Bowling Green goalie Chris Nell is expected back in the lineup this weekend at Lake Superior, Falcon coach Chris Bergeron said Tuesday.
The sophomore missed last weekend’s series against Clarkson after he was hit in the head by a skate during Wednesday’s game against Western Michigan.
Nell ranks fourth nationally with a 1.42 goals-against average and a .944 save percentage. He leads the Western Collegiate Hockey Association in both statistics.
Nell had a full practice Tuesday, Bergeron said.
“The feedback was positive,” Bergeron said Tuesday after practice when asked about Nell’s status.
The Falcons visit Lake Superior Friday night at 7:37 and Saturday night at 7:07.
The travel roster for the series will be posted after Wednesday’s practice. The team will bus to Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. Thursday morning.
“We’ll see how tomorrow (Wednesday) goes,” Bergeron said. “As of right now, the status is he’s back in the conversation (to play at Lake Superior). Unless something changes tomorrow, we’ll go forward with that for the weekend. I expect him to be back playing, but things can obviously change. At this point, it looks good.”
Nell had started nine straight games and 12 of BG’s last 13 games before he was injured with 17:51 to go in the second period of a 1-0 loss to Western. He has an 8-2-5 record in 17 games.
GOALTENDING II: Bergeron said he no decision has been made on whether senior Tommy Burke or junior Tomas Sholl will make the trip to Lake Superior as the backup goalie, if Nell is able to go.
WCHA rules limit teams to 22 players on road trips for league games.
Burke allowed too many soft goals in the series split against Clarkson and Bergeron said BG’s goaltending is being re-evaluated this week.
Burke finished last season as BG’s No. 1 goalie and started this season in the same spot, but has a 2.88 goals-against and an .896 save percentage this season, posting a 4-3 record in seven games.
Sholl hasn’t played in a game this season, although he stopped 7 of 9 shots in the final 29:57 of BG’s exhibition contest against the University of Toronto Oct. 10. He has a 2.65 goals-against and .900 save percentage in 17 career games.
Sholl’s last start and game action came Jan. 10, 2015 at home in a 4-4 tie against Alaska (Fairbanks). He stopped just 6 of 8 shots and was replaced by Burke after only16:38. The Falcons earned the tie after trailing 2-0 and 4-1.
NEW INJURIES: BG sophomore forward Tyler Spezia and freshman defenseman Jordan Ernst have lower-body injuries and their status for the weekend will be decided after Wednesday’s practice, Bergeron said.
Ernst and Spezia didn’t practice Tuesday, Bergeron said, adding he thought the injuries were from the toll of the Clarkson series. He said neither indicated they were hurt after Sunday’s series finale.
“They didn’t practice today. I don’t know what that means, and we’ll get a sense as the day goes on how serious or not serious those are,” Bergeron said.
HEALTHY: Falcon defenseman Jose Delgadillo, who has missed the last five games with a shoulder injury, is back to 100 percent, Bergeron said.
HEALING: No decision has been made on whether Falcon forward Brent Tate will play this weekend. The sophomore assistant captain has missed the last six games with a thumb injury.
“He looks pretty good,” Bergeron said. “It’s now the beginning of the second week that he’s had of full contact. It’s just more from a stick-battle perspective, a battle perspective and shooting. He’ll have another day tomorrow that won’t be as intense as today’s practice was, but it’ll give us an idea if he’s capable of playing.
“But we’ve got healthy bodies, so I don’t want to force it and be a nagging thing. Indications are pretty good that he’ll be at least in the conversation to play.”
The 6-foot-2, 176-pound Tate is a key player for the Falcons, providing skill and a physical presence. He also skates on the power play. He has a goal and four assists in 16 games.
“When he’s playing well, you miss just his energy and his leadership,” Bergeron said. “We think he’s pretty good on the power play. But, ultimately, you just miss his energy and his presence when he’s not around.”