|Falcon hockey faces more travel (06-21-13)|
|Written by KEVIN GORDON Sentinel Assistant Sports Editor|
|Friday, 21 June 2013 08:34|
Bowling Green will have plenty of travel in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.
Of the Falcons seven road trips this season, three are to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, one is to Alaska, one is to Alabama and one is to Minnesota.
The Falcons join the WCHA this season when all of college hockey's realignment takes affect.
BG recently announced its schedule for the 2013-14 season. It'll play 28 league games (14 home, 14 away) and eight nonleague games.
The Falcons were charter members of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association where they could play home-and-home series against six of their 10 opponents, if desired.
The Falcons' closest league opponent now is Ferris State, which is four hours away.
"This is the new world for us - there's' going to be more travel for the foreseeable future," BG coach Chris Bergeron said.
In the 10-team WCHA, BG faces five opponents four times each (two home, two away), and four opponents twice each.
BG plays Alabama-Huntsville, Alaska-Anchorage, Lake Superior, Michigan Tech and Minnesota State-Mankato four times each.
The Falcons host Alaska-Fairbanks and Bemidji State in two-game series, and visit Ferris and Northern Michigan for two-game series.
The WCHA was divided into five sets of scheduling partners. The partners play each other four times each season.
BG's partner is Huntsville. The other pairings are: Ferris-Lake Superior, Northern-Tech, Bemidji-Mankato and Anchorage-Fairbanks.
Because of their increased league travel, the Falcons will try to play as many nonleague games at home or close to BG as possible.
This season, BG hosts Colgate and visits Union to finish home-and-home contracts that started last season.
The Falcons have a home-and-home series with Ohio State in a pair of Tuesday games in October
BG also travels to Pittsburgh for the Three Rivers Classic at Consol Energy Center. Also in the tournament are Boston College, Penn State and host Robert Morris. The pairings and game times haven't been decided.
"I want to stay closer to home for nonconference games and we're doing that ... but we're still going to have trips," Bergeron said. "We want to stay close to home, but we want to fill a schedule, too, and we want to play teams that are willing to play us here, too. We want teams to play here at Bowling Green and if we have to travel a bit to get them to come here, then we'll address that."
BG has two nonleague series finalized for the 2014-15 season, home-and-home series against OSU and Miami.
Bergeron said the other two nonleague series that season likely will be against Niagara or teams from the Eastern College Athletic Conference.
BG could play as many as 10 nonleague games during the 2014-15 season, the result of it visiting both Anchorage and Fairbanks.
Games outside the continental United States don't count against the NCAA's 34-game maximum, but Bergeron doubted BG would play those 10 nonleague games and will likely schedule just eight.
"I'm not ready to go down that road yet," Bergeron said when asked about playing 10 nonleague games. "We're going to play eight for now."
The Falcons start the 2013-14 season with an exhibition against Wilfrid Laurier Oct. 5 before playing six straight nonleague games against Colgate, OSU and Union.
BG is hoping to contend for the WCHA championship and an NCAA tournament berth this season.
"Those games are very difficult. They're all good teams," Bergeron said. "These games preparing us for our league, but hopefully they're preparing us for a national tournament."
Based on last season, Ferris and Mankato figure to be the top two teams in the league entering the season.
BG starts WCHA play Nov. 1-2 when it hosts Anchorage. After facing Anchorage, the Falcons play six straight games against Mankato and Ferris.
The complete schedule is on page 13.
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