Falcons seeking consistency as they begin six-game homestand

By November 18, 2015Notebooks

Bowling Green is coming off a solid performance in a 3-2 win Saturday at Michigan Tech.

The Falcons are hoping it will be the start of a string of quality performances.

Their level of execution and effort has been up and down during the first 11 games.

Yet, the Falcons still are 5-3-3 overall and 2-2-2 in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.

They have a chance to build momentum during the next three weekends with home series against Alabama-Huntsville, Northern Michigan and Minnesota State.

The Falcons host UAH (3-4-1, 2-3-1) Friday and Saturday nights at 7:07.

BG, ranked 15th nationally, played well in the first and third periods against No. 20 Tech, and survived a strong push by the Huskies in the second period.

Falcon goalie Tommy Burke made 15 of his 30 saves in the middle period, and Mark Cooper scored to break a 2-2 tie with 15:51 remaining in the game.

“The feeling in the locker room after the game Saturday was very good, knowing it was a very difficult opponent in a very difficult place to play,” said BG coach Chris Bergeron, whose team didn’t play well in Friday’s 2-0 loss.

“We worked hard to earn that result. The only way we can build off that result is if we continue to play the way we’re supposed to play.”

The Falcons started the season with a nonleague sweep of Ohio State, but are just 3-3-3 overall and 2-2-2 in the league since.

BG has been inconsistent, starting with a 4-1 nonleague loss at Western Michigan three days after the Falcons completed their sweep of OSU.

The Falcons have played well at times and not so well at others. The inconsistency has come from shift to shift, period to period and game to game.

“We’ve been talking about the level of intensity and our compete (level) since the Tuesday night at Western Michigan,” Bergeron said. “It’s been way too inconsistent.

“Forget about the details and the habits and all that stuff. If we don’t compete and have a level of intensity, we’ve got no chance. That’s where it has to start.

“We want to be able to execute with detail and purpose while we’re competing and intense. That’s the challenge. We’ve been too inconsistent with that. When we’ve been good with that, the results show we can be a good team.”

The Falcons have a winning record overall, even though they’ve played just three home games. They’ve also had league road trips to Tech and Alaska-Anchorage.

“It gives us a chance to work on our game in practice,” Bergeron said of the homestand. “We get lots of practice time and it’s a normal schedule. The only way we build momentum is if we take advantage of home ice, and that’s yet to be seen.”

The Falcons were second in the WCHA coaches poll, and still believe they can battle for the league championship and a berth in the NCAA playoffs.

After the six home games, BG finishes its pre-Christmas schedule at Bemidji State.

“What we want to do is put together two, three, four, games in a row where we’re playing the way we want to play, at least more of the time,” Bergeron said. “We’ve struggled with that. Our game has been up and down. We would like to bring some consistency to that.”

“The only way we take advantage of the home stretch is if we start to find a level of consistency and that consistency has to be in the process, the faceoffs, our 1 on 1 battles, our power-play, penalty-kill, all the details of the process of the game that make a difference in the result.”

The Falcons have won, even though they’ve scored just 24 goals in 11 games, its power play and penalty-killing units haven’t been as good as expected, and some of its key players haven’t played consistently well.

But BG has defended well as it’s allowing just 2.88 goals per game, and Burke and Chris Nell have combined for a .934 save percentage.

“We were kind of take a step back, take two steps forward, then half a step sideways,” Bergeron said. “We’re looking for consistency. We talk about that every day.

“We talk about every play. We talk about details and habits, and have a purpose to what you’re doing. That’s our focus.”

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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. 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.