|BG faces surprise team (2-14-14)|
|Written by KEVIN GORDON, Sentinel Assistant Sports Editor|
|Friday, 14 February 2014 09:29|
Bowling Green faces the surprise team in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association this weekend.
The Falcons travel to Alaska-Anchorage tonight and Saturday.
The Seawolves - next-to-last in the WCHA coaches poll - are tied with BG for the fourth place in the 10-team league with four weekends left in the regular season.
UAA is 14-11-3 overall and 10-9-3 in the league - their best start overall since the 1991-92 season. The Seawolves are 6-2-1 in their last nine league games.
The top eight teams in the league make the playoffs, with the top four hosting quarterfinal series.
"They're working really hard. They're committed to competing and working hard," BG coach Chris Bergeron said. "No one is out-working them right now."
The Seawolves are in their first season under head coach Matt Thomas, who had spent the last nine seasons as a head coach and general manager in the ECHL.
"They've established a work ethic and they have some talent there," Bergeron said.
GOALIES: The Falcons are seeking improved play from goalies Tommy Burke and Tomas Sholl.
Sholl has a 2.68 goals-against average and an .896 save percentage in 19 games, but stopped just 11-of-15 shots before he he was replaced by Burke in a 5-2 loss to Michigan Tech Jan. 31.
Bruke has a 2.32 goals-against and an .916 save percentage in 19 games. He started the series finale against Tech and stopped 27-of-32 shots.
"If one guy takes an opportunity and runs with it, I'd like to settle on one goalie. It's not mandatory," Bergeron said when asked he'd prefer to use just one goalie late in the regular season and during the playoffs.
"There's not a rulebook that says you have to have one goalie going into the playoffs or leading up to the playoffs," Bergeron added. "Ultimately, I'd like to see both of them raise their level (of play). But if one of them takes the lead with his play, then that would be good for us."
OFFENSE: The Falcons are second in the WCHA In scoring, averaging 3.13 goals per game - their highest output since the 2005-06 season when they averaged 3.26 gpg.
FACTS: UAA is 11-4-2 when scoring first and 9-0-1 when leading after two periods.
On the other hand, BG is 9-7-3 when scoring first and 11-5-1 when leading after two periods.
STATS: The Seahawks are third in the league in goals allowed (2.61 per game), fourth in power-play conversions (18.5 percent), sixth in goals scored (2.68 per game) and eighth in penalty-killing (81 percent).
PP/PK: BG is seventh in the league in power-play conversions (16.4 percent) and fifth in penalty-killing (83.6 percent).
PLAYERS TO WATCH: UAA senior forward Matt Bailey is tied for seventh in the league in scoring.
The senior forward has 26 points in 28 games, including 14 assists.
Senior forward Jordan Kwas is tied for ninth with 25 points. He has nine goals and 16 assists in 28 games.
Senior Chris Kamal, who has a 2.22 goals-against and a .909 save percentage, had started 10 straight games in goal until classmate Rob Gunderson started last Saturday's 5-2 win at Lake Superior.
Gunderson has a 248 goals-against and a .900 save percentage in 18 games, while freshman Michael Matyas has a 3.29 goals-against and an .877 save percentage in seven games.
Junior defenseman Austin Coldwell has four goals and 13 assists in 28 games.
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