A bye week served the BG hockey team well.
Playing for the first time since a 3-1 loss to Michigan on Nov. 21, the Falcons registered a four-point Central Collegiate Hockey Association Weekend against Alaska. The Falcons won Friday night 3-2 and battled back with two third-period goals to force a 3-3 tie — coupled with a shootout loss — Saturday night.
BG goalie Andrew Hammond was the undisputed player of the weekend, picking up first star of the game honors both nights.
Friday night, he stopped 39 of 41 shots, including 21 in the third period. Saturday night, he stopped 41 of 44 shots.
“Sometimes, it’s good to see a lot of pucks so you aren’t waiting around for a high quality scoring chance,” Hammond said. “For the most part [the high number of shots] almost benefited me.”
Friday night’s game was the 100th game of Hammond’s BG career. He is the seventh goalie in BG history to reach the century mark.
“To be honest, I didn’t realize that it was 100,” he said. “I don’t know if I really believe that it was meant to be a good game or not, but it turned out to be a pretty good one.”
BG entered the weekend averaging 1.7 goals per game. It was the first time this season the Falcons scored three or more goals in back-to-back games.
While the team, as a whole, had a strong offensive weekend, several players had strong offensive weekends as well.
Defenseman Bobby Shea doubled his season total for points by posting four assists on the weekend. Dan DeSalvo had three assists to give him a team-high of 11 points.
Defensemen Marcus Perrier and Mike Sullivan each had two assists. Sullivan’s six points on the season are a new career-high.
Additionally, freshman forward Mark Cooper scored in each game, giving him a team-high five goals on the season. His goal on Saturday kicked off BG’s third period rally.
“We stayed positive on the bench and just kept with it and got results,” Cooper said. “That’s how we fought back to get that one point [in the standings].”
BG Coach Chris Bergeron compared the team’s third period perseverance to the attitude it had in the CCHA playoffs this past season.
“In the third [Saturday], we just knew that we didn’t want to lose this game,” said Adam Berkle, who scored the game-tying goal with 56 seconds left in the third period Saturday. “We wanted to stick with it. We came out hard in the third and battled the entire period.”
Now, the team has some positive energy heading into this weekend, as it welcomes No. 5 Notre Dame to the BGSU Ice Arena. The Irish are 9-1 in CCHA play and lead the conference with 27 points.
“We need to use this game as momentum for the second half of our year,” Bergeron said. “The 14 days off … it brought a stop to some of the negative momentum that we had. I thought we came up here and fought hard.”
The Falcons and the Irish will play only one game this weekend. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05 p.m Saturday.