Stephen Baylis, Mark Cooper and Brandon Hawkins have an impressive of mix of individual skills.
The three have blended their talents to provide Bowling Green with plenty of scoring during the last five games this season.
The line has combined for nine goals and 18 assists in that span entering this weekend’s first round of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs. The Falcons host Bemidji State in a best of 3 quarterfinal series Friday, Saturday and, if needed, Sunday at 7:07 p.m. in the Ice Arena.
Most recently, Baylis, Cooper and Hawkins combined for five of BG’s 10 goals and added 11 assists in last weekend’s split at Alabama-Huntsville. They also combined for 19 shots on goal and were a +10 in the series.
The line was scoreless at Alaska (Fairbanks) Feb. 19, but has been rolling during the last five games.
“Just playing with each other for a couple of weeks now, we’ve got some chemistry built up,” Baylis said. “We know how each other plays, and we fit really well together. It’s a good combination.”
Baylis plays left wing, Cooper centers the line and Hawkins plays right wing. Cooper is a senior, while Hawkins is a sophomore and Baylis is a freshman.
The three have played six straight games together and 12 times in all this season, not including BG’s preseason Canadian exhibition. They’ve played six straight games as a line. In those 12 games, the three have combined for 15 goals and 24 assists.
“We were reaching,” Bergeron said of why the line was put together again late in the season. “We were just trying to find some chemistry somewhere. The best version of those three guys really complements each other.”
Baylis, Cooper and Hawkins all can score, and Hawkins is one of the team’s most dangerous players around the net. Hawkins also is an underrated passer, Bergeron said, adding “Hawkins is a really good passer.” The three also can skate and provide a physical presence.
Baylis is 6-foot-1, 201 pounds. Cooper is 6-2, 188. Hawkins is 5-10, 195.
“All line combinations and (defense) pairings are like that where you take a chance,” Bergeron said. “You have an idea. You try to have a little guts as to why and see if chemistry comes from that. In their case, it’s worked.”
The three can score off the rush or by controlling the puck on the offensive zone, creating scoring chances off the possession by making good plays.
“We have the skill, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to be successful,” Hawkins said. “We have to work hard to be successful and to take advantage of our skill. We have to outwork the other line that is out there against us.”
Baylis had three goals and three assists against UAH, while Hawkins had two goals and four assists, and Cooper had four assists.
“When we played together earlier in the year, we played well,” Baylis said. “It was good to get us back together. Hard work is the big thing for us. If you work hard, you’re going to get rewarded. You don’t cheat the game. You do things the right way, you’re going to get rewarded, and that’s what happening right now. We’re all playing the right way.”
BAYLIS II: Baylis has a five-game point streak, totaling four goals and six assists in that span. In the last four games, he has four goals and five assists.
After sitting out BG’s first six games for an NCAA suspension due to having Canadian Major experience and totaling one assist in his first 11 games, Baylis has eight goals and 10 assists in 32 games this season.
COOPER II: Cooper is BG’s leading scorer with 27 points, totaling 14 goals and 13 assists in 38 games.
He has a point in five straight games, totaling two goals and seven assists in that span.
HAWKINS II: Hawkins, who often scores in bunches, has a goal in three straight games. He has three goals and five assists in the last three games.
SERIES: The Falcons are 6-1-1 against Bemidji in WCHA play, including a 4-1, 2-0 road sweep Dec. 11-12. The teams did not play a regular-season series in BG this season.
BG swept Bemidji in the Ice Arena during the 2013-14 and 2014-15 regular seasons. The Falcons posted a 5-3, 5-2 sweep during the 2013-14 season and a 3-1, 3-2 sweep last season.
ATTENDANCE: With BGSU students on spring break this week, attendance will be interesting for the series.
The Falcons have averaged just under 1,402 for their first four WCHA home playoff games the last two seasons. They drew crowds of 1,475 and 1,915 for last season’s series against Northern Michigan and 991 and 1,226 for their 2014 series against Michigan Tech.
BG is averaging 2,670 fans per home game this season and has drawn 2,753 or more for its last seven home games.
This season’s average is up from 2,601 last season and is the largest since the 2004-05 season,
GOOD TURNOUT: UAH drew two excellent crowds for its series against the Falcons last weekend.
The teams played before 2,626 fans Friday and 2,672 Saturday. The series marked UAH’s final home games of the season. UAH averaged 1,835 fans per game at home this season
|BGSU||HEAD TO HEAD GAMES|
Dec. 4 — at BG, 2-2 tie
Dec. 5 — at BG, 2-2 tie
Feb. 11 — at MSU, L, 5-1
Feb. 12 — at MSU, W, 3-1
|2.0||Goals per game||2.5|
|24.2||Shots on goal|
.911 save percentage
.907 save percentage
.926 save percentage
|Leading scorers||Teddy Brueger,