The Falcons followed-up their first exhibition win with another good performance Friday, downing the Under-18 Team USA squad 4-1 in their final exhibition tune-up. Frederic Letourneau took First Star honors with two goals and an assist, while Eric Dop and Ryan Bednard combined for 19 saves on 20 shots faced. Freshman Brandon Kruse and senior Brett D’Andrea picked up the Falcons’ other goals.
Isn’t That Special
Bowling Green had an excellent night Friday with the man-advantage. The Falcons were 3/9 on the power play, racking up a third of their shots for the game with the extra skater (11). The U.S. N.T.D.P. had a 95% penalty kill success rate this season entering Friday’s game.
Conversely, BG used a cadre of skaters, along with their signature aggressive forecheck, to limit Team USA to a success rate of 1/8 on the power play.
Coach Bergeron indicated after the game that while he thought his power play units were more or less set, he was still experimenting with his penalty killing units.
Keep it Clean
The Falcons averaged 16.3 penalty minutes per game a season ago, and the first two exhibition games seem to indicate a continued trend. Bowling Green is averaging 17 penalty minutes over their two exhibition games. Bergeron was critical of after-the-whistle penalties after Friday’s game.
Eric Dop received the starting nod against Team USA, stopping all 11 shots he faced in 29:45 of action. Bergeron has indicated his preference to go with a “1A, 1B” system in net to let both Dop and Ryan Bednard see time in net this season. The assumption for the immediate futre would be for Bednard to face Western Michigan at an intimidating Lawson Arena Tuesday, while Dop gets the nod next Friday against Michigan State. Subject to change/conjecture, of course.
Around the League
Michigan Tech had the marquee win for the WCHA last night as they downed #16 Union 6-3 in the first game of the Icebreaker Tournament in Duluth. Alaska-Anchorage surprised North Dakota with a goal late in the third period to earn a tie against the Fighting Hawks.
In other action Western Michigan easily handled Ferris State 6-1, Lake Superior beat Northern Michigan 5-3 in an out-of-conference contest, Notre Dame fought off Alabama Huntsville 5-3, and Air Force narrowly got past Alaska 3-2.
The Road Ahead
Bowling Green will officially start their season Tuesday as they travel to Kalamazoo, Michigan to face the Western Michigan Broncos. The Falcons’ home-slate will officially begin next Friday as they welcome former CCHA foe Michigan State to the Slater Family Ice Arena.