The Huskies (10-10-2) host their first home series of the new year against the Bowling Green State Falcons (14-4-3). Tech is coming off of a tough weekend being swept by the Mavericks (16-5-1) resulting in the Huskies dropping to 4th place in the WCHA standings. The Falcons begin a four-game road trip after splitting with the Beavers (9-10-3) at home.
The Falcons how found themselves in a very good spot this season after a very successful first half. They look poised to be a favorite to win the conference in this upcoming second half. Looking into their program one can find several reasons as to how they’ve continued to be a powerhouse in the WHCA. First and foremost would have to be the equal distribution among classes. The Falcons are a bit top heavy in junior and senior players but have a healthy amount of younger players to make sure head coach Chris Bergeron’s system is continued year after year. In net junior Ryan Bednard has been outstanding posting a 12-3-2 record with a 1.76 GAA and .928 Sv%. He will most likely be starting this weekend and Tech will have to find a way to get the puck in the back of the net. The Falcons’ other peripherals consist of a 12.1 shooting percentage with an 18.4 (30th) PP% and 87.2 (6th) PK%.
The Huskies are coming off of a disappointing weekend being swept by the Mavericks. Tech was mostly silent on Friday netting one goal on 25 shots with only three shots in the first period. Saturday saw improvement with Tech losing 4-2 with goal number four coming from an empty net. The Huskies saw fewer shots on net compared to Friday with 23 but were able to better control the pace of the game. Beydoun and Jurusik split the series due to a minor injury to Beydoun Friday night. Combined they posted decent numbers not receiving much help in the offensive zone. Saturday’s game marks the sixth game since the Huskies have won a game in regulation against Northern Michigan (11-10-0) at home on December 8th.
Keys to the Game
- Desperation. The Huskies need to turn around this current trend set in motion seemingly from the Northern Series. If Tech wants to see a chance at home ice for the playoffs they’ll need to root out the cause of this current slump.
- Special Teams. (Ah here we are again my old friend) The Falcons are averaging 6.5 penalties a game so the Huskies will see the power play. The only question that remains is whether or not the Falcon’s PK% is a result of a strong defense or a large sample size.
- Toughness. Shawhan has preached a lot over the last few weeks about players taking the soft ice, instead of pushing for the hard ice. The team needs to find a way to work harder and not get beat to so many loose pucks.
The Falcons have had an excellent first half start and look to continue this. The John MacInnes Student Ice Arena will be short some dedicated Husky fans due to winter break, making the home-ice advantage not as strong as it normally would be. Taking that into consideration with the addition of the slump the Huskies have seen, I don’t see them taking a win this weekend. I hope Tech proves me dead wrong. BGSU wins 3-1, BGSU wins 4-2.
How to Watch
Both games are available through Mix 93.5 for audio featuring Dirk Hembroff (free), and via flohockey.tv (paywall).