Bowling Green State University hockey will play a home-and-home series against Michigan State on Friday and Saturday.
The Spartans, part of the Big Ten Conference with with a 32-72-9 overall record, have been a tough opponent for the Falcons.
With new head coach Adam Nightingale behind the bench, BGSU coach Ty Eigner knows that they will be a challenging team.
“It’s going to be a difficult weekend,” Eigner said. “With a coaching change and new staff, we have to anticipate it being a difficult environment.”
Bowling Green’s performance against second-ranked Northern Michigan, where they racked up four out of six series points, has given the team an opportunity to showcase their talents to prepare for this upcoming non-conference matchup.
Both Zack Rose and Christian Stoever had the opportunity to be starters, and Eigner likes what he sees from both netminders.
“We’re fortunate to have two goalies that we really believe in,” Eigner said. “All we ask those guys to do is give us a chance to win every night and they both did.”
Rose, a senior, dealt with injury for the second half of the 2021-22 season, leaving Stoever to step up and be a starter. After recovering from hip surgery and coming back to the ice, he earned a .857 save percentage against NMU. Eigner said that Rose can be back in that form he was in early last season.
“We like seeing Zack be healthy and back to the Zack Rose we expect,” Eigner said. “He had a difficult year last year with injury and worked really hard to get himself back in there and get the win.”
Stoever defended the net for the second game of the series, garnering a .871 save percentage. Stoever was critical in filling in the role for Rose during his injury last year, and Eigner sees potential in his sophomore year.
“Northern Michigan played better Sunday than they did Saturday, so he was under a little more duress,” Eigner said. “He was under some fire and he responded accordingly.”
The newcomers also shined in the previous series, with Chase Gresock, Jaden Grant and Dalton Norris getting their first points of the season.
The most notable player in the series was Austen Swankler, who was named CCHA Forward of the Week. The sophomore forward scored three goals against NMU, including the game-winning goal of the first match of the season. Swankler has been no stranger to accolades, as he won multiple rookie CCHA awards in his freshman season.
The Falcons will play against the Spartans at the newly renovated Munn Ice Arena on Friday before coming back home to the Slate for their home opener on Saturday. The home opener will have an “Orange Out” promotion.