needed, Sunday in the Ice Arena. Faceoff all three nights is 7:07.
“We’ve had a bunch of playoff series, and we can’t talk about it being the first time. That’s a good thing.,” Bergeron said. “Whether or not we take advantage of the opportunity is a whole different story, conversation.”
DIFFERENCE-MAKER: One key player for NMU is junior Michael Doan, who stopped 61 of 66 shots in the Wildcats’ 3-2 (overtime), 4-3 sweep of the Falcons Feb. 20-21 in the Ice Arena.
“The last series, Michael Doan out-goaltended our guys; that’s something we need to find a way to make better,” Bergeron said.
Doan has a 2.97 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage in 17 games. The 6-foot-4, 214-pounder became NMU’s No. 1 goalie when standout Mathias Dahlstrom suffered an undisclosed injury Jan. 30. Dahlstrom hasn’t played since.
“The more pucks and people we get to the net will make it harder for him,” Bergeron said. “He’s a big guy who has proven he can make difficult saves and handle the puck, and that poses a problem.
“But at this time of year, we’re expecting the best from everyone on both teams. We expect him to play well. We’ll have to make sure we do things right to get to him, to make it difficult on him.”
SLUMPING: The Wildcats have lost three straight games and seven of their last 10, including 5-1, 3-1 losses to WCHA runnerup Michigan Tech last weekend in a home-and-home series.
Still, NMU is 7-9-2 on the road overall this season and 7-6-1 in road league games.
“They compete hard, and they’re a really good road team,” said Bergeron, whose team is 10-5-2 at home.
STATS: NMU is fifth in the league in scoring (3.31 goals per game), seventh in goals allowed (2.58 gpg) and fifth in penalty-killing (86.2 percent).
Junior forward Darren Nowick is NMU’s leading scorer with 22 points. He has seven goals and 15 assists in 36 games. Sophomore defenseman Brock Maschmeyer has nine goals and 10 assists in 36 games.
PENALTIES: The Falcons are the fourth-least penalized team in the league at 12.7 minutes per game. NMU is fifth (13.0).
BEST START: The Falcons’ 21-10-5 record is their best after 36 games since the 1994-95 season when they were 24-10-2.