|BG's Hammond remains day-to-day (02-20-13)|
|Written by KEVIN GORDON Sentinel Assistant Sports Editor|
|Wednesday, 20 February 2013 11:31|
The status of injured Bowling Green goalie Andrew Hammond remains day-to-day, Falcon hockey coach Chris Bergeron said Tuesday.
The senior standout has missed the last four games, the result of a knee injury suffered Feb. 6 in practice. He hasn't skated since Feb. 13, but has been undergoing daily treatments for the injury.
The Falcons are hoping Hammond will be available for this weekend's Central Collegiate Hockey Association home series against Northern Michigan. Saturday's series finale is BG's senior night.
If Hammond practices today, that would put him in the discussion to start Friday.
"We were making leaps and bounds (progress) and then it stopped,' Bergeron said. "Then, (Hammond) thought, 'now it doesn't feel right, I'm going to wait.'"
After the NMU series, BG plays at Notre Dame March 1-2 before starting the CCHA playoffs March 8.
Hammond, who has been terrific since late November, has a 2.52 goals-against and a 917 save percentage in 22 games.
Tommy Burke has played well in Hammond's absence. The freshman has a 2.15 goals-
against and a .908 save percentage in 11 games, including a 2.00 goals-against and a .913 save percentage in his last four games.
"We can't sacrifice next weekend or the playoffs, hopefully a little run for us, based on one senior night game," Bergeron said.
DEBUT: BG freshman defenseman Ralfs Freibergs is expected to make his debut Saturday. He was suspended for 33 games by the NCAA for playing in what it deemed was a professional league in his native Latvia. He was playing with the team as part of the tryouts for the Latavian junior team in the World Junior Championships.
The 5-foot-11, 170-pounder is expected to help the BG power play, which has scored only 16 goals in 32 games. He'll also kill penalties and play a regular shift.
"I'm so excited about it, but at the same time, I'm nervous, kind of scared because I haven't played college hockey," Freibergs said. "I'm in really good shape and I'm ready to go. I feel like my game is in pretty good shape."
Freibergs was the top-scoring defensemen in the United States (Junior) Hockey League last season and the North American (Junior) Hockey League the previous season.
"He's been one of our six best defensemen from the beginning of the year," Bergeron said. "He's an all-league, All-American-type potential player. I don't see him not playing because he makes our team better. He makes our power play better.
"He's done a good job (defending). He cares more about that part of his game than some offensive defenseman do. He brings a real nice breath of fresh air to the power play. There's a maturity to his game that normal freshmen don't have."
Although Freibergs hasn't missed a practice this season, he'll be seeing his first game action in almost a year.
"He's not the second coming," Bergeron said. "He is a good hockey player. He's a great boy. He deserves this opportunity. But we're not going to jump into first place because he plays Saturday night."
NEXT: BG and NMU are vying for home ice in the first-round of the CCHA playoffs.
Alaska is sixth in the 11-team league with 37 points, followed by Lake Superior 32, BG 31, NMU 26, Michigan 25 and Michigan State 22.
"The details, the purpose, the process of our game is the focus," Bergeron said. "We've played some decent hockey of late and we want to improve on that."
The sixth-, seventh- and eighth-place teams host-round series. NMU would pass BG with a sweep this weekend. Alaska finishes league play this weekend, while the 10 other teams have two more league games.
RARE: BG hasn't hosted a first-round series since 2008, and has hosted just three playoff series in the last 13 years (the others being 2001, 2005).
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