Notebook: Falcons striving to increase offensive production

By November 11, 2015Notebooks
BG's Kevin Dufour celebrates after scoring a goal during Friday's 1-1 tie against Lake Superior in the Ice Arena (Photo by Todd Pavlack/BGSUHockey.com)

Bowling Green is striving to end its offensive slump.

The Falcons have scored only 21 goals in nine games, including six goals in their last four games.

“You just continue to preach what we’ve always been preaching,” Falcon coach Chris Bergeron said. “That’s every day stuff, habits, details, purpose to what you’re doing. To us, that’s part of the process.”

BG earned only two ties against Lake Superior last weekend in the Ice Arena, even though it allowed only one goal in each game.

The details, Bergeron said, include making sure the Falcons get pucks in the offensive zone with purpose, supporting the puck in the offensive zone and taking what the game gives them.

They’re also making sure they’re positioning themselves in front of the net, not off to the side, and making sure they hit the net with their shots.

BG is 4-2-3 overall and 1-1-2 in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association going

into this weekend’s series at Michigan Tech (5-3, 5-3).

Scoring wasn’t expected to be an issue for the Falcons after they returned the bulk of their offensive leaders from last season. BG was third in the WCHA last season in scoring, averaging 3.06 goals per game.

BG has defended well overall this season and leads the league in goals allowed (1.89 gpg).

“You can’t make a kid score goals,” Bergeron said. “Scoring goals is hard. The only way I know how is to stick to the process. You make sure the details are right. You make sure the habits are right.

“Sometimes you tend to get too cute when pucks aren’t going in. You can’t allow that too happen. “

The Falcons have been hurt by an ineffective power play which has scored just twice in 29 attempts.

“The process on the power play seems to be really, really hit or miss right now,” Bergeron said.

But the Falcons won’t sacrifice defense to improve their offense.

“We won’t take our foot off the gas ever (defensively),” Bergeron said. “The only way we know is to stick to the process. It’ll never be take a couple of chances defensively, so we can get more offense.”

HAWK: Brandon Hawkins, who led BG last season with 16 goals and 30 points, still doesn’t have a goal this season. The sophomore right wing taken a team-best 30 shots, but has just two assists in nine games.

“He’s like any offensive guy. He wants to put up points. He’s trying hard to put up points,” Bergeron said. “What we’re trying to get him to do is not cut corners and not cheat the game to get offense.

“An offensive guy, to the level that Brandon is, that’s just a natural instinct and we’re trying to get him to go away from the natural instinct and do the little things better.”

The coaches are stressing to Hawkins to play well in the defensive zone and be harder on pucks in the offensive zone.
“Maybe those are things you can get away with when you’re scoring,” Bergeron said. “Right now, he’s not scoring.

“The pucks aren’t going in right now. You have to earn everything you get at this level and he knows that. He’s figuring out a way to earn it. We’re harping on him in practice to make sure his details and his habits are really good, and he’ll get rewarded for that.”

Prior to BG, Hawkins totaled 66 goals and 55 assists in 118 games with the Texas Tornado of the North American (Junior) Hockey League and the Sioux City Musketeers of the United States (Junior) Hockey League.

“We all would agree, at least the coaching staff would, it’s not a matter of if he scores goals, it’s when he starts to score,” Bergeron said. “Usually it takes one going in off his arm or his leg to go in to get him going.”

INJURED: BG’s Kevin Dufour is doubtful for the Tech series because of a lower-body injury, Bergeron said.

Dufour tried to practice Tuesday, but left the ice and didn’t return, Bergeron said.

The junior forward is BG’s leading scorer with seven points, including a team-best six goals.

DEBUT: BG freshman forward Stephen Baylis made his official debut against Lake Superior. He played in the Falcons’ exhibition contest, but sat out the first six games under NCAA rules because he had Canadian Major A junior experience.

The 6-foot-1, 201-pounder played well Friday, but appeared fatigued on Saturday.

“The message to him was take note off how you feel after Saturday’s game and make the proper adjustments in terms of your daily process,” Bergeron said.

“What we want him to take out of the series is. ‘I’ve got to be in better shape, so as the weekend goes on, I can stay at the same level I was at the beginning of the weekend.”

Baylis skated on a line with two of BG’s best offensive players, center Mark Cooper and Hawkins.

He totaled 97 goals and 139 assists in 254 regular-season/playoff games over four seasons with the Carleton Place Canadians in the Central Canadian (Junior) Hockey League.

PRACTICE PLAYER: Andrew Savage, a defensemen on the university’s club hockey team, is in the middle of a two-week tryout with the Falcons, Bergeron.

However, Savage will be a practice player only. He’s ineligible to play in games with the Falcons because he played four seasons with the club team, Bergeron said.

“The ruling we were told by our compliance office is that his four years of club has used up his varsity hockey eligibility,” Bergeron said.

BG is looking to add depth on defenseman. The Falcons have had only seven defensemen since Oct. 7.

“We can’t practice with seven defensemen all year long and we don’t want to,” Bergeron said.

Bergeron said Savage “has done fine so far.” Once tryout the is over, the Falcon coaches and Savage will decide if he’ll continue to practice with the team.

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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.

error: Please contact Todd@BGSUHockey.com for photo rights.