The BG hockey team is riding a wave of momentum into another matchup with a nationally ranked team.
The Falcons take on No. 10 Western Michigan this weekend in a home-and-home series. Friday’s game will be played at 7:05 p.m. at the BG Ice Arena, while Saturday’s game will be played at 7:05 p.m. in Kalamazoo.
Like BG and Notre Dame, the Falcons’ most recent opponent, Western Michigan has only played 14 conference games so far this season — two games fewer than everyone in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association except for Ohio State. Despite that, the Broncos are third in the league standings with 30 points.
Also, like Notre Dame, Western Michigan enters this series on a bit of a skid. During the Broncos’ previous seven games, they are 2-2-3-1. The Falcons and Broncos have already played twice this season. Western won the first game, 3-1, and the two teams tied in the second game, with Western Michigan winning the shootout.
But right now, the Falcons are flying high with a 4-0-1 record in their last five games, with two of those wins coming against ranked teams.
“They’re a great team; it’s been a Jekyll and Hyde series since I’ve been here,” said BG coach Chris Bergeron said. “We’ve played well against them [at home] and not so well up there.
“They pose a bunch of challenges. Their [defensemen] are as strong as anyone in the league, offensively and defensively. It’s just another day in the life of the CCHA.”
The Falcons are at a point in the season where they have realized there are no weekends off. Every team they play will be as good, if not better than the team they played the past weekend.
“The rest of our schedule is going to be great teams,” said BG defenseman Ryan Peltoma. “I think it gives us a little bit of confidence coming in with wins. We were playing good, but we weren’t getting results. These results are starting to come now and it gives the team a little more confidence.”
Bergeron said the team came back from Thanksgiving break with a different mentality, due to having time to sit back, reflect and be with their families and friends.
Now the team’s effort is turning into wins. The Falcons seem to have been playing with an increased intensity.
“We’ve always expected ourselves to play up to this kind of level,” said BG forward Ryan Carpenter. “We’ve been getting results; it’s nice when [things] start going your way. We’re just going to try to keep doing what we can, keep the ball rolling.
“When you’re winning it seems like bounces start going your way, so keep that work ethic and keep that focus.”