|Falcon hockey encouraged despite shootout loss (11-12-12)|
|Written by KEVIN GORDON Sentinel Assistant Sports Editor|
|Monday, 12 November 2012 10:45|
The Falcons still came up short in a 3-2 shootout loss to 10th-ranked Western Michigan, but they believe the game was a step in the right direction.
They played well at times against the deep and talented Broncos, and didn’t quit even when they had the chance. PHOTO GALLERY
BG moved closer to resembling the team it was late last season when it was 5-5 in its last 10 games and advanced to the semifinals of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs.
The Falcons have struggled this season, even with all of its key players returning.
Shane Berschbach and Dennis Brown scored in the best-of-3 shootout for Western.
BG’s Bryce Williamson hit the post and Dan DeSalvo’s shot was stopped by Western’s Frank Slubowski.
The game went to a shootout after a scoreless 5-minute overtime.
Under NCAA rules, the game was a tie. Each team received one point in the CCHA for the tie, with Western earning a second point for winning the shootout.
Western sent the game into overtime on Berschbach’s power-play goal only 52 seconds into the third period.
The Falcons finished with a 25-20 edge in shots in a fast-paced and physical game. Slubowski and BG’s Tommy Burke both played well in goal.
BG is 2-6-3 overall and 1-3-2-1 in the CCHA. Western is 5-2-1, 2-1-1-1.
“With what we’ve been going through to this point, I was really proud of our guys for the fight they showed,” BG coach Chris Bergeron said.
Bergeron also praised his team’s resiliency after Friday’s 3-1 loss at Western. BG kept the game close on a night it was out-shot 32-12.
“We seem to be getting that edge back that we finished last year with,” Bergeron said. “We have to find a way to stay at this level because Western Michigan is as a good as a team we’re going to play all year. We went nose-to-nose, if not better than that, with them tonight.”
The Falcons even held a 2-1 lead after scoring both of their goals in the second period.
Ryan Carpenter tied the game just 44 seconds into the period and Andrew Wallace gave the Falcons the lead at 13:33.
Wallace, Chad Sumsion and Ryan Viselli all played well on BG’s fourth line. Sumsion was playing for just the second time this season.
The resiliency was welcome after last Saturday’s 6-1 home loss to Michigan State.
“Everyone just made a decision that we’re not going to come out and waste another day or a game like that,” Wallace said. “Everyone’s making a decision to fight every game and not waste a day. That’s a mentality thing and, hopefully, we can carry that forward. That’s a game we can certainly build off of.”
The Falcons were hurt by their special teams.
Western’s power play was 2-of-6, but BG killed off the Broncos’ last two chances.
The first came with 15 minutes left in regulation and the second overlapped the end of regulation and the start of overtime.
The BG power play had a number of quality scoring chances, despite going 0-of-3.
The Falcons haven’t scored in their last 35 chances with the extra man.
“It looked like there was a purpose to it,” Bergeron said of BG’s power play.
Bergeron also was pleased BG didn’t quit after Western opened the scoring on Kenney Morrison’s power-play goal just 26 seconds into the game.
“They score the first shift of the game, a team that’s fragile mentally like we are, we didn’t go away,” Bergeron said. “We kept playing. We kept fighting. We have to deal with (adversity) better.”
Burke started in place of Andrew Hammond, who had 29 saves at Western.
“We’ve got a competition in goal,” Bergeron said. “By no means are we saying Andrew Hammond played poorly last night, but depth in goal is not a bad problem to have.”
Bergeron added Burke had a good week of practice and the coaches almost decided to start him in one of the games before the series started.
The Falcons played their second straight game without co-captain and forward Cam Wojtala (lower body) and Brent Tate (back) because of injuries.
Wojtala is day-to-day, while Tate’s injury may keep him out for an extended period.
Western remained without star defenseman Dan DeKeyser because of a leg injury.
|Last Updated on Monday, 12 November 2012 12:37|
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