Pohlkamp adding offense to solid defensive play

By October 15, 2015Features

Matt Pohlkamp came to Bowling Green labeled as a defensive forward.

But the 6-foot, 200-pounder has emerged as a consistent scoring threat with the Falcons.

He has 19 goals and 26 assists in 81 games in his first two-plus seasons at BG, including seven goals and 17 assists in 39 games last season.

Pohlkamp is off to a good start this season. He has two goals and two assists in BG’s first three games. He also scored the game-winning goal short-handed with 48 seconds to play against the University of Toronto in an exhibition Oct. 3.

I’m not a big vocal guy, but I try to do the right things on the ice and lead by example for the younger guys. – Matt Pohlkamp

Next for Pohlkamp and the 10th-ranked Falcons is a nonleague trip to western New York for games against Canisius Friday and the Rochester Institute of Technology Saturday.

“I’ve been working on my strength and speed,” Pohlkamp said of his production. “A lot of it is confidence, and the trust my coaches and teammates have in me. I’m just trying to play my role and do the best that I can.”

Pohlkamp has played well defensively during his high school, junior and college careers. He’s an excellent penalty-killer and can be matched against the opposing team’s best players in a checking role when needed.

He had just 12 goals and 12 assists in a combined 48 games in the United States (Junior) Hockey League with Fargo with and the North American (Junior) Hockey League with Bismarck during the 2012-13 season.

“I’ve always believed I’ve been an offensive guy. You play hockey to score goals,” Pohlkamp said.

And Falcon coach Chris Bergeron believed Pohlkamp would score goals, praising his offensive skills from the day he signed his national of intent.

Pohlkamp had 99 goals and 101 assists in 140 career games for Brainerd (Minn.) High School.

“We’re just trying to help him tweak the details of his game from an offensive standpoint,” Bergeron said. “He misses the net a little bit too much for a kid who shoots the puck that hard. You hit the net and shoot the puck as hard as he does, you have a chance for it to go in. He shoots the puck as well as anybody.”

Pohlkamp’s 84 shots on goal last season were the fourth-most on the team.

“If I can hit the net more often, I’m going to score more often,” he said.

Pohlkamp’s size and shot are earning him consideration for ice time on the power play. He can play in front of the net and is able to retrieve pucks down low, but he also can be used in a shooting position.

But Pohlkamp’s trademarks are his defensive play and consistency.

He’s one of those understated guys who unfortunately doesn’t get the talk he deserves. The ice time he eats, the hard ice time he’s playing, that deserves more credit than it gets. – Chris Bergeron

He has a career plus-minus rating of plus-31, including a plus-20 last season and a plus-3 this season. BG’s penalty-killing ranked second nationally last season at 89.8 percent and was first for part of the season.

Pohlkamp is BG’s best two-way forward and one of the team’s most consistent players. He can be used in any situation, offensively and defensively. His big body makes him a physical presence and good forechecker almost every shift.

“I’m not a big vocal guy, but I try to do the right things on the ice and lead by example for the younger guys,” said Pohlkamp, who is one of the team’s quietest players off the ice.

“I want to be responsible defensively,” Pohlkamp added. “If you’re getting scored on, you’re not going to be out there to score goals.”

Pohlkamp’s consistency carries over off the ice. He has a 3.4 grade-point average in supply chain management.

“Every day, on and the off the ice, you know what you’re going to get from Matt Pohlkamp,” Bergeron said. “The variance from him on his best day and him on a bad day is so small, and that, to us, is consistency.

“Part of the reason he doesn’t get the attention is because he’s so quiet,” Bergeron said. “He doesn’t say a whole lot and just does his deal.”

Because Pohlkamp is quiet and doesn’t play a flashy style, his contributions are easy to overlook. Yet, his consistency and hard work on and off the ice make him one of the BG’s most valuable players.

“I try to be my best every day,” Pohlkamp said. “When you’re consistent, you’re not having a lot of good days and bad days. You’re consistently having good days. I really take pride in my consistency.”

“He doesn’t get the accolades he deserves,” Bergeron said. “You talk about an every day guy, that’s Matt Pohlkamp. “He’s one of those understated guys who unfortunately doesn’t get the talk he deserves. The ice time he eats, the hard ice time he’s playing, that deserves more credit than it gets.”

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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