The BG hockey team has struggled with scoring goals this season.
Through nine games, the Falcons average 1.75 goals per game. The number is even lower in Central Collegiate Hockey Association play, where the Falcons have scored five goals in four games.
Coach Chris Bergeron says the problem hasn’t been inconsistency, because the team has been consistently not good enough at getting pucks and bodies to the opposing net.
“We use 30 shots on goal as a marker, it’s one of our objectives every game and we’ve probably gotten that objective three out of nine [games] at most,” Bergeron said. “That’s nowhere near good enough.”
How that gets fixed has both simple and complex answers. Simply put, Bergeron said the team needs to get better at getting pucks on goal and crashing the net.
More complex is the fact that Bergeron feels the team hasn’t been getting completely shut down offensively; rather, that the team is just failing to convert on the scoring chances they have been getting. The fix there could be as menial as simply getting a positive bounce that leads to momentum.
“I’m a firm believer that you make your own breaks,” Bergeron said. “We’re going to have to do things properly to get those breaks, and it starts with getting more pucks on net and getting more people to the net.
“Obviously scoring goals has not been easy for us. I don’t think you can get away from those simple things that you have to do to give yourself the best chance to score goals.”
One reason for the lack of goal production this season has been the abysmal success rate of BG’s power play.
The Falcons have gone 24 consecutive power plays without a goal, a span that stretches six games. For the season, BG is 3-for-41 (7.3 percent) with the man advantage.
“I feel like we’re doing a better job getting the puck into the zone, but once we get in I feel like we need to swarm the puck more, get the puck on our sticks better and get the puck up to the point,” said BG forward Adam Berkle, who leads the team with six points. “That will open up the power play more, but I feel like we’re having a difficult time doing that and retrieving pucks once we get into the zone.”
One thing that has been plaguing the Falcons this season is a lack of continuity with a team that is still rather young.
Often times, the Falcons’ cross-ice passes through the neutral zone go off target, or breakout passes at the defensive blue line get turned over because the players are still learning and adjusting to the tendencies of their teammates.
“Pretty much everyone, we’re just not cohesive with each other right now,” Berkle said. “But we’re still working on that, bringing the team together and knowing where everyone is going to be on the ice and how everyone is going to react to certain situations. I think once we get passed that, we’re going to be fine.”
While Bergeron said the starting goalie position is not, “up for grabs,” he did say that there is a competition going on for playing time.
“Tommy [Burke] has continued to show a confidence level and a calmness, an intensity to compete not just in games, but everyday in practice,” Bergeron said. “Not to say that Andrew [Hammond] hasn’t done those things, but now you have to execute.”
“Now guys are going to have get it done. If one goalie or two of the three goals aren’t getting it done, he’s not going to find himself playing. It’s a good, healthy competition.”
This competition was spurned in the wake of Hammond’s elbow injury. Burke stepped in and played well in his absence.
Bergeron said that everything is on the table with regards to the team’s goaltending, mentioning a potential Friday-Saturday rotation, which the team had two seasons ago with Nick Eno and Hammond, as a possibility.
“We think it’s a good spot to be in,” he said. “Hopefully that competition brings out the best in everybody.”