|Future BG hockey schedules to include CCHA flavor (02-06-13)|
|Written by KEVIN GORDON Sentinel Assistant Sports Editor|
|Wednesday, 06 February 2013 10:35|
Bowling Green's nonleague hockey schedules will have a Central Collegiate Hockey Association flavor, coach Chris Bergeron said Tuesday.
The Falcons will play Ohio State in a home-and-home series next season, and expect to play home-and-home series against Miami and Western Michigan in the future.
The CCHA will fold at the end of this season when all of college hockey's realignment takes effect.
"Ohio State has said many, many times they want to play us and they said it's important for them to play us," Bergeron said. "They'd be willing to play us four times a year, (two home, two away) if need be."
But the realignment means Michigan, Michigan State and Notre Dame - three of BG's biggest draws at home aside from OSU - will no longer come to BG regularly.
"Ohio State, Western and Miami are the schools I've really been pursuing," Bergeron said. "It's almost as important to play those two (Western and Miami) as natural Mid-American Conference rivals as it is Michigan and Michigan State."
Bergeron said he's had discussions with Michigan and MSU about future games, but added those talks have been "very much on the surface and we've kind of focused on another direction right now."
But Bergeron added Michigan and MSU could "potentially be in the conversation more long term." He said talks with Michigan and MSU have centered on BG playing two games at each of those schools, and Michigan and MSU coming to BG for one game.
"If Michigan and Michigan State don't want to come here and play, we're really not interested in playing them there only," Bergeron said.
The Falcons are trying to keep their nonleague games within reasonable driving distance because they face trips to Alabama-Huntsville, Bemidji State, Michigan Tech, Minnesota State-Mankato, Alaska-Anchorage and Alaska (Fairbanks) in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.
Shorter nonleague trips would help neutralize the costs of the longer trips to the WCHA, Bergeron said.
The Falcons also could schedule games against Niagara, Canisius, Robert Morris and the Rochester (N.Y.) Institute of Technology, if needed.
BG has no future games scheduled against Notre Dame, but Bergeron didn't rule out playing ND in the future.
In addition to OSU, BG's other non-league games next season are a home series against Colgate, a series at Union and two games in the Three Rivers Classic in Pittsburgh. The other teams in the tournament are Penn State, Robert Morris and Boston College.
The Union and Colgate series finish home-and-home contracts that began this season.
NCAA rules allow teams 34 games a season, but teams can play an extra game for each game they play in Alaska. BG has 36 games next season since it has a series at Alaska-Anchorage.
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