|Flashes from Gordon: Veteran forwards key for BG hockey (09-27-13)|
|Written by Sentinel-Tribune Staff|
|Friday, 27 September 2013 09:26|
Random thoughts on Falcon hockey during the plane trip home after five days in Las Vegas:
SENIORS: Bowling Green seniors Cam Wojtala, Bryce Williamson and Brett Mohler could form one of the best third lines in college hockey this season.
Whether or not that becomes a reality is a different story.
The three played well in last season's playoff loss at Notre Dame and coach Chris Bergeron is thinking about keeping the line together this season.
The line can be effective every shift because it has size and strength, and speed and skill to forecheck and generate scoring chances. But they also can be trusted defensively - allowing them to be used in every situation.
Yet, Wojtala's play suffered last season when he struggled to handle the responsibility of being BG's captain. He had 10 goals and 13 assists in 42 games as a sophomore, but produced only eight goals and eight assists in 37 games last season.
Williamson and Mohler have been underachievers with the Falcons, although Mohler has been slowed by injuries.
Williamson had 41 goals and 66 assists during his final season of junior hockey, and was expected to be a consistent scorer at BG. But he enters his senior season with just 26 goals and 16 assists in 115 games.
Mohler was recruited to be a solid two-way player and produce consistent offense, but he has just 13 goals and 20 assists in 90 games during his first three seasons.
With BG's increased talent and depth this season, it'll be interesting to see if Williamson and Mohler can thrive on the competition for playing time. If they don't, they might be watching the games from the stands.
Even if Wojtala, Williamson and Mohler don't skate on the same line, BG still needs all three of them to have the best season of their careers.
HOBEY: BG is expecting another big season from junior forward Ryan Carpenter, who already is receiving mentions as a candidate for the Hobey Baker Award. The Hobey is presented annually to the nation's outstanding player.
Carpenter, who has 29 goals and 34 assists in his first two seasons, has steadily improved and even more is expected from him this season.
One major question surrounding Carpenter is whether he'll return for his senior season. The 6-foot-1, 180-pounder already is receiving interest from NHL scouts and another solid season and will increase his chances of turning pro.
But Carpenter is enjoying college life and his experience at BG, so his turning pro after this season shouldn't be a given. He's one of those rare players who might opt not to turn pro and remain in college for his senior season.
WHAT AM I?: Adam Berkle is another key player for BG. The 6-3, 195 forward has played well over long stretches, but still disappears at times and often leaves you wanting and expecting even more.
When Berkle is on his game, the wing is an outstanding power forward because he can dominate physically. He also has soft hands, making him dangerous around the net.
When Berkle isn't effective, it's usually because he doesn't use his size and strength, and relies on a finesse game.
Twice last season against Ferris State, Berkle made a great power move to beat a defenseman and score a goal.
The second time, he finished the play by scoring with a great backhand shot that would have made Michigan coach and former National Hockey Leaguer Red Berenson proud. Berenson had one of the best backhands in NHL history.
Berkle will have to be a power forward if he expects to play pro hockey.
The pros already have him slotted as a power forward, not a finesse forward.
BG can only hope Berkle quickly figures out he's most effective when he's playing a power game and capitalizing on his size and strength.
MORE: The Falcons are hoping for more consistency and production from junior forward Dan DeSalvo.
DeSalvo played well as a freshman when he had 14 goals and 11 assists in 35 games, but he had just five goals and 20 assists in 41 games last season.
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