|Falcon freshmen off to a good start (10-11-13)|
|Written by KEVIN GORDON Sentinel Assistant Sports Editor|
|Friday, 11 October 2013 09:45|
Five freshmen are off to good starts for Bowling Green's hockey team.
Forwards Pierre-Luc Mercier, Kevin Dufour and Matt Pohlkamp; defenseman Sean Walker, and goalie Tomas Sholl all contributed to the Falcons' 7-1 exhibition win over Wilfrid Laurier last weekend.
The five are expected to play again this weekend when the Falcons travel to Union to start the regular season.
Mercier and Pohlkamp scored goals in the exhibition, while Dufour had several excellent scoring chances and made several good plays.
Walker saw a regular shift on defense, and Sholl stopped 4-of-4 shots in 30:34.
But with 14 forwards, seven defensemen and one goalie returning, the freshmen aren't expected to be key players every night.
"They played well," BG coach Chris Bergeron said. "It's a group that's contributing, but doesn't have to carry the load. Hopefully, they can get more and more involved as the season goes along and as they get more comfortable."
POLL: Union tied for third with Quinnipiac in the Eastern College Athletic Conference coaches poll.
Yale was first with 103 points, followed by Rensselaer with 102, and Quinnipiac and Union with 93. Union received two first-place votes.
"They've got some great talent," Bergeron said of Union, which played in the NCAA Frozen Four in 2012. "We're expecting it to be a very challenging series, but one we're excited for because this is the type of talent we're going to face in our league every night."
Union was 22-13-5 overall and 10-8-4 in the Eastern College Athletic Conference last season, winning the league playoff championship to advance to the NCAA playoffs.
D-MEN: Union has two outstanding defensemen, junior Shayne Gostisbehere and senior Mat Bodie.
Gostisbehere was a second-team All-American last season he totaled eight goals and 18 assists in 36 games. He's a third-round NHL draft pick of the Philadelphia Flyers.
Bodie had six goals and 18 assists in 35 games last season.
OTHERS: Junior Colin Stevens is expected to be Union's No. 1, taking over for Troy Grosenick, who skipped his senior season to turn pro.
Stevens had a 1.62 goals-against average and a .931 save percentage in 12 games last season.
Union lost four of its top five scorers from last season, but returns senior Daniel Carr, who had 16 goals and 16 assists in 40 games last season.
PK: The Falcon penalty-killing ¬≠- which gave BG major headaches last season when it operated at just 72.3 percent - faces a major test from Union.
Union's power play was 5-of-9 against BG last season and finished the season at 24 percent. Gostisbehere and Bodie are key members of the power play.
"They're a team that when you don't do what you're supposed to on the penalty kill, they take advantage of you," Bergeron said. "We got hit right in the face with that last year. "
BG's power play was was just 2-of-10 against Union, which posted a 5-3, 4-1 sweep in the Ice Arena.
"Their special teams are always really strong," Bergeron said. "Their special teams really killed us last year."
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