For Bowling Green State University hockey, there is more pressure than ever to have a successful season.
In his fourth year, coach Ty Eigner is faced with his team ranked in the top five of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association by his colleagues. Eigner told media on Wednesday that the Falcons are ready to face the challenge.
Eigner got his chance to talk along with the other CCHA coaches at the league’s media day event, which was held on Zoom.
“As a group, our players and staff are really excited to get going,” Eigner said.
Eigner responded to the CCHA preseason coaches’ poll, which has Bowling Green ranked third in the conference.
“If we play to our strengths and do the things we’re supposed to do, we’re going to be a team that’s difficult to play against,” Eigner said.
Despite an 11-14-1 conference record last year, fellow coaches believe that the Falcons are going to be a much more competitive team this year, and Eigner is striving for his team to be a strong playoff performer once again.
“We hope to be in a position down the stretch in February to be contending with three or four other teams for the league championship,” he said.
Along with the four returning fifth-year players, Alex Barber, Taylor Schneider, Evan Dougherty and Nathan Burke, there are also a multitude of new additions to the roster. Eigner wants to make sure that this combination of veterans and rookies will form a solid lineup.
“With so many returners and so many guys back, we want them to get used to college hockey and be comfortable being teammates and being freshmen at Bowling Green,” Eigner said.
Optimism is key for the Falcons this season, as a difficult season is ahead. They open the year with a series against Northern Michigan, an opponent the Falcons went 0-3-1 against last season.
“We have a tough stretch to start,” Eigner comments. “That’ll be a real tough test for us early.”
Another huge factor for the Falcons is to have as good of a second half of the season as the first. Eigner is making sure that the subpar results after December will not become a reoccurring pattern.
“Looking at how difficult it is to play in our league and how long of a year it is, one of the things we’re trying to do a better job of here is to be consistent not only early in the year, but also late,” Eigner said.
The media day panel also featured CCHA Commissioner Don Lucia, CCHA Director of Officiating Kevin Langseth, and the head coaches from the other teams in the conference. The event was hosted by Director of Strategic Communications Perry Laskaris.
Lucia began the webinar by noting the successes of last season and how well the CCHA has done since its reincarnation in 2020.
Langseth said there will be three major rule changes for the 2022-23 season: implementation of NHL standard offsides, five-minute penalties for contact to the head and checking from behind and failed coach’s challenges resulting in loss of a timeout.