|Updated 11:30 p.m., Falcon hockey loses exhibition to U.S. 18s (2-21-14)|
|Written by KEVIN GORDON Sentinel Assistant Sports Editor|
|Friday, 21 February 2014 22:19|
The Falcons generated little offense, didn’t defend well and their goalies weren’t sharp.
All of that coming against the United States U-18 national team. BOX SCORE PHOTO GALLERY
The result was a 6-1 loss for the Falcons in an exhibition contest that doesn’t count on BG’s record.
The U.S. took a 3-0 lead in the first period and never allowed the Falcons closer than two goals the rest of the way. WCHA SCORES WCHA STANDINGS
Bryce Williamson scored for the Falcons, and Tomas Sholl and Tommy Burke combined for only 20 saves.
The U.S. held a 26-24 edge in shots.
“There wasn’t much detail to our game from the goaltender out to start, and then the game got out of hand,” Falcon coach Chris Bergeron said.
Virtually all of the U.S. players will play college hockey next season, with most going to elite-level programs. Five of the team’s players are projected to be first-round picks in June’s NHL Draft.
BG also was hurt by seven penalties, although the U.S. was 0-of-6 on the power play.
“It was a pretty poor effort. The details were poor,” Bergeron said. “We went into the game with a proper mind-set. That momentum ... began to snowball and we couldn’t stop it.”
The Falcons had too many breakdowns in their defensive coverage and turned the puck over too many times.
BG had to control the puck and play the game in its offensive zone to stay close.
“They’ve got a high level of skill,” Bergeron said. “If we were able to make it a game that we want to play, that we’re pretty good at when we’re playing it, it would have made it a game — regardless of what the result would have been. We didn’t give ourselves our chance from the goaltenders out.”
Four of the six U.S. goals came on shots the BG goalies should have stopped.
Sholl and Burke both stopped 10-of-13 shots. Sholl played the first period before being relieved by Burke.
“Our goaltenders have struggled,” Bergeron said. “We’re looking for answers there in terms of somebody stepping up and getting the job done, but that doesn’t get anybody off the hook. There has to be way more detail and purpose to what we’re doing (in front of the goalies).”
BG played the game without forward Mark Cooper, who was a coach’s decision; and Ralf Freibergs, who was playing for Latvia in the Olympics.
Senior forward Cam Wojtala suffered what Bergeron called was a “lower body” injury during the exhibition. The extent of the injury was still being determined after the game.
Cooper, Freibergs and Wojtala all play on the power play, which was 0-of-5 against the U.S.
BG remained 13-13-6 overall and 10-10-4 in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, including a 1-4-2 record in its last seven games.
The Falcons fell into a tie for fifth in the league, due to Michigan Tech’s 7-4 win at home over Northern Michigan.
Alaska-Anchorage, a 4-2 loser at WCHA leader Ferris State, and Tech each have 26 points, two more than Alaska (Fairbanks) and BG.
The top eight teams in the 10-team league qualify for the playoffs, with the top four hosting first-round series.
“It’s not the result we wanted,” Bergeron said. “We didn’t play the way we wanted, but it doesn’t count towards the standings. We’ll use it as a teaching tool, just like we would have if we had scrimmaged against ourselves. I’m not downplaying this. Our fans deserve better, but we’re not going to overplay it, either. “
BG ends the regular season with WCHA series next weekend at NMU ,and at home against Bemidji State March 7-8.
|Last Updated on Saturday, 22 February 2014 09:21|
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