|Falcons catching up on their rest (01-15-14)|
|Written by KEVIN GORDON Sentinel Assistant Sports Editor|
|Wednesday, 15 January 2014 09:30|
Bowling Green's hockey team didn't have an off weekend during the first half of the season.
The Falcons will have plenty of chances to catch up on their rest during the final eight weekends of the season.
BG is idle this weekend before returning to action Jan. 24-25 when it hosts Lake Superior.
The Falcons also have Feb. 7-8 off and only a single-game exhibition the weekend of Feb. 21-22. BG has five Western Collegiate Hockey Association series to play.
"I want us to continue to mentally and physically rest which you would do on any off week," BG coach Chris Bergeron said.
BG is 4-0-2 in its last six league games to move into second place in the WCHA with 21 points, one ahead of Minnesota State. But MSU has played two fewer games.
The second- through ninth-place teams in the 10-team league are separated by just nine points.
BG also will use the time off to fine-tune its game. The Falcons are 5-1-2 in their last eight games overall.
"We'll do things that sometimes get overlooked, blocked shots, small detail things, special teams," Bergeron said. "We'll break it down even more because we have extra time. We're not reinventing anything. We're not implementing any new systems."
MEETINGS: The BG coaches also will have individual meetings with most, if not all, of their players this week.
"We like to check in with our guys during off weeks and give them an individual update on where their game is," Bergeron said. "We let them know what they need to do different, what they need to continue to do."
EARLY RISERS: Because some of BG's seniors have classes during the team's usual practice time this semester, the Falcons are practicing from 8:15-9;15 a.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays, and 8-9 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The players are at the arena 45 minutes before practice starts.
"We'll try to have bananas, something like that, or encourage them to eat breakfast before practice," Bergeron said. "We'll do the best we can to have them awake when practice starts, so we're not using the first 15 minutes of practice to wake up. We still have a bunch we need to accomplish in practice, even though we're not out there as long."
During the first half, BG had the 9-11 a.m. time period blocked off for practice, although it was only on the ice for 60-75 minutes. There was no pre-set time for the players to be at the arena.
TATE: Bergeron expects forward Brent Tate to be ready for the Lake Superior series after sitting out last weekend against the University of Alaska because of a lower back injury.
Tate is expected to skate in most, if not all, of BG's practices this week and next.
"We want him out there preparing, improving," Bergeron said. "We're being cautious with him. He's been good on doing the maintenance, doing the stretching, exercising his core, but you need the skating to stay in condition."
CARP: Bergeron was pleased with the play last weekend of junior forward Ryan Carpenter, who made his regular-season debut after sitting out the first 24 games with a broken finger and a broken foot.
He had a goal and nine shots in BG's 3-0 win and 1-1 tie.
"He's progressing to where he's pretty close to 100 percent, if he's not there already," Bergeron said.
Carpenter played right wing against UA after playing center his first two seasons at BG.
The plan at the start of this season was to keep Carpenter at center and play him with Mark Cooper on right wing, and BG may go back to that next week.
Although Bergeron said Carpenter is more comfortable at center, playing right wing isn't a major adjustment.
Cooper has 10 goals and six assists in 26 games.
PK: The BG penalty-killing has moved up to 12th nationally and third in the league at 85.1 percent.
The Falcons have killed off 15 straight power plays, and 20 of their last 21 attempts.
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