Bowling Green is riding high on a long unprecedented winning streak, currently at 3, after their first home sweep since around Christmas time against Clarkson in 2008. The Nanooks had a predicted sweep against the Falcons in Ohio last year that BGSU spoiled, so I'm sure the guys will be eager to get them on the ice again this weekend to get a little home-ice revenge.
The Falcons new head coach, Chris Bergeron appears to have put the team in gear. I had a chance to exchange some questions with Bowling Green blogger Drew Evans (http://bgsuhockey.wordpress.com), and I asked him about the community's optimism under their new coaching staff. His response was pretty resounding,
"Optimism would probably be considered an understatement. Coming into the season I thought 6-9 wins would be a pretty impressive run considering what we lost and not having a good handle on our freshman. Now, we seem to be closer to 10-13 wins with a few upsets sprinkled in."That's good to hear, really. I can remember being in very similar shoes after the clusterf- ...um... the 2007-2008 season when Dallas Ferguson, who had been the Nanooks assistant for some time, took over the reigns and took the guys to their first NCAA national tournament ever in program history. Chris Bergeron has racked up three wins so far in six games, which is already 60% of their total wins from a year ago (five). Seems like he's doing the right things and helping get this team in and develop a system where they can be successful and get some wins.
While I wish Bowling Green tons of luck rebuilding their team, and their "Bring Back the Glory" campaign, I don't wish them luck this weekend...
Now, I haven't had a chance to get some video of these guys yet. The only major team they've played so far is two losses to Michigan, and I've only been able to see just a few clips of that game around the internet. The score somewhat speaks for itself. The games were played at Bowling Green, in which Michigan went on to outscore BGSU 8-3 over both games. Just three of those goals were scored even strength for Michigan, one was scored shorthanded, and one an empty net. The other 3 goals were on Michigan's power play.
Bowling Green's penalty kill is just slightly worse than ours at 75.9%, good for 40th in the nation. The Nanooks? 39th at 77.4%. But the 'Nooks PK is going against the 51st ranked power play in the nation, at 5.9%. Granted, these are early season stats, and matchups have a lot to do with it.
The Falcons will be the first unranked opponent we will have faced since our season opener against Air Force. But its always hard to find out what to expect from a team with a new coach. But you can expect a solid performance out of their two NHL draft picks in forward Jordan Samuels-Thomas (Thrashers), and goaltender Nick Eno (Sabres). Samuels-Thomas is clearly their main scoring threat, so keeping an eye on him should limit their main production. He was involved in just one of the goals scored this past weekend, though, so they've got some underlying talent here that the stats really don't speak of. Freshman Mike Fink has three points in two games, two of those points are goals.
Defensively, Nick Eno isn't exactly having his best start. His 3.6909 GAA include 7 goals allowed in 2 games against Michigan. I don't think that means he's a slouch by any means, Michigan is certainly a good team in their own right. But we should have better luck against these netminders than we've had against some of the top guys in the country in Keith Kinkaid, Joe Howe, and Drew Palmisano that we've seen these past few weeks.
But that said, the guys need to generate offense. Like I said last week, to many little mistakes and turnovers in the offensive zone cost them possession. You can't score without the puck. Get the puck to the net, get some bodies down there, and find some twine. Two goals per game doesn't earn wins when the defense is equally allowing two goals a game (good for 3rd in the nation, by the way). I would like to hear the horn a bunch of times this weekend for my Halloween wish. Hopefully the guys can make that wish come true for me.
Nanooks sweep, 4-1, 5-2.
I do have my first injury to report of the year. I've heard reports that Michael Quinn has gone down with an ACL injury, and could be out 5-7 weeks. I have that on good sources, but unconfirmed at the moment. Hopefully, I'll get more word from coaches at the luncheon tomorrow.
With that in mind, there are a bunch of activities going on this weekend. Obviously Halloween being the big one. Saturday, everyone in the crowd should be in costumes. If you think you, or your kid of the best one in the house, you can enter for the kids or adults costume contests, which will take place during the first and second intermissions, respectively.
Also, this weekend is parents weekend. If you're a Faceoff Club member, you can meet the players' parents at a pre-game reception at the Curling Club from 4:30-5:30PM. Tubby's BBQ will be catering, so plan on meeting some good people over some equally good food. Friday is also Think Pink night. So, if you
aren't wearing your blue and gold, you might want to wear pink to support Breast Cancer Awareness.