|Falcon hockey in tough spot in WCHA|
|Written by Kevin Gordon Sentinel Assistant Sports Editor|
|Wednesday, 05 February 2014 10:03|
Bowling Green no longer controls where it’ll finish in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.
The Falcons will need help to earn home ice for the first round of the league playoffs.
Just two weeks ago, they were in position to finish second in the league. But losses in three of the last four games have the Falcons in trouble.
By the time the Falcons return to action Feb. 14-15 at Alaska-Anchorage, they could be in eighh place in the 10-team league.
The top eight teams make the playoffs, with the top four hosting first-round series.
“That’s not the situation we wanted to be in, but that’s the situation we’re in,” BG coach Chris Bergeron said. “There’s nothing we can do about the last four games, other than learn from it and move on.”
BG is third in the league with 23 points, followed by Anchorage with 21; Bemidji State, Michigan Tech and Alaska with 20 each; and Northern Michigan with 19.
The Falcons have played two more games than Anchorage, Bemijdi State and Alaska, and four more games than NMU.
BG’s other remaining games are at NMU Feb. 28-March 1, and March 7-8 at home against Bemidji.
“Now, we’re going to need help and we’re going to have to take care of our schedule,” Bergeron said.
REVIEW: The Falcons have only played poorly for all 60 minutes in one of their last three losses, but they only played well for 20 minutes in another and 30 minutes in the other. They’ve also made mistakes at key times offensively and defensively.
“The frustrating and the concerning part is we’ve had plenty of opportunities to learn from these situations and we haven’t yet,” Bergeron said. “We’re not going to stop preaching the message of detail, of doing things with a purpose and our process, individually and collectively. We have the results to show that it works when things are right.
“The reality is we haven’t played well enough the last four games and we take absolute responsibility and ownership for that.
HABITS: Bergeron said the team has been making the same mistakes in games that they’ve been making in practice.
“We’ve talked for 31⁄2 years year that if you take the daily approach it becomes habit and habits are something you do every day,” Bergeron said. “If you’re making the same mistakes in practice every day, Friday and Saturday are just another day. If you’re not making those mistakes every day, chances are you won’t be making them on Friday and Saturday.
“We’ve looked at every angle of the program to try to make this right and that’s a constant work in progress, to make sure we’re doing things right in practice every day.”
Bergeron said he didn’t think the team had a leadership problem, but added “there needs to be leadership improvement.”
IDLE: BG is off for the second time in the last four weekends, and it will have only a single exhibition contest the weekend of Feb. 21-22
The Falcons had no weekends off during the first half.
This season’s WCHA schedule was redone after Alabama-Huntsville was admitted to the league in January, 2013, and making he league schedule is even more challenging with two Alaska schools in it.
OLYMPICS: Falcon sophomore defenseman Ralfs Freibergs left BG Sunday to play with Latvia in the Olympics.
Freibergs is expected to be back in the Falcon lineup for the NMU series.
PP: After a 0-of-6 effort in Saturday’s loss to Tech, the Falcon power play is just 2-of-26 in its last seven games.
BG is seventh overall in the WCHA at 16.7 percent and eighth in league games only at 14.6 percent.
PK: Tech’s power play was 3-of-10 against BG. The Falcons have allowed four power-play goals in their last 14 chances over the last four games.
The Falcons are fifth overall in the WCHA at 83.6 percent and tied for eighth in league games only at 84.3 percent.
PENALTIES: BG is sixth overall in the WCHA in penalty minutes (14.2 game) and fourth in league games (13.7 mpg).
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