Post-Game Extra: BG offense starting to produce

By November 5, 2016Post-Game Extra
Bowling Green's John Schilling (29) and Mitch McLain battle against Ferris State's Andrew Dorantes Friday night in the Ice Arena (Photo by Todd Pavlack/BGSUHockey.com).

Bowling Green’s offense is starting to produce.

The Falcons scored four goals for the second straight game Friday, a 4-1 victory over Ferris State in a Western Collegiate Hockey Association game at the Ice Arena.

BG had 34 shots on goal in the game and played much of the game in its offensive zone.

“As a unit, we all just got sick of that feeling on Friday and Saturday night where we left it to chance,” BG junior forward Tyler Spezia said. “We’ve done a great job of preparing and working on our offense. We have the firepower. It was just a matter of executing at a high level.

Before the back-to-back four-goal games against Ferris and Miami, BG had scored one or two goals in five of its first seven games.

Defenseman Alec Rauhauser had a goal and two assists for the Falcons, while forwards Spezia, Mitch McLain and Matt Pohlkamp each added one goal and one assist.

“The last two games, we played hard and we’ve been rewarded because of our hard play,” Spezia said.

Spezia’s goal was his first of the season after he totaled 16 goals and 10 assists during his first two seasons at BG.

The Falcons are at their best when they’re playing a puck-possession game in the offensive zone. And by playing in the offensive zone, the Falcons also limited Ferris’ chances to score. The Bulldogs had just 15 shots on goal.

“Our second and third effort in the offensive zone was outstanding,” Bergeron said. “We had a bunch of offensive-zone time. When you’re doing that, you’re limiting the potential of (Ferris) getting shots on net.

Forward Brett D’Andrea led BG with five shots in the game, while Pohlkamp and McLain each had four, and defensemen Rauhauser, Mark Friedman and Sean Walker each had three.

BIG PICTURE: The Falcons played well for the third straight game, the last two performances resulting in the win over Ferris and a 4-1 victory at Miami last Saturday.

The Falcons are 2-6-1 overall and 1-2 in the WCHA, but can reach the .500 mark in the league by completing a sweep of Ferris (1-8-1, 1-5-1-1) Saturday night. The Ferris series marked BG’s first league games since Oct. 7-8 when it opened the season with 2-1, 4-1 losses at Bemidji State.

“I want to use the word want versus need,” Bergeron said when asked about the importance of the victory Friday. “We want to show we’re the team we think we are. By no means was anybody internally jumping ship.”

“The main reason is we want to play well and this was our next opportunity to play a game,” Bergeron added. “Tonight was more like what we want to be.”

The Falcons were the coaches pick to win the league, while Ferris was fourth in the coaches poll.

“Everybody in the locker room knows how good of a team we can be,” Rauhauser said. “The past couple weeks in practice, we’ve really tried just to compete with each other because that all pushes us to be better players. We know we have a good team. We just haven’t put anything together and now we’re starting to figure it out a bit.”

DEFENSE: The Falcons have defended well in the last three games, allowing just four goals and 49 shots on goal. Before the recent three-game stretch, BG had allowed four or more goals in five straight games.

“If we give up 20 shots a game, that’s going to be difficult for people to score more than three goals,” Bergeron said. “If we’re giving up less than three goals a game, we’re giving ourselves a pretty good chance to win that game. That, to us, is more of like who we are.”

Bergeron was pleased the way the Falcons defended Friday night, especially in the defensive and neutral zones.

“Overall, we defended pretty well,” Bergeron said.

HE’S BACK: BG goalie Chris Nell played well for the third straight game. The junior made 14 saves, 11 coming during the final two periods. The first-team All-WCHA honoree last season has stopped 45 of 49 shots in the last three games.

“Chris Nell looks like he’s getting that form back we’ve all become accustomed to,” Bergeron said.

SPECIAL TEAMS: BG won the special teams, scoring on two of its five power-play attempts and killing off five of Ferris’ six attempts with the extra man.

Pohlkamp and McLain scored power-play goals for the Falcons, who had 12 shots in 8:05 with the extra man.

“Just keeping it simple, working hard, which has been our M.O. the last two weeks,” Spezia said of the power play. “When your power play can go out there and get two goals, provide a little momentum, that’s huge. They’re going out there with a purpose.”

Ferris had four shots in 10:06 with the extra man.

“There were some good kills in there,” Bergeron said.

The Falcons have killed off 18 of their last 21 short-handed situations over the last four games.

LINEUP: The Falcons dressed 11 forwards and seven defensemen for the game, instead of the usual 12 forwards and six defensemen.

The defense consisted of Sean Walker, Mark Friedman, Connor McDonald, Chris Pohlkamp, Adam Smith, Jacob Dalton and Rauhauser.

Forwards Shane Bednard, Casey Linkenheld, Joe McKeown and Matt Meier were healthy scratches.

RECRUITS: The Falcons have received verbal commitments from two forwards, left wing Cameron Wright of the St. Michael’s Buzzards in the Ontario Junior Hockey League and center Chase Pletzke of the Oakland (Michigan) U18 Grizzlies.

Wright, who is 5-foot-11, 165 pounds, has 15 goals and 11 assists in 20 games after this season after totaling 30 goals and 25 assists in 53 games last season. He has 31 penalty minutes this season and 66 last season. He’s from Richmond Hill, Ontario and turned 18 in August.

Pletzke (5-10, 161) has a goal, three assists and four penalty minutes in 41 games for the Grizzlies this season. He had five goals, 20 assists and 28 penalty minutes in 34 games last season with the Grizzlies’ U16 team. He’s from Bay City, Michigan and will turn 17 in April.

Under NCAA rules, Bergeron isn’t allowed to comment on recruits until they’ve signed their national letter of intent.

Kevin Gordon

About Kevin Gordon

Kevin joined BGSUHockey.com after wrapping up a 27-year run as the Falcon hockey beat writer for the Sentinel-Tribune. He now provides his features, notebooks, and insights with BGSUHockey.com to continue providing Falcon hockey fans with the in-depth coverage they've loved for nearly three decades. He can be reached by e-mail at Kevin@bgsuhockey.com and on Twitter at @KGordonBG.

error: Please contact Todd@BGSUHockey.com for photo rights.