Falcons seeking improved offense, other BG notes

By December 15, 2016Notebooks
BG's Matt Pohlkamp (left) battles against Michigan Tech's Mark Auk last weekend (Photo by Jessi Renner/BGSUHockey.com).

Bowling Green is one of the highest-scoring teams in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.

But when the Falcons needed goals last weekend, their offense was largely ineffective.

They scored just one goal each night and totaled 49 shots on goal in 3-1, 2-1 losses against Michigan Tech in the Slater Family Ice Arena.

Although Tech played well defensively to support the excellent goaltending of Angus Redmond, the Falcons did little to test the Huskies consistently in their defensive zone.

BG is at its best when its playing a puck-possession game in the offensive zone. The Falcons are third in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association in goals scored at 3.0 goals per game, including a WCHA-best 3.14 GPG in league-games only.

But the Falcons have scored just one goal in each of their four of games against 15th-ranked Bemidji State and Tech — the two top teams in the league. Bemidji and Tech also lead the WCHA in goals allowed, at 1.80 GPG and 2.14 GPA, respectively.

“I don’t think we were very consistent,” BG coach Chris Bergeron said of his team’s offense against Tech. “I don’t think we were our relentless selves, whether it be 5-on-5 or 5-on-4.”

The Falcons look to improve their offensive play this weekend at Alaska (Fairbanks).

“We’re going to have a bunch of discussion on the details and the process and doing things with purpose because last weekend we didn’t,” Bergeron said. “That’s not going to focused only on 5-on-5, that’s going to be focused on 5-on-4.”

Bergeron said BG’s goal is to generate more shots and more scoring chances.

The Falcons are averaging 28.6 shots on goal per game this season, but have had just 21, 23, 26 and 23 shots on goal in four games this season against Bemidji and Tech.

The BG power play was 0 of 9 against Tech and 0 of 7 in season-opening 2-1, 4-1 losses at Bemidji Oct. 7-8.

“The percentages say more pucks will go in, if we have more chances and more opportunities at their net,” Bergeron said.

POWER PLAY: The Falcon power play was poor against Tech. BG had just eight shots in 15:51 with the extra man. Tech scored a short-handed goal with only 5:04 remaining in Game 1 to break a 1-1 tie.

“Our power play took a step backwards. We seemed not confident,” Bergeron said.

The Huskies did an outstanding job of blocking shots, and taking shooting lanes away from BG.

“We didn’t do a good enough job of adjusting to that,” Bergeron said. “We could use the kick plate where pucks could bounce out. We didn’t do that. We weren’t active enough at the offensive blueline which means we were lazy.”

The Falcon power play is 1 of 20 in the last four games and eighth in the WCHA at 12.7 percent (15 of 118).

UAF: The Nanooks are 5-11-2 overall and 4-8-2-1 in the WCHA, including a home split against arch-rival Alaska-Anchorage last weekend. UAF and Lake Superior are tied for seventh place and the final two playoff berths.

UAF was last in the WCHA coaches poll after finishing eighth in the league last season.

The Nanooks played a 5-5 tie at No. 19 Minnesota State Dec. 3. The Nanooks then earned the second point in the league standings by winning the shootout.

“(Their record), it’s been a little bit up and down. It’s a good team,” Bergeron said of UAF.

UAF’s roster has undergone significant change the last two seasons. Among the losses were two standouts, forward Tyler Morley and defenseman Colton Parayko.

“You don’t have those guys there where you can rely on that one guy or those two guys,” Bergeron said. “Now, you have to do it by committee and that puts the onus on everybody. That’s when they’re at their best. You can’t focus on one (player). You have to focus on the collective.”

The Nanooks are sixth in the league in scoring (2.58 GPG) and next-to-last in goals allowed (3.50 GPG). UAF is fifth in power-play conversions (18.6 percent, 18 of 102) and seventh in penalty-killing (83.7 percent, 82 of 98).

MORE UAF: Senior forward Marcus Basara is UAF’s leading scorer with 13 points. He has five goals and eight assists in 18 games. Junior defenseman Zach Frye has three goals and nine assists in 18 games.

Sophomore Jesse Jenks (4-7-1 record, 3.19 goals-against average, .893 save percentage) and senior Davis Jones (1.41, 3.76, .878) have split time in goal. Jenks has started 12 of UAF’s 18 games, but they’ve split the last two series.

SERIES: The Falcons are 27-26-8 all-time against UAF, including a split at Fairbanks last season. The teams didn’t play in BG last season.

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. 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.