|Improved special teams a must for BG (04-05-13)|
|Written by KEVIN GORDON Sentinel Assistant Sports Editor|
|Friday, 05 April 2013 08:28|
Improved power-play and penalty-killing units are a major priority for Bowling Green next season.
The Falcons were next-to-last in power-play conversions and last in penalty-killing in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association this season.
BG was 23-of-167 on the power play (13.8 percent) and allowed 38 power-play goals in 161 attempts (23.6 percent).
The Falcons were a minus-20 for all special-teams goals, worst in the CCHA. BG finished 15-21-5 overall and 10-15-3 in the league.
"We can't be (last) in special teams and be the team we want to be," BG coach Chris Bergeron said. "It cost us games."
The Falcons finished ninth in the CCHA, two points out of seventh and six points out of sixth. BG was 6-8-5 in games decided by one or zero goals.
"As (our special teams) improve, you will see these games, where we play really hard and lose because of the special teams battle, we're going to find ourselves on the positive side of those games because of the special teams," Bergeron said.
PP: Despite its percentage, the BG power play improved, especially late in the season.
The addition of Ralfs Freibergs on the point and the improvement of forward Ben Murphy were two major reasons for the improvement.
A better power play will aid the BG offense, which averaged just 2.4 goals per game.
"Next year's power play has a chance to be as deep as it has been, meaning you have to be doing things to stay on the power play and ultimately be more effective," Bergeron said.
PK: The penalty-killing was disappointing because BG returned the almost all of its penalty-killers from the 2011-12 season when it was at 82.5 percent.
The Falcons also received excellent goaltending from Andrew Hammond and Tommy Burke most of the season.
"We have to do a better job of executing," Bergeron said.
OFFENSE: BG, with its top nine forwards back, figures to be better offensively.
Ryan Carpenter led BG with 18 goals and 15 assists, while Dajon Mingo had eight goals and 14 assists, and Bryce Williamson had 12 goals. But Dan DeSalvo, Adam Berkle and Cam Wojtala need to bounce back from inconsistent seasons.
"Next year, our group of forwards has a chance to be pretty good," Bergeron said. "If you shut down one, you're going to have to answer to two, three, four more. I like what our offensive group has become in terms of the system, the threat we were."
Williamson, Wojtala and Brett Mohler - who will be seniors next season -generated plenty of scoring chances in BG's CCHA quarterfinal series at Notre Dame.
"It'd be nice to have a line of seniors who can dominate people," Bergeron said. "We're going to have some good depth and nice options. For the first time, guys are really going to have to hold themselves accountable on a daily basis or they just won't play."
EXPERIENCE: BG will have a veteran team next season with 10 seniors and 10 juniors. In addition, BG's six freshmen this season saw major ice time.
"Expectations get higher the older you are," Bergeron said. "We expect a lot of seniors. We expect a lot from juniors. We look at the sophomores and freshmen as they're still trying to figure it out. Those guys who are juniors and seniors have had plenty of time to figure it out. ... If people think they're going to do what they did this year and that's going to be good enough, that's not the case."
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