|BG hockey strives for more road success (03-08-13)|
|Written by KEVIN GORDON Sentinel Assistant Sports Editor|
|Friday, 08 March 2013 09:29|
Bowling Green's proven it can win on the road in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs the last two seasons.
The Falcons are hoping to resume their road magic this weekend.
They travel to Lake Superior for a first-round best-of-3 series tonight, Saturday and Sunday.
After finishing last in the CCHA last season, BG won a first-round series at sixth-seeded Northern Michigan and a quarterfinal series at regular-season champion Ferris State.
BG also won at NMU in a 2011 first-round series in another 6-11 matchup after BG finished last in the league.
The Falcons return 16 players from last season and 11 from from 2011.
"It definitely brings some confidence that we've done it before and know what we have to do right on the road, how we have to play," BG junior co-captain Cam Wojtala said. "We know if we stick to that, we can be successful. We just have to know that every play counts."
This season, BG finished ninth in the CCHA at 13-18-5 overall and 10-15-3-1. Lake Superior was eighth (16-19-1, 11-16-1-1).
"It has to help. It's not going to hurt," BG coach Chris Bergeron said of the past playoff success. "I'm not going to fall back on that in terms of preparation because we don't prepare that way in practice. We prepare each day like that's another opportunity to get better.
"Getting on the bus Thursday, that's when you start to look at your experiences in the past," Bergeron added. "Our older guys are the guys we're leaning on to help us."
PP: BG's power play has been improved down the stretch, thanks to the addition of defenseman Ralfs Freibergs on the point and the improvement of freshman Ben Murphy at forward. The Falcons have four power-play goals in the last four games.
"Our power play has been good and it's going to have to be good (this weekend)," Bergeron said. "We could really, really use the power play to stay on the right track. (The improvement) is just making guys a little more accountable for their play on the power play has helped."
PK: One major key for the Falcons is their penalty-killing, which is last in the CCHA at 75.4 percent. BG has allowed two power-play goals in each of its last four games.
"We're trying to get our penalty-kill guys to wipe the slate clean, and start anew," Bergeron said.
The Lake Superior power play is sixth in the league at 14.9 percent.
OFFENSE: BG desperately needs more scoring from forwards Wojtala, Adam Berkle and Dan DeSalvo. The three have combined for 14 goals this season after totaling 31 last season. Berkle and DeSalvo are sophomores.
"That means we could have three lines going," Bergeron said. "This is the time of year where you need everybody."
DeSalvo hasn't scored in nine games, Berkle has just one goal in the last 15 games, and Wojtala has one goal in the last 18 games. Berkle was demoted to the fourth line for last Saturday's game at Notre Dame,
HOT HANDS: Laker juniors Kevin Murdock and Kevin Kapalka have combined for a 2.66 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage.
Murdock is eighth nationally with a .935 save percentage.
"Their goaltending has the capability of stealing games and they've both proven it," Bergeron said.
STATS: Senior forward Domenic Monardo leads the Lakers with 19 goals and 30 points, while senior forward Nick McParland has six goals and 15 assists.
Junior defenseman Zach Sternberg has five goals and 12 assists.
|Last Updated on Friday, 08 March 2013 09:31|
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