Falcon hockey picked third in CCHA


Bowling Green State University hockey has been picked to finish third in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association behind Minnesota State and Northern Michigan

Bowling Green, which welcomes 20 returners, will have three of their top four scorers from last year, including CCHA All-Rookie Team selection Austen Swankler (8 goals, 18 assists) with 26 points, Alex Barber (10 goals, 15 assists) with 25 points and Nathan Burke (16 goals, 7 assists) with 23.

The Falcons will compete in the reestablished CCHA for the second season. Last season, BGSU finished with an 11-14-1 conference record, including road wins over ranked opponents Bemidji State and Michigan Tech.

This season, Bowling Green plays 14 of 26 conference games at home. The Falcons have 19 home games and two home exhibitions, the highest total since 2008-09.

The 2022-23 campaign begins with a conference series on Oct. 1-2, as Bowling Green travels to Northern Michigan for a pair of 6:07 p.m. games.

The 2022-23 Falcon Hockey roster features 10 seniors, including fifth-year players Barber Burke, Evan Dougherty, Chase Gresock, Hunter Lellig, and Taylor Schneider. Max Coyle, Adam Pitters, Zack Rose, and Zach Vinnell fill out the rest of the class.

Also returning for the Falcons are All-CCHA Rookie Team selections Eric Parker and Swankler. Both goaltenders who saw action last season (Rose and Christian Stoever) will also return.

Minnesota State collected six first-place votes and totaled 69 of a possible 70 points overall. Northern Michigan University earned 61 points, including two first-place votes, while BGSU had 58 points.

Bemidji State (51), Michigan Tech (47), Lake Superior State (45), Ferris State (32) and St. Thomas (30) rounded out the coaches’ poll respectively.

Minnesota State captured the NCAA Division I East Regional Championship last season, en-route to making its second consecutive appearance in the Frozen Four and first ever final.

The Mavericks, who have won five straight conference titles, return 20 players, including the league’s fourth-leading scorer from a year ago, Brendan Furry (14 goals, 35 assists), who notched 45 points in 45 games.

Cade Borchardt (15 goals, 27 assists) was not far behind with 42 points. The duo will captain the Mavericks this season.

Posting its third 20-win season in the last five years in 2021-22, Northern Michigan is coming off a fifth-place finish in the CCHA regular season.

The Wildcats return 17 student-athletes from last year’s squad. Back is the conference’s eight-leading scorer, AJ Vanderbeck (24 goals, 19 assists), who recorded 43 points, with a league-highs in power play goals (8) and shots per game (4.47).

Andre Ghantous (10 goals, 26 assists) added 36 points, while transfer Simon Kjellberg (8 goals, 19 assists) registered 27 points from the blue line.

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