Post-Game Extra: Inability to score costs Falcons again

By January 17, 2016Post-Game Extra
Bowling Green's Mark Cooper (left) and Miami's Chris Joyaux battle for the puck during Saturday's game (Photo by Todd Pavlack/

OXFORD — Bowling Green’s inability to score goals prevented the Falcons from winning again Saturday night.

The Falcons scored only once in a 2-1 nonleague loss to Miami.

They’re averaging just 2.4 goals per game this season and have scored only 12 goals in their last six games, six of the goals coming in a win against Clarkson Jan. 2 in the Ice Arena.

The Falcons have lost four of their last six games — Miami, 1-0 losses to Lake Superior and Western Michigan, and a 3-2 loss to Clarkson.

Kevin Dufour had the only Falcon goal, just 6:35 into the game.

“Over the course of the season, we’ve found a way to win games like that when the effort was there and the energy was there,” Falcon coach Chris Bergeron said. “There were spurts of really good play from us.

“But when you’re playing a really good team like that on the road, you have to find a way to score more. This one goal or zero goals is not going to get it done. Tonight, again, it bit us.”

The Falcon offense also has struggled because of an ineffective power play.

BG failed to score on both of its chances with the extra man, both coming with the Falcons holding a 1-0 lead. The first came in the second period and the other came in the third period.

Although the Falcons had enough scoring chances to win, they still only had 29 shots.

“We have to generate offense,” BG senior forward and assistant captain Brent Tate said. “We just haven’t been generating enough (offense). We have to get pucks and bodies to the net, move our feet, be hard to play against, which at times we were tonight. We just have to find a way. We have to keep working at it.”

BG, ranked 16th nationally, is 13-7-5 overall. Miami improved to 7-11-3.

“We came out with a good tempo, good pace to the game,” Tate said. “It came down to one play and, unfortunately, we were on the losing side of that play. If we don’t come and play our game and play a full 60 (minutes), we’ll be on the losing end.”

WCHA: Michigan Tech pulled into a tie with BG for second place in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, thanks to a 3-1 victory Saturday over league leader Minnesota State. The teams played a 2-2 tie Friday.

Minnesota State has 25 points, followed by BG and Tech with 22, and Ferris State with 19. The Falcons have remaining series with all three teams, starting Jan. 29-30 at home against Tech.

BG has 12 games remaining, two more than MSU, Tech and Ferris.

PAIRWISE: BG fell into a tie for 24th place in the Pairwise Rankings, which mimic the selection criteria for the NCAA playoffs.

The six league playoff champions and 10 at-large teams qualify for the NCAAs.

In theory, the top 16 teams in the Pairwise should make the NCAAs, but playoff upsets and teams not in the top 16 winning playoff championships can change that.

The WCHA has no teams in the top 16 of the Pairwise. The league is led in the Pairwise by Minnesota State, which is tied for 19th; and Michigan Tech, which is tied for 21st.

Atlantic Hockey also has no teams in the Pairwise’s top 16.

GOALTENDING: BG goalie Chris Nell held an opponent to two or fewer goals for the eighth straight game, making 25 saves.

Miami’s winning goal came on Anthony Louis’ one-timer from the top of the left circle. The shot beat a screened Nell with the puck finding its way through Nell’s pads.

The RedHawks’ first goal came from a wide-open Alex Gacek, who jammed in a rebound after Nell had made several saves during a goalmouth scramble.

“He played well,” Bergeron said. “I think he’d like to have the last one back.”

Nell, who has allowed just five goals in his last six games, is second nationally with a .946 save percentage and third with a 1.41 goals-against average.

Miami’s Jay Williams stopped 28 shots, including 11 in the first period and 10 in the second period.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Miami’s power play was 0 of 2. Neither team had a shot in four minutes with the extra man.

Miami’s penalty-killing ranks first nationally at 94.4 percent.

BG PP: The Falcon power play failed to score for the eighth time in the last 11 games. They’re 4 for 39 in that span.

BG PK: The BG penalty-killing didn’t allow a goal for the sixth time in the last eight games. The Falcons have killed 19 of their last 21 short-handed situations.

STYLE: Although the Falcons had stretches where they controlled the game by possessing the puck in the offensive zone, Miami turned the game into a fast-paced, end-to-end contest at times. The RedHawks also kept BG away from the net at times during the game.

“We’re not built to be a in a track meet with a team like that,” Bergeron said. “We got loose with the puck. It wasn’t consistent. Those plays we got lose with (the puck), wherever it was (the neutral zone and the offensive blueline), they’re a team that makes you pay.

“It didn’t necessarily make us pay in goals against, but it made us pay in zone time, momentum and potentially a penalty. It takes away from potential opportunities from us. When you’re a team that’s not scoring, you need every opportunity in the other team’s zone.”

DEFENSE: The Falcons allowed two or fewer goals for the 18th time in 24 games this season, but they still gave up too many quality scoring chances.

“When you’re playing against a team like that, I don’t how guys can get so loose or so open. It cost us tonight,” Bergeron said. “Full marks to (Miami). They stayed with it. It’s been a little bit of a challenging, at times, year for them. But they hung in there and their guy made saves late. We had a couple good looks late, but they found a way to score.”

The Falcons are allowing just 1.84 goals per game, fifth-best in the nation.

BG has allowed two or fewer goals in 18 of its 24 games, but is just 9-4-5 in those games.

CLOSE CALLS: Twenty-one of BG’s 24 games have been decided by two or fewer goals. The Falcons are 10-6-5 in those games, including a 5-4-5 record in games decided by one or zero goals.

STREAK BREAKER: The goal by Dufour, who has a healthy scratch last Saturday against Lake Superior, ended his 11-game streak without a goal

NOT AGAIN: The Falcons are 0-17-1 in their last 18 games at Miami.

BG’s last win in Oxford came in a 4-3 victory March 9, 2001.

BACKUP: Tomas Sholl was Nell’s backup for the third straight game. Tommy Burke didn’t make the trip to Miami.

LINEUP: BG forwards Shane Bednard and Jakob Reichert, and defensemen Jose Delagdillo and Braden Pears were healthy scratches.

NONLEAGUE: The Falcons are 4-4-1 in nonleague games this season. Their final nonleague game comes Feb. 12 when they host Miami.

OVERTIME: Had the BG-Miami game gone into overtime, it would have been decided by National Collegiate Hockey Conference rules.

The teams would have played a 5 on 5 overtime for five minutes, followed by a 3 on 3 overtime for 5 minutes, if the score was tied after the 5 on 5 extra period.

If the game still was tied after the 3 on 3 overtime, the teams would have gone to a sudden-death shootout to decide a winner.

Under NCAA rules, the game would have counted as a tie after the first overtime and the individual statistics from the 3 on 3 wouldn’t have counted

The NCHC uses the 3 on 3 overtime and the shootout to break ties in league games.

NEXT: The Falcons play their next four games, starting with a WCHA series against Alaska-Anchorage Thursday and Friday at 7:07 p.m.

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.