|Falcons' Hammond won't play tonight (02-22-13)|
|Written by KEVIN GORDON Sentinel Assistant Sports Editor|
|Friday, 22 February 2013 11:06|
Bowling Green goalie Andrew Hammond won't play against Northern Michigan tonight, Falcon hockey coach Chris Bergeron said Thursday.
The senior standout will miss his fifth straight game with a knee injury suffered in practice Feb. 6.
Hammond's status remains day-to-day. He will be re-evaluated Saturday to see if he'll be able to play that night, which is BG's senior night.
The NMU games mark BG's final regular-season contests. The Falcons will finish the regular season March 1-2 at Notre Dame. BG then starts the Central Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs with a best-of-3 series March 8-9-10.
Tommy Burke has played well in Hammond's absence. The freshman has a 2.15 goals- against average and a .908 save percentage in 11 games, including a 2.00 goals-against and a .913 save percentage in his last four games.
Hammond also has played well. He's started 22 of BG's 32 games, posting a 2.52 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage.
REWARDED: BG defenseman Bobby Shea was recruited by one coaching staff, played his freshman season for a second staff and skated his final three seasons for yet a third staff.
And he came to the team as a defenseman, was later switched to forward and again returned to defense. All of this for a program that had enjoyed minimal success over the last 20 seasons.
But as Shea's career winds down, he's enjoying a solid senior season as the Falcons attempt to earn home ice for the first round of the playoffs.
"He's getting rewarded because he deserves this," Bergeron said. "He's worked hard to get to this point. He's a great kid. He's always put the team first.
"He wanted to be part of the solution and he has. We want our older guys to lead the way and he wants to be a part of that. He wants to be a leader and he has this year. He was loyal to this program in dark times. It's all come together for him."
Shea also missed the first month of his freshman season as he waited waiting waited for the NCAA to certify him academically for admission to BG.
"I've just tried to stay positive throughout my career and control the things I can control, and do whatever I can to help the team," Shea said.
Shea and sophomore defense partner Mike Sullivan have played well this season.
The 5-foot-11, 195-pound Shea has three goals and 15 assists, and an on-ice rating of plus-17 in 31 games. He also provides a physical presence.
"I try to make sure I'm ready to go every time I step on the ice," said Shea, who has a 2.6 grade-point average in pre-liberal studies. "My approach helps me to stay focused and it all starts with practice. If you don't practice well, you won't play well in the games. I really feel confident right now."
SENIORS: Shea and Hammond are two of BG's four seniors who will be making their final regular-season home appearances this weekend.
The others are defenseman Ryan Peltoma and forward Marc Rodriguez.
The class originally began with 10 players. No longer with the program are Jerry Freismuth, Ian Ruel, Nathan Pageau, Jordan Samuels-Thomas, Max Grover and Reed Rushing.
NEXT: The Falcons (12-15-5 overall, 9-12-3 CCHA) are just five points ahead of NMU (13-15-4, 7-13-4-1) for eighth place in the league.
The sixth, seventh- and eighth-place teams host first-round playoff series.
HOME ICE: BG's six-game home winning streak is its longest since the 2004-05 season when it also won six straight.
BG's last home winning streak of seven or more games came during the 1994-95 season when it won nine straight.
SERIES: BG and NMU are meeting for the 13th and 14th times in the last three seasons.
The Falcons have won a first-round playoff series at NMU the last two seasons.
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