BG looking to bear down around the net, other notes

By February 8, 2017Notebooks
Bowling Green's Mark Friedman shoots the puck against Michigan Tech earlier this season. The Falcons haven't scored in their last three games, with Friedman's overtime goal against Ferris State Jan. 27 being the last score for the Falcons (Photo by Todd Pavlack/

Bowling Green attempts to break a three-game scoring drought Saturday night.

The Falcons have been shut out in each of their last three games, including 3-0 and 2-0 losses at home last weekend to Northern Michigan.

BG had 35 shots in Game 1 of the series and 40 shots in Game 2.

The Falcons also were scoreless in a 5-0 loss at Ferris State Jan. 28, a game where they didn’t show up to play. BG had just 17 shots in that game.

BG’s last goal came Jan. 27 by defenseman Mark Friedman, whose goal 34 seconds into overtime gave the Falcons a 3-2 victory against Ferris. The Falcons have gone three games without a goal for the first time in school history.

The Falcons’ next chance for a goal comes Saturday night against Mercyhurst in a nonleague game at 5:07. The game is part of the 50th anniversary of the BGSU Ice Arena and the Slater Family Ice Arena.  50TH ANNIVERSARY SCHEDULE

“I don’t think we were bearing down enough around the other team’s net,” BG coach Chris Bergeron said, adding the Falcons had 20-25 Grade A scoring chances in each game against NMU. “We did not bear down around the other team’s net offensively. Does that mean guys don’t want to score? Absolutely not. I know guys want to score.”

The Falcons attempted 118 total shots against NMU. In addition to the 75 shots on goal, BG missed the net 27 times, hit the post once and had 15 shots blocked by NMU.

Wildcat sophomore goalie Atte Tolvanen was outstanding with 75 saves in the series, and was named the league’s defensive player of the week. NMU also defended well, allowing few second and third shots, and clearing rebounds out of danger.

“You need to bear down to score,” Bergeron said. “You can’t assume. You can’t take your foot off the gas. You can’t take that opportunity for granted, that you’re just going to shoot it in the net. There are other people involved. You’ve got a goaltender who is not quitting. You’ve got defensive people who are being desperate and not allowing that puck to go in.”

THE OPPONENT: Mercyhurst is 11-14-4 overall and 10-10-4 in Atlantic Hockey. The Lakers are tied with Army West Point and Holy Cross for fourth place in the 11-team league. They’re 3-4-3 in their last 10 games, including a tie and a loss at home against Sacred Heart last weekend.

Since BG and Mercyhurst are nonleague rivals, Bergeron wasn’t as familiar with the Lakers and their players, as he would be with a Western Collegiate Hockey Association opponent. The teams have traded video for scouting purposes.

“When you go outside of conference, you’re looking for a team that wants to knock people off from other conferences and prove they play in a strong conference,” Bergeron said. “I’m expecting a very difficult game. I’m expecting a team that is going to play hard. There’s just one game for both teams, so you put all of your energy into that one game.

MORE MERCYHURST: Sophomore Derek Barach is the Lakers’ leading scorer with 26 points, including a team-best 22 assists. Junior forward Jonathan Charbonneau has a team-best 13 goals and is second with 21 points.

On defense, sophomore Lester Lancaster has five goals and 14 assists, and an on-ice rating of -1, freshman Joseph Durzak has three goals and 12 assists, and is +5.

The Lakers are averaging 2.66 goals and 29.5 shots per game, and scoring at 13.2 percent on the power play. Mercyhurst is allowing 3.0 goals and 34.1 shots per game, while its penalty-killing is at 76.6 percent.

NON-LEAGUE: The Mercyhurst game finishes nonleague play for the Falcons, who are 2-4-1 in non-league games this season.

The WCHA is 16-47-5 (.272 winning percentage) in nonleague games, including a 2-3 record (.400) against Atlantic Hockey.

The WCHA also is 9-15-1 (.380) against the Big Ten Conference, 1-4 (.200) against the Eastern College Athletic Conference, 3-18-3 (.188) against the National Hockey Collegiate Hockey Conference and 1-7-1 (.167) against Hockey East.

PK: The Falcons had another good weekend of penalty-killing against NMU. They were 5 of 7, but the NMU goals came during a 5-on-3 Friday and into an empty net Saturday after BG pulled its goalie for the extra attacker with less than a minute to play.

The Falcons haven’t allowed a power-play goal in 12 of their last 19 games, killing off 67 of their 76 short-handed situations (88.2 percent) in that span.

BG is at 80.7 percent overall, including 85.6 in league games only (third-best in the WCHA).

PP: The Falcon power play is seventh both in the WCHA overall (13.4) and in league games only (12.8 percent).

BG is 0 of 9 in the last three games, including a 0-of-8 effort against NMU.

DROUGHTS: The Falcons are struggling to score, in part, because some of their best players haven’t produced.

Mitch McLain, who is tied for the league lead in goals (16) and is second with 28 points, doesn’t have a point in the last five games.

Kevin Dufour has gone three games without a goal after totaling four goals and one assist in the five games before that.

Tyler Spezia is pointless in the last three games. He has just one goal in the last 17 games, that coming Jan. 27 against Ferris State.

Stephen Baylis doesn’t have a point in the last eight games and doesn’t have a goal in the last 14 games.

Matt Pohlkamp has just one point in the last 10 games, that being a goal against Minnesota State Jan. 14.

NELL: The Falcons’ Chris Nell played well in goal against NMU, stopping 38 of 41 shots. He has a 2.45 goals-against average and an .899 save percentage in 26 games. He’s started 25 of BG’s 33 games.

In Nell’s nine games since the Christmas break, he has a 1.98 goals-against and a .924 save percentage. But the junior is only 4-5 in those games, largely the result of BG scoring two goals or less in regulation in six of those nine games.

SERIES: The Falcons won the first meeting against Mercyhurst, posting a 3-1 victory 12/28/00 in Erie, Pennsylvania.

RETURN GAME: Saturday’s game starts a home-and-home contract between the teams. The return game at Mercyhurst hasn’t been scheduled, Bergeron said.

RECRUIT: Chase Danol, a left wing for the Oakland (Michigan) Grizzlies U18 team, has verbally committed to BG. The 6-foot, 180-pounder is expected to join the Falcons for the 2019-2020 season.

Danol has 10 goals, 18 assists and 18 penalty minutes in 27 games this season. He’s from Westland, Michigan and turned 18 last month.

Kevin Gordon

About Kevin Gordon

Kevin joined 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.