KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Bowling Green couldn’t stop taking penalties Saturday night.
The Falcons were penalized 10 times and allowed six power-play goals in an 8-2 loss Saturday night at Western Michigan.
The penalty-filled performance was the second in as many nights for the Falcons, who were called for 12 penalties in Friday’s 4-4 tie against Western Michigan at the Ice Arena. The Broncos scored three power-play goals in that game, the last tying the score with 9:06 left in regulation.
Thirteen Falcons had at least one penalty in the series. Nine different Falcons had a penalty Friday and seven had penalties on Saturday.
“For us to be as undisciplined as we were, that’s on me,” Falcon coach Chris Bergeron said. “The lack of care for not taking penalties is on me. I have to do a better job of holding people accountable for that.”
An NCAA-mandated crackdown on interference and obstruction has caused an increase in penalties this season, and BG was expected to benefit from the change because of its speed and skill. Thirteen of BG’s 22 penalties against Western Michigan were for tripping, hooking, holding and interference.
The Falcons had 13 penalties in their season-opening series at Bemidji State, eight coming during a 4-1 loss in the series finale Oct. 14.
“We knew this way of calling games would affect people, but I didn’t know it was going to affect us this much. That’s on me 100 percent,” Bergeron said.
The Falcons usually are at their best when they’re playing 5-on-5 and using all four of their forward lines, playing a puck-possession game in the offensive zone.
But BG was short-handed for 15:07 of Saturday’s 60-minute game and for 16:08 of Friday’s 65-minute contest. The series also had a significant amount of 4-on-4 play.
The Falcons had just 20 shots on goal Saturday, 11 coming with the teams at equal strength.
“It’s taking momentum from the 5-on-5 game,” Bergeron said of the penalties.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Although the Falcons didn’t play well in any phase of the game, their special teams were a huge reason for the loss. BG scored just one power-play goal in eight attempts and allowed six power-play goals in 10 attempts.
BG has been short-handed 33 times its four games, including 21 times against Western Michigan. The Broncos scored nine power-play goals in the series.
“We can execute better on both sides of the special teams, but we’re killing penalties too much,” Bergeron said.
The Falcons have scored just two power-play goals in 33 attempts and have allowed 11 power-play goals in 33 short-handed situations.
“Right now, it’s a lot more questions than answers on the special teams,” Bergeron said. “Our team is obviously not prepared from the special teams perspective. That’s on the coach.”
GOALTENDING: BG freshman Ryan Bednard received his first start in goal, but lasted just 20:58 after stopping only five of nine shots.
Chris Nell, a first-team All-Western Collegiate Hockey Association pick last season, started the team’s first three games. The junior has a 3.28 goals-against average and an .865 save percentage.
Bergeron said Bednard started Saturday because of Nell’s play this season and because senior Tomas Sholl had started BG’s Oct. 1 exhibition. He finished Saturday’s game, stopping 12 of 16 shots over the final 39:02. Nell was a healthy scratch. The appearance by Sholl in a regular-season game was his first since his sophomore season.
Bednard, a highly-touted recruit, was a seventh-round draft of the NHL’s Florida Panthers in 2015 stopped just five of nine shots.
The Falcons’ goaltending has been average at best this season.
“That’s a position where we thought we’d be pretty deep. After four games, we’re not as strong there as we thought we’re going to be,” Bergeron said. “We’re going back to the drawing board where the goaltending is concerned.”
INJURY: BG sophomore forward John Schilling had to be helped off the ice and didn’t return after he was hit hard by Western Michigan’s Taylor Fleming with 8:32 remaining in the first period. Fleming received major and game-misconduct penalties for interference on the play.
Bergeron said Schilling received a cut to the head and was suffering from concussion-like symptoms. Schilling’s status is day-to-day and he’ll be evaluated further once the team returns to BG.
LINEUP: Freshman forward Frederic Letourneau and freshman defenseman Jacob Dalton didn’t play Saturday after being in the lineup Friday. They were replaced by sophomore forward Shane Bednard and sophomore defenseman Chris Pohlkamp.