The BG hockey team begins a pivotal stretch of conference play this weekend with a series against Lake Superior.
Both Friday and Saturday’s games are scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at the BGSU Ice Arena.
Including this weekend, three of the next four series’ BG plays — Lake Superior, Michigan State and Northern Michigan — are against teams that are within seven points of BG in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association standings.
“Basically that just comes down to win games,” said BG Coach Chris Bergeron. “We can make some pretty serious noise in our league with a good 10-game stretch here.”
That stretch begins this weekend with Lake Superior. The Lakers are seventh in the CCHA standings, and have run hot-and-cold for much of the season.
The Lakers are 1-4-1-1 in their past six games. Prior to the cold streak, they had five straight wins against Miami, Northern Michigan and Union — teams that BG is a combined 0-4 against. In that five-game span, Lake Superior allowed three goals.
Most recently, Lake Superior lost to Ohio State, 6-1. Four of those goals were scored in the first six minutes of the game.
“They’re coming off a weekend where they didn’t get what they were looking for,” Bergeron said. “I expect it to be a series … where it’s hard to find ice and every puck is going to be contested.”
That up-and-down nature of the Lakers’ results can be summarized by their goaltending.
Kevin Murdock has come in and taken starts away from incumbent Kevin Kapalka. Murdock leads the team with a 2.16 goals-against average and a .937 save percent. Kapalka sports a 2.91 GAA and .915 save percent.
However, Murdock was the starter for that 6-1 loss to Ohio State. He gave up three goals on five shots in four minutes before he was pulled.
The Lakers are middle-of-the-road in most statistical categories in the CCHA, but rank third in the conference in power play percentage. They convert on 17.4 percent of power play opportunities.
“You have to be disciplined with your emotions and the way you play,” Bergeron said. “And you have to take advantage of the opportunities you have on special teams.”
The main thing the Falcons are trying to accomplish as the stretch run hits is to get on a run of successful games to get momentum rolling in a positive direction.
“When you look at these games down the stretch, each one becomes more important because you’re trying to build momentum,” said goalie Andrew Hammond. “Seeing what we did last year, we all know how important that can be.”