|BG hockey has much at stake (3-5-14)|
|Written by KEVIN GORDON, Sentinel Assistant Sports Editor|
|Wednesday, 05 March 2014 09:18|
Bowling Green has plenty at stake this weekend.
The Falcons will attempt to clinch a berth in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs and perhaps home ice for the league quarterfinals.
BG enters the final weekend of the regular season needing two points to clinch a playoff berth in the 10-team league.
The Falcons, however, need help to earn home ice.
They can earn home ice with a home sweep of Bemidji State and two Michigan Tech losses at WCHA co-leader Minnesota State. Bemidji is tied for seventh.
"What we can control is our games," Bergeron said. "We want to play better. We want to play well, knowing if we play well, regardless of where it is, we give ourselves a pretty good chance against anybody in the league."
The third- through ninth-place teams in the WCHA are separated by just five points. The top eight teams make the playoffs, with the top four hosting quarterfinal series.
BG, which can still finish third in the league, and Alaska-Anchorage are tied for fifth with 26 points.
RALFS: Bergeron had no new information on sophomore defenseman Ralfs Freibergs, who reportedly failed a drug test during the Olympics, according to media reports in his native Latvia.
"Right now, I believe it's between Ralfs and the powers that be," Bergeron said. "He knows it's his responsibility to let us know when he knows. As of right now, we know nothing and he knows nothing."
BG officials have talked to the NCAA and have been told Freibergs is eligible to play unless something changes.
Freibergs' media session today to discuss his Olympic experience was postponed until he and the athletics department hear from the NCAA and World Anti-Doping Agency. The WADA oversees the Olympics drug testing program.
"How can it not be? How can it not be?" Bergeron said when asked if the situation was a distraction for Freibergs and the team. "That's no one's fault."
PERSONNEL: Freibergs' situation is BG's second major off-ice issue this season.
Forward Dajon Mingo is academically ineligible the second half of the season.
"We've had too many distractions this year, whether it's academics or this with Ralfs," Bergeron said. "They're distractions and these are young guys. It's hard. We have to control distractions better than we have this year."
FINISH: Although the Falcons are 1-4-1 in their last six games, they're coming off a 3-2 win at Northern Michigan. BG held on for the win, despite being out-shot 15-3 in the third period.
BG played well early in the season, but has been hurt by inconsistency since. It was 2-3-1 against MSU and WCHA co-leader Ferris State in November, handing MSU its only home league loss of the season.
BG also played well early in nonleague series against No. 3 Union, No. 18 Colgate and No. 22 Ohio State.
"We're reminding our guys, that if we do things the right way and invest in our game plan from an individual standpoint and a collective standpoint, we're pretty good, regardless of where we play," Bergeron said. "We think it's more mental than physical, so we're trying to get out of our own way, find a way to be confident. Our win against Northern Saturday night will help that."
MAYBE: No decision has been made on whether BG senior captain Cam Wojtala (lower-body injury) will play this weekend. He didn't play at NMU.
One of BG's top nine forwards, Wojtala skated Monday and Tuesday, but did not practice. A decision on his availability will be made Friday.
PLAYOFF PUSH: Bemidji is tied with Lake Superior for seventh with 24 points, just two behind BG and Alaska.
The Beavers have lost four of their last six games, although three of the losses were to Ferris State and MSU.
They're coming off a home split against Alabama-Huntsville, the last-place team in the WCHA.
WELCOME: The series marks Bemidji's first appearance in the Ice Arena.
The only other series between the teams came during the 2011-12 season when BG was swept at Bemidji, 4-1, 2-1.
YOUTH: Bemidji has played just three seniors this season.
|Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 March 2014 12:40|
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