|BG hockey faces difficult assignment (12-27-13)|
|Written by KEVIN GORDON Sentinel Assistant Sports Editor|
|Friday, 27 December 2013 10:27|
Bowling Green's hockey team faces one of its toughest challenges of the season this afternoon.
The Falcons face seventh-ranked Boston College in the semifinals of the Three Rivers Classic at Consol Energy Arena in Pittsburgh. Faceoff is 4:35.
"They're a great team," BG coach Chris Bergeron said. "It's as good and as a deep as we'll play."
The Eagles, 10-4-2 overall, lead the nation in scoring at 4.18 goals per game.
On the other hand, BG (8-8-2) has allowed three or more goals in eight of its last 10 games.
"You turn pucks over against them and they'll make you pay ... and their d-corps (defense) is dynamic," Bergeron said. "You have to put them in a situation where they're uncomfortable and they're playing that hard game where every inch of ice is hard to get to.
"That's a good situation for us because when you haven't played for a while, those are things you can control. You can play that hard game. You can play that simple game."
Robert Morris (2-10-2) plays Penn State (3-9-1) in the other semifinal at 7:35 p.m.
The championship and consolation games are Saturday at 7:35 p.m. and 4:35 p.m., respectively.
INURIES: Junior forward Ryan Carpenter skated with the Falcons Thursday morning and will practice with the team today and Saturday in Pittsburgh.
The first-team pick on the Western Collegiate Hockey Association coaches preseason all-league team has been out since Nov. 15 with a broken foot. His foot is still in a boot, but Carpenter is no longer using crutches.
After playing in Pittsburgh, BG visits Alabama-Huntsville for a WCHA series Jan. 3-4.
"It is possible he'll play against Huntsville? Yes. Is it probable? No," Bergeron said. "We'll take it one day at a time and see how he progresses."
Bergeron said forward Adam Berkle (hip pointer) and Brett Mohler (illness) are expected to play tonight. Berkle missed five games with his injury, while Mohler sat out BG's series at Michigan Tech Dec. 13-14.
BG's been off since the Tech series and will have only its practice Thursday morning and today's pre-game skate to get ready for BC.
YORKIE: Jerry York, who guided the Falcons to the 1984 NCAA championship, is in his 20th season as BC's head coach and 42nd season overall.
York, the winningest coach in NCAA history, is 945-673-100 overall. He was 342-248-3 1in 15 seasons at BG before heading to BC, his alma mater.
MORE BC: BC has two of the nation's top scorers.
Junior forward Johnny Gaudreau - a Hobey Baker Award finalist last season - is second nationally in points per game at 1.75. He has 13 goals and 15 assists in 16 games.
Senior forward Kevin Hayes is seventh nationally in scoring (1.5 ppg). He has 10 goals and 14 assists in 16 games.
MISSING: BC will be without three freshmen this weekend - goalie Thatcher Demko, and defensemen Ian McGoshen and Steve Santini.
They're playing for the United States in the World Junior Championships.
BREAK: Robert Morris haven't played since Dec. 14, while BC and Penn State last played on Dec. 7.
GOALIES: Bergeron said BG's goaltending plans for the second half are "up in the air."
Sophomore Tommy Burke and freshman Tomas Sholl split the first nine weekends, but Burke started both games at Tech.
Burke was outstanding at Tech, stopping 82-of-88 shots as BG earned a win and a tie in a series it didn't play well. Three of Tech's six goals came on the power play.
"Tommy Burke has played his way into the conversation as the number one," Bergeron said. "He deserves that. I don't want to take that away from him. By any means, I'm not saying (Sholl) has played poorly. His record is what it is."
Burke is 6-1-4, and sixth in the WCHA with a 2.38 goals-against average and a .914 save percentage.
Sholl is 2-7 with 2.65 goals-against and an .878 save percentage. He had played well for most of the season, but wasn't sharp in his final two starts."
"The last couple starts, he made some big saves, but he struggled bit," Bergeron said. "(Against Tech), Tommy proved he could face 40 shots on back-to-back nights and we don't give up 40 shots (BG is allowing just 27.1 shots per game).
"It's a good situation to be in with our goaltending and we'll use it as such," Bergeron added.
SERIES: BG is 3-10 against BC, but the teams haven't played since Oct. 17, 2008.
|Last Updated on Friday, 27 December 2013 10:28|
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