With the season in its’ final stretch, the BG hockey team is in a better position now than it has been in recent years.
The Falcons have finished last in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association the past two seasons while under Head Coach Chris Bergeron. Heading into the weekend against Lake Superior, the Falcons are tied for ninth in the conference with Michigan.
While Bergeron says the team isn’t looking ahead to possible playoff matchups, with 10 regular season games remaining, they have taken notice of where they are in the standings.
“I’m looking behind the scenes at the standings like I’m sure everyone in our program is,” he said. “There’s a positive in that in terms of looking where we’re heading and if we do this, this is where we’ll finish, whereas in past years we knew where we were going to finish.”
There are 11 teams in the CCHA and every one makes the postseason.
The top five seeds get a first round bye. Seeds six, seven and eight each get to host a first-round, three-game playoff series against the 11th, 10th and ninth seeds.
The Falcons have lost three straight games and cannot currently host a first round playoff series. The easiest way to get back there, Bergeron said, is to simply win games.
“Basically, that just comes down to win games,” he said. “We can make some pretty serious noise in our league with a good 10-game stretch here.”
Building positive momentum is key, as the Falcons have shown the past two seasons.
In both of the past two seasons, the 11th seed Falcons have defeated sixth-seed Northern Michigan and advanced to the second round of the tournament. Those are the only two occurrences in league history where an 11-seed won a playoff series.
“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.
“The fact that we still have the chance to host a home playoff game is a great opportunity for us and something I’ve never been able to experience, so that’s the goal right now.”
OFF THE MARK
The BG hockey team struggled to put shots on goal Saturday against Miami, but not for a lack of trying.
The Falcons attempted 61 shots in the game. Only 24 of those shots made it to Miami goalie Ryan McKay.
Of the other 37 shots, Miami defenders blocked 16 and 21 missed the net.
Lake Superior rolls into the BGSU Ice Arena this weekend ranked seventh in the league standings with 26 points, seven points in front of BG.
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. In that five-game span, the team 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.”