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(Updated 9:30 p.m.) Hammond leads Falcons to win at MSU (11-2-12) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sentinel Sports Staff   
Friday, 02 November 2012 20:18
EAST LANSING, Mich. — Andrew Hammond’s return to the Bowling Green lineup was an impressive one Friday night.
The senior goalie stopped 29 shots to lead the Falcons to a 1-0 win over Michigan State in a Central Collegiate Hockey Association game at Munn Arena. BOX SCORE
Hammond, who missed almost all of the last four games because of a hyperextended elbow suffered Oct. 19 at Colgate, made 10 of his saves in the second period and 14 in the third period.
Defenseman Connor Kucera scored with only 3:44 left in the first period. Adam Berkle assisted on the goal.
Hammond had started 55 straight games before the injury. He has a 2.71 goals-against average and a .903 save percentage in five games this season. The senior standout returned to full practice Oct. 26 and his status had been listed as day-to-to-day.
“He looked solid,” BG coach Chris Bergeron said. “He looked on top of things. He made hard saves look pretty routine. That’s when Andrew’s at his best.”
Hammond was injured just 29 seconds into the series-opener at Colgate. The injury was to his right elbow, the side he holds his stick with.
Bergeron said no decision has been made on if Hammond will start tonight’s game. The Falcons host MSU at 7:05.
“I feel 100 percent and moving forward it’s just taking care of it and making sure I’m doing all of the things I can to stay healthy,” Hammond said. “I was very eager to get back in the net and have a solid effort like that. I had been skating on and off for the last two weeks, so I didn’t feel like I missed that much from a practice standpoint.
“You can’t replicate the game situations, but I’ve played long enough in this league where I kind of know what to expect,” Hammond added. “As the game went on, it really didn’t feel like I had missed any weekends.
The Falcons played well during the first period, but MSU took over during the final period and a half. MSU finished with a 29-25 edge in shots, including a 24-16 margin over the final two periods.
“I tried to be poised and make it look easy, and be a calming influence,” said Hammond, who posted his fifth career shutout. “We had some really good shot blocks and didn’t panic when things kind of went sideways. It was a good effort overall defensively.
“We were on the right side of the plays that had been hurting us,” Hammond added. “It was good to see that change. Hopefully, we can carry it forward. It’s a real positive sign.”
Bergeron said the decision to play Hammond was made after Thursday’s practice.
“He didn’t feel like there was anything he couldn’t do which is what we had asked him to tell us as he progressed,” Bergeron said.
BG is 2-4-2 overall and 1-1-1-1 in the CCHA. MSU is 2-4-1, 1-2.
The Falcons have had a tough start this season after a terrific run late last season that saw them advance to the CCHA semifinals.
“Winning tonight means a lot,” Bergeron said. “Players and coaches work so hard on a daily basis to make this thing right and you get instant feedback on Fridays. Tonight, it was positive because we won. From a coach’s perspective, there’s always more, things we can tighten up, things we can do better. But right now, it’s a win and we’ll enjoy it.
“I feel good about the way we played. I don’t feel great. I don’t feel bad. We made plays, but there were more plays to be made.”
BG ended an eight-game winless streak (0-7-1) against MSU, the last win coming during the 2009-10. The Falcons also won at Munn Arena won for the first time since the 2006-07 season.
Both teams were 0-of-5 on the power play. MSU failed to score during a two-man advantage of 1:06 early in the third period.
The Falcon penalty-killing is 18-for-18 in the last five games. However, the BG power play hasn’t scored in the last five games and is 0-of-22 over the last six games.
Last Updated on Friday, 02 November 2012 22:43
 

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