Notebook: Falcons pleased with record, seek improvement

By October 28, 2015 October 30th, 2015 Notebooks
BG's Pierre-Luc Mercier controls the puck against Ohio State. (Photo by Todd Pavlack/

Bowling Green is pleased with its record.

The Falcons, though, aren’t satisfied with the way they’re playing.

They’re 3-1-1 overall as they prepare to start the Western Collegiate Hockey Association portion of their schedule this weekend.

The Falcons visit Alaska-Anchorage Saturday and Sunday. Faceoff both nights is 6:07 BG time.

BG has been idle since Oct. 16-17 when it posted a 4-2 win at Canisius and a 2-2 tie at the Rochester (N.Y.) Institute of Technology.

The Falcons have played four of their five games on the road.

“There’s a lot to work on,” BG coach Chris Bergeron said. “There’s lots of room for improvement in all areas.”

Although the Falcons lead the WCHA in the fewest goals allowed (2.20 per game), they still need to improve their team defense and reduce their turnovers.

“Our play with the puck has not been good enough, and it all goes hand in hand with what we’re trying to impose on our players,” Bergeron said.

“The better we are with the puck, the less we have to defend and the more we can play the way we want to play, that puck possession, offensive zone game. We’ve turned the puck over too much.

“When we have had to defend, we’ve been chasing our opponent around versus taking away time and space. We’ve given them time and space, and that has to change.”

POWER PLAY; The Falcons also are seeking improvement on the power play where they haven’t scored in 15 chances this season.

“We’re overcomplicating it,” Bergeron said. “We’re not taking what the game gives us. We’ve got an extra guy out there. Somebody is going to be open somewhere. That pass doesn’t seem to be good enough for us.

“We want to go over sticks and under skates, and make it more difficult than it needs to be.”

The Falcons had some good chances on the power play during their first two games against Ohio State, but have spent far too much time chasing and retrieving the puck in the offensive zone.

“We have to get back to the zone time,” Bergeron said. “We have to get back to taking what the game gives us and simplifying the power play.

“When the power play struggles, you have to oversimplify and get pucks on net, and things like that.”

Even though BG is making some personnel changes on its two power-play units, the core of the groups will remain the same.

“The guys we have out there are power play guys,” Bergeron said. “We want to squeeze the guys who are out there to just play better.”

WEEK OFF: Bergeron said the Falcons used their week off to rest after playing five games in nine days to start the season.

“You get in game mode real quick and you stay in game mode,” Bergeron said. “Then, you have a week off to rest. That’s what last week was for.

“We’re going to constantly talk about the details. We’re going to constantly talk about the process and purpose of our game which is what we got back to last week.”

The UAA series starts a stretch of seven straight weekends in which the Falcons will play a league series. BG’s next break comes for Christmas after it visits Bemidji State Dec. 12-13.

WHY: The teams are playing a Saturday-Sunday series with a 2:07 p.m. Alaska time start in order to help increase attendance for the series, Bergeron said.

The change was made at the request of UAA, which traditionally has not drawn well when it plays at home Friday and Saturday nights during Halloween weekend.

The Falcons will travel to Anchorage on Thursday and fly home after Sunday’s game.

BAYLIS: BG freshman forward Stephen Baylis won’t play at UAA.

Saturday’s game is the last of Baylis’ six-game NCAA suspension for having Canadian Major A experience. He was expected to play Sunday, but is sitting that game out due to NCAA rules.

“There are some rules in place in terms of what we can and can’t pay travel wise,” Bergeron said, adding Baylis isn’t allowed to fly with the team since he can’t play in Saturday’s game.

“Being as far away as Anchorage, Alaska is, we can’t get him there in time to play Sunday,” Bergeron added.

Baylis was the media’s choice to win the WCHA rookie of the year award. He had 79 goals and 105 assists in 211 games for the Carleton Place Canadiens in the Ontario Junior Hockey League.

SERIES: The Falcons are 5-2-1 all-time against UAA, including 3-2-1 record in WCHA play the last two seasons.

The teams split a February series in Anchorage last season.

NOT AGAIN: Matthew Ferrari, a freshman defenseman who left the Falcon program on Oct. 8, quit the Ontario Hockey League’s Kitchener Rangers on Tuesday.

The Rangers said Ferrari left for “personal reasons.” He left the Falcon program for homesickness, Bergeron said earlier this month.

IMPROVED: After finishing last in the WCHA last season being next-to-last in the coaches poll this season, Ud AA is off to a strong start.

The Seawolves are 4-1-1 overall and 1-0-1 in the WCHA, including a 3-3 tie and a 3-2 win at Alabama-Huntsville last weekend. UAA was 8-22-4, 5-21-2 last season

“They work extremely hard. They’re going to be handful,” Bergeron said.

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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.