|Falcons seeking 'active leaders' (12-05-12)|
|Written by KEVIN GORDON Sentinel Assistant Sports Editor|
|Wednesday, 05 December 2012 10:57|
Bowling Green's hockey team has plenty of players capable of being good leaders.
The challenge for the team is to develop those leaders, Falcon coach Chris Bergeron said.
The BG coaching staff would like the players to become "active leaders."
The Falcons remain a young team with just four seniors on their 28-player roster, and many of the key players are freshmen and sophomores.
Sophomore Ryan Carpenter and junior Cam Wojtala are BG's captains, and they're joined on the leadership committee by junior Andrew Wallace and senior Andrew Hammond.
"The players are waiting for one of the coaches or they're waiting for another player to step up and take charge," Bergeron said. "But (the coaches) are saying why not you, why not each individual take ownership of what is going on and we're putting some onus on the leadership of our program to become the life of the team, the heart and soul of the team because guys are capable."
The Falcons are hoping quality leadership can help them turn their season around.
BG is 2-9-3 overall and 1-6-2 in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association entering this weekend's series Friday and Saturday at the University of Alaska (6-7-3, 4-6-2).
The Falcons are 0-5-1 in their last six games, their last win coming Nov. 2.
"Guys are young and they're still trying to figure it out," Bergeron said. "You keeping pushing, encouraging the players to take ownership of what's happening."
CHALLENGE: In addition to being leaders, Carpenter, Wojtala, Wallace and Hammond have to make sure they're playing consistently well. But the four have been up and down this season.
"Some people have been more concerned with their own game and that's understandable," Bergeron said. "We need them to wear the two hats, that is the most challenging part of being a leader. That's on us as coaches to help them because we've all been in that situation since we've all been captains."
Bergeron, and BG assistant coaches Barry Schutte and Ty Eigner all were college captains - Eigner at BG, and Bergeron and Schutte at Miami.
PRACTICE: Bergeron said one major key to BG turning its season around is practicing consistently well.
The Falcons, who have been off since a 3-1 loss at Michigan Nov. 21, haven't done that this season. But Bergeron said six of BG's seven practices since the Michigan loss were good.
"For the most part, it's been consistently good with the exception of the one day," Bergeron said. "I'm encouraged in relative terms to the practices we've had before. We weren't able to string four good ones in a row before and we were able to do that last week. The reality sets in this Friday when somebody (Alaska) is pushing back."
GOALIES: BG hasn't decided on its goaltending plans for the weekend.
Hammond was outstanding at Michigan, but had split the last two previous weekends with Tommy Burke.
SERIES: BG lost three of its four games against Alaska last season, but its did split their series in Fairbanks.
TRAVEL: The Falcons were scheduled to fly to Alaska this afternoon after practice this morning.
BG is scheduled to arrive in Fairbanks Thursday at 2:45 a.m. eastern time (10:45 tonight Alaska time).
"I really think too much is put on the travel to get up there at times," Bergeron said. "It's two four-hour flights. A four-hour bus ride followed by another four-hour bus ride, these guys would do that no problem.
"We have plenty of time to prepare both on the ice and off. Come Friday night, there's no reason we shouldn't expect to be ready to go."
BIG ICE: Alaska's Carlson Center has an Olympic-sized ice surface that is 200 feet long by 100 feet wide. The Ice Arena is the standard 200 by 85.
BG will practice at the Carlson Center Thursday night and Friday morning.
INJURIES: Defenseman Jake Sloat (broken leg) and forward Brent Tate (back) remain out with injuries.
They're the only injured Falcons as forward Ted Pletsch has healed from a shoulder injury and is eligible to return to the lineup.
BG hopes Tate will return for its Dec. 29 home game against Niagara. Sloat is expected to return after the first of the year.
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