|(updated: 11:34 p.m.) Falcon hockey wins series opener against UAH (12-6-13)|
|Written by Kevin Gordon Sentinel Assistant Sports Editor|
|Friday, 06 December 2013 22:22|
And the Falcons snapped a three-game losing streak with a drastically different lineup. BOX SCORE
Tommy Burke stopped 18 shots, and Ben Murphy, Pierre Luc Mercier and Ted Pletsch scored in the Falcons’ 3-0 victory over Alabama-Huntsville in the Ice Arena.
The Falcons were 1-4-1 in their last six games, losing leads in the four losses and the one tie. They were coming off two 4-3 losses at No. 16 Lake Superior where they held the in the third period of both games.
BG was 2-5-1 in November, six of the eight games being on the road.
“It was good to get a win,” Murphy said. “We needed a win tonight and we need one tomorrow. We needed to get back on track. It was good to be back at home.”
BG already was without two of its best forwards in Adam Berkle (hip pointer) and Ryan Carpenter (foot), and Brett Mohler was a healthy scratch. He’s one of BG’s top nine forwards.
Pletsch, a forward, was in the lineup for the first time this season. Chad Sumsion played for just the seventh time.
Connor Kucera, one of BG’s top four defensemen at the start of the season, was a healthy scratch for the second straight game. Defenseman Rusty Hafner was a healthy scratch.
Hafner has been in and out of the lineup, but has played well at times during his career.
The Falcons then moved Dajon Mingo, a highly-skilled forward, to defense to add depth and create competition on the blueline.
Mingo is an excellent skater who can add offense to BG’s defense. He was solid at his new position.
“We’re looking for improved performance,” BG coach Chris Bergeron said of the lineup decisions. “The more depth you have at every position, the more it brings internal competition and the more it brings out the best in each person.”
The Falcons scored once in each period, but they weren’t sharp in the first period and didn’t play consistently well until the final 20 minutes.
BG finished with a 43-18 edge in shots on goal to improve to 7-7-3 overall and 5-5-1 in the WCHA. UAH fell to 0-15, 0-9.
The Falcons go for a series sweep Saturday night at 7:07.
“Guys were more confident tonight than we have been,” Murphy said. “We showed signs of turning that around. It’s good momentum. Guys checked in and just realized (the losing, lack of execution) had stop. Guys stuck to it and stuck to the game plan.”
Murphy’s power-play goal opened the scoring with just 1:48 left in the first period.
The junior forward — who has a pro-caliber shot according to Bergeron — scored with a laser from the left circle for his first goal in nine games.
Mercier doubled the lead on the power play with 28 seconds left in the second period. He was on the right side of the crease to fire in a perfect back-door pass from Mark Cooper at the left point.
Pletsch scored at 5:13 of the third period, converting on a scramble around the net.
The goal was Pletsch’s first since his freshman season when he had five goals and four assists. He didn’t score in his final 11 games that season and had two just two assists in 16 games last season.
UAH had approximately had five quality scoring chances, but Burke was sharp en route to his first shutout.
UAH missed the net on a breakaway 10 seconds into the game and Burke stopped a breakaway late in the second period with BG holding a 1-0 lead. The Chargers also hit the post, again with the score 1-0.
“You’re leaving it to chance,” Bergeron said of BG holding just the 1-0 lead through almost two periods.
Burke improved his goals-against average to 2.26 and save percentage to .907.
“That got me into the game quickly,” Burke said of the first breakaway. “It’s pretty hard not to play well in a game like that (facing only 18 shots). Most of them were from the outside.”
“He was solid. He looked on top of his game,” Bergeron said.
The BG special teams were solid. BG was 2-of-5 on the power play and held UAH scoreless on its four attempts.
“We killed penalties well. We had some purpose to what we were doing,” Bergeron said of the penalty-killing. “The puck movement was good (on the power play) by both units.”
“That makes it easier 5-on-5 when the special teams are helping out,” Murphy said.
|Last Updated on Saturday, 07 December 2013 09:16|
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