Notebook: Hawkins’ injury update, polls, other tidbits

By November 16, 2015Notebooks

The long-term status of Bowling Green’s Brandon Hawkins is still being determined, Falcon coach Chris Bergeron said Monday afternoon.

The sophomore forward suffered a lower-body injury Friday at Michigan Tech. He didn’t play in the series finale the next night.

Hawkins, one of BG’s best players, was scheduled to be evaluated by the team doctor Monday night.

“Hopefully, we’ll know more after that,” Bergeron said. “The indications we’re getting from our training staff are that it’s going to be week to week, but we’ll have to see.”

Hawkins won’t be practicing because of the injury, Bergeron said.

The 5-foot-10, 195-pound right wing led the Falcons last season with 16 goals and 30 points as a freshman. He’s off to a tough start this season with just two assists in 10 games, although he has a team-best 31 shots on goal.

BG is 5-3-3 overall and 2-2-2 in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. It hosts Alabama-Huntsville (3-4-1, 2-3-1) in a WCHA series Friday and Saturday nights at 7:07.

The Falcons have eight games remaining before Christmas, including consecutive home series against UAH, Northern Michigan (Nov. 26-27) and Minnesota State (Dec. 4-5).

BG finishes the pre-Christmas portion of its schedule at Bemidji State (Dec. 11-12).

POLLS: The Falcons remained 15th in this week’s U.S. College Hockey Online Top 20.

They received 257 points, down from 274 a week ago. BG was tied for 15th with St. Lawrence last week.

In the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Top 15, the Falcons had 11 points, compared to 25 last week.

The Falcons split at Tech, which remained No. 20 in the USCHO poll. BG posted a 3-2 victory Saturday after Tech was a 2-0 winner Friday.

POWER PLAY: The Falcon power play scored twice Saturday, matching its output of the first 10 games. The goals, scored 53 seconds apart by Tyler Spezia and Matt Pohlkamp, gave BG a 2-1 lead.

“We tried to keep it simple,” said BG senior forward Mark Cooper, who assisted on Spezia’s goal before scoring the game-winning goal in the third period. “Our focus right now on the power play is just to outwork the penalty-killers. We did that tonight, and we were rewarded with two goals.”

BG made personnel changes to its power play. It was 0 of 5 Friday and entered the series finale against Tech 2 of 39 on the season. Hawkins’ injury also forced BG to make changes.

“We have to start holding power play time precious and make these guys earn that,” Bergeron said. “That means results and the guys out there tonight got results.”

The Falcons had a good amount of time in the offensive zone Friday, but had only five shots in 9:14 with the extra man.

“Part of the process is zone time, but it’s creating opportunities,” Bergeron said.

Bergeron also was pleased his team won faceoffs during its power plays.

“That’s so indicative of where your mind-set is at, that first 15 seconds,” Bergeron said. “Are you chasing (the puck) down or getting good zone time established? I just liked our overall approach and it led to results.”

SLOW STARTS: Although the Falcons played well in the first period Saturday, they still allowed the game’s first goal for the sixth time in 11 games. BG is 2-3-1 in those games.

The Falcons have been outscored 9-8 in the first period this season.

“We’re going to continue to harp on our starts,” Bergeron said. “Our start has been an indication of what to expect from our group. When our starts haven’t been good, we’ve been chasing the game (for the rest of the night).”

Bergeron said the team has primarily struggled because of too many turnovers.

“That has to change,” Bergeron said. “We can’t have those turnovers.”

OFFENSE: The Falcons’ three goals Saturday marked just the third time this season they’ve scored that many in a game.

BG had scored two or fewer goals six straight games.

NEXT: UAH (3-4-1, 2-3-1) has been idle since 4-2, 2-1 losses at Tech Nov. 6-7.

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.