BG hockey needs to generate more offense PDF Print E-mail
Written by KEVIN GORDON, Sentinel Assistant Sports Editor   
Friday, 21 February 2014 09:22
Bowling Green has one of the highest-scoring teams in the Western Hockey Association.
The Falcons are fourth in the league in scoring at 3.06 goals per game, but they've fallen on hard times offensively of late.
BG's scored three or fewer goals in six of its last eight games. And in three of the last four games, the Falcons have scored just two goals and had 26 shots or fewer.
The Falcons are 2-4-2 in those eight games, including an 0-2-2 record in their last four contests.
"It's a combination of things, but it starts with individuals needing to play better," BG coach Chris Bergeron said.
BG's top nine forwards have combined to score just six goals in the last four games, including two each by Matt Pohlkamp and Brent Tate.
"It's been one line a night (playing well) over the last four games. That's not enough," Bergeron said. "We've got other players not playing to their capabilities and not consistently for sure. I can't tell you the last time we had three of our four or even two of our four lines going at the same time."
NEXT: The Falcons host the U.S. National Under-18 team tonight in an exhibition at 7.
The team consists of the best 18-year-olds in the country, and virtually all of them will play collegiately next season, most at elite programs.
The team is 3-6 against U.S. colleges this season, including a 3-2 win at Lake Superior and a 3-1 loss at Northern Michigan.
"They're a group that gets up for the college games," Bergeron said. "They look at these games against U.S. colleges as a pretty good opportunity.
"They have lots of skill. They're a really good team. They're just young. It's going to be an entertaining game. We're going to play hard. They're going to play hard. We want to get back on the right track."
DROUGHT: BG junior forward Ryan Carpenter - named to the coaches preseason All-WCHA first-team - has no goals and three assists in the last five games.
The junior forward had three goals in his first three games after making his season debut following a broken finger and a broken foot.
RETURN: Bergeron said sophomore defenseman Ralfs Freibergs still is expected to return to the lineup next weekend at NMU.
Freibergs had been playing for Latvia in the Olympics.
FRIEND OR FOE: Danton Cole, an assistant coach at BG during the 2006-07 season, is in his fourth season as the head coach of the U.S. U-18 team.
PP: One of the major reasons BG is struggling to score is its power play.
BG has scored just three power-play goals in its last nine games, a span of 32 chances.
BG is seventh overall in the WCHA at 16.4 percent, but is next-to-last in league games only at 14.7 percent.
PK: Although the Falcons have allowed five power-play goals in the last six games, Bergeron is pleased with BG's penalty-killing overall.
The biggest problem of late has been clearing the puck from their defensive zone when they've had the chance.
"The penalty-kill has been fine, but when we have chances to make plays we don't," Bergeron said. "It's a lack of executing. It comes down to guys needing to make more plays and we weren't able to do that. You take your foot off the gas or you don't make that one play and it's ending up in the back of our net. That's not good enough."
The Falcon penalty-killing is tied for fourth overall in the WCHA at 83.5 percent and fourth in league-games only at 84 percent.

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