|BG hopes Carpenter plays this weekend (01-08-14)|
|Written by KEVIN GORDON Sentinel Assistant Sports Editor|
|Wednesday, 08 January 2014 10:05|
Bowling Green remains hopeful Ryan Carpenter will play this weekend.
The Falcon hockey forward has been out with a broken foot since Nov. 13.
The junior captain hasn’t played in a game this season after breaking his finger in BG’s exhibition Oct. 5 and then his foot, two days before he was scheduled to return against Ferris State.
Carpenter, one of the WCHA’s best players, is practicing with the team and is close to a return.
“I expect him to be in the conversation for this weekend, but it’s still too early to tell,” BG coach Chris Bergeron said Tuesday.
BG hosts Alaska Friday and Saturday in a Western Collegiate Hockey Association series at the Ice Arena.
MORE CARP: When Carpenter returns to the lineup, Bergeron is hoping the other players on the team won’t “take their foot off the gas” and rely on Carpenter for BG’s success.
“They’re looking at it like we’re adding another good player to our forward group and if I keep doing my thing and he does his thing, we’re going to be a better team,” Bergeron added. “Guys are looking at their own opportunity and making the most of it. That’s the focus we have in our program — taking advantage of your opportunity and keeping your expectations high.”
HOME ICE: The Alaska series starts a six-game home stand for BG, which also hosts Lake Superior Jan. 24-25 and Michigan Tech Jan. 31-Feb. 1.
BG, 11-9-4 overall and 8-6-2 in the WCHA, is third in the league with 18 points, Ferris State leads with 22, followed by Minnesota State with 20.
BG has played two more than games than MSU and four more than Ferris. The third- through ninth-place teams are separated by seven points.
Alaska, ninth in the league, 8-9-3, 5-8-1.
“We don’t want to put too much emphasis on it, but we want to put a bunch of emphasis on it,” Bergeron said of the home stand. “We need to take advantage of those home games. We’ve put ourselves in a position where they absolutely matter.
“We’ve talked enough about what we can do the second half, in terms of the standings and positioning ourselves for the playoffs. Our focus is on Friday night. Our focus is Alaska.
BG, 6-2-1 at home this season, has played 10 of its 16 league games on the road.
RECENTLY: BG has won three straight games — posting a 7-0, 4-1 league sweep of Alabama-Huntsville last weekend and a 3-2 nonleague win over Robert Morris Dec. 29.
The Falcons scored 14 goals and allowed just three in those games.
“I like the fact we took care of the games we were supposed to take care, but there’s still room for improvement individually and collectively,” Bergeron said. “We’re defending better ... we’re creating chances and scoring goals.
“We talk about giving up three goals a game and being below that, and we think we can score more than that. If you do that, you’re going to win more than you lose.”
ADVERSITY: Carpenter’s absence is just part of an adversity-filled season for BG.
The Falcons have played without Adam Berkle and Brett Mohler due to injuries, and Dajon Mingo is missing the second half for academic reasons. BG also has lost five games and tied one game when it held a lead late in the second or third periods.
“All teams deal with adversity and we all know that’s how we get judged, — what we do in adverse situations,” Bergeron said. “We’ve done OK with that and that is something I like. Could we have done better at times? No question about it. But we’re two games above .500 overall and we’re two games above .500 in the league.
“I like the way we’ve stuck to it. We’ve all kept pushing and we have to commend our older guys for that. We’ve all kept focused and we’ve all kept the expectations high, regardless of who is in the lineup. Hopefully, all the lessons we’ve learned will pay off.
ON THE ROAD: The BG series starts Alaska’s annual two-week trip to the Lower 48 states.
The Nanooks, who are scheduled to skate in BG tonight, will continue on to Northern Michigan for a series Jan. 17-18.
|Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 January 2014 12:31|
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