Bowling Green’s still looking for answers with one month remaining in the regular season.
The Falcons have been inconsistent most of the season.
They’ve been up and down, usually playing well one night and not so well the other night most weekends. Every phase of the team’s game has had problems this season, and it’s often different players who don’t play well each night.
BG is 14-15-2 overall and 12-11-1-1 in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.
The Falcons are fourth in the league with 38 points — just one behind third-place Minnesota State, but only nine ahead of fifth-place Ferris State and Lake Superior for the final home-ice spot in the first round of the WCHA playoffs.
The Falcons have played two more games than MSU, Ferris and Lake Superior.
“The team is in the same place it’s been pretty much most of the year,” Falcon coach Chris Bergeron said. “When we play the game a certain way, we’re pretty darn good. When we don’t play that way, we’re not. One night it’s this, the next night it’s that.
“We’re trying to find solutions. When I say ‘we,’ I mean all parties involved, players, coaches. It’s not just the coaches. The players understand that is going on.”
The Falcons entertain Northern Michigan this weekend in their next-to-last Western Collegiate Hockey Association series of the season.
BG is coming off a split at Ferris State, including one of their worst performances of the season in a 5-0 loss Saturday in Game 2 of the series. Bergeron said BG was a ‘no-show’ for the game with the exception of goalie Chris Nell.
Nell made 30 saves on a night the Falcons didn’t play well or compete hard. On the other hand, Ferris played well and worked hard, and easily could have won by 10 goals had Nell not been sharp.
“There hasn’t been one thing or two things, something consistent that we can change from a solution perspective. That’s made it difficult,” Bergeron said. “We’re trying to find answers and will continue to try to find answers until the season is over.”
The Falcons have just five regular-season games remaining. They host Mercyhurst in a non-league game Feb. 11 and entertain Alabama-Huntsville Feb. 24-25 in a WCHA series. BG is off the weekend of Feb. 17-18.
“There’s a consistency in leadership problem, but that’s no different than our play,” Bergeron said when asked if the team had leadership problems.
“By no means, am I going to put the onus on the players. The onus comes back to me. I’m not placing blame. When things go well, the leadership is doing exactly what it’s supposed to be doing. When things don’t go well, you look towards leadership.”
Bergeron said no drastic personnel changes are expected to be made to the lineup for the NMU series, but some changes could be made to BG’s line combinations and defensive pairings
“Ultimately, it comes down to each individual bringing the best version of themselves and then, collectively, we bring the best version of us,” Bergeron said.
INJURIES: BG forward Matt Meier is out for the season after having surgery to repair an upper-body injury, Bergeron said.
“The mindset was let’s get him healthy and let’s get him on the road to recovery,” Bergeron said.
Forward Jakob Reichert didn’t play Saturday at Ferris after suffering an upper-body injury Friday. Defenseman Adam Smith (hand) remains out and won’t play against NMU.
After facing NMU, the Falcons play just one game over the next two weekends.
“It’s that time of year. The injury list is a little bit longer,” Bergeron said, adding a number of players have the usual bumps and bruises. “After this weekend, we’re going to have some time off, and that’s perfect for our guys to get some rest.”
PROMOTIONS: Friday’s game is a Falcons Fighting Hunger event. Any fan bringing three canned goods to donate will receive a free Falcon magnet. Characters from Disney’s “Frozen” also will be featured.
Also Friday, the annual Teddy Bear Toss will be held to benefit Dance Marathon and the families they support. The toss will be held after the first period. All bears must be in a plastic bag.