The Huskies return home for their first home stand of 2020 after splitting with Arizona State (11-8-3). They host the Bowling Green Falcons (12-9-1) for their second series of the season. The Falcons have found themselves in a bit of a slump after looking to be one of the best teams in the NCAA losing four games in a row.
After their last meeting in October the Falcons went on a tear going 6-2-0 in November including being the only team at the time to take a game from Minnesota State (18-3-1). However, even though this team swept a good Notre Dame (10-7-3) team, some cracks were starting to show. They started with a split against the Lake Superior State Lakers (7-18-1) which appeared to be just a one off, but then it happened against in December after tie with the 1-16-3 Alabama Huntsville Chargers. This continued through their one game series loss to Miami (5-10-3), and into the new year being swept by Northern Michigan (11-7-2). Just like that, the Falcons found themselves winless since December 13th.
Despite this current losing streak, the Falcons are still a very dangerous team. They currently have four players with 20 or more points. Alec Rauhauser (Sr. D, 23 pts), Connor Ford (Jr. F, 20 pts), Brandon Kruse (Jr. F, 20 points), and Alex Barber (So. F, 20 pts). As you go down their roster point totals start to decline rapidly giving way to what the Huskies saw against ASU and Clarkson (13-4-2). The Falcons, like a lot of other teams in the NCAA, trend toward being a top heavy team. The Huskies are also finding themselves trending toward this outcome too with still only eight players in the double digit point totals.
In net will most likely be Junior Eric Dop (12-8-0, 2.24, .909). He has seen a slight decline in stats since the Huskies last saw him, though it appears to not be entirely his fault. After reviewing the Wildcats come back in last Saturday’s game the Falcons broke down defensively despite the Wildcats having two ejections on the night. The Falcons still are having trouble defensively where the magic number is roughly two goals. If Tech can hold them to that they should win this weekend. In addition, over their last four games they have seen the breakdowns occur later in the game which bodes well for the Huskies and their strong 3rd period performances.
To add insult to injury, the Falcons are 2nd in the country with 759 shots allowed on net and tied for 37th with 55 goals allowed. There special teams include a good power play with a 24.8 PP% (9th) while having a mostly good PK with a percentage of 84.9% (16th). Tech is currently T-32nd in PP with 18.4% and 28th in PK with 81.3%. Moral of the story here is that Tech will most likely get their points on even strength play.
Meanwhile the Huskies found themselves splitting with the Sun Devils. They saw late game heroics in both games continuing the trend of becoming better as the game progresses. Game one saw a comeback scoring three goals in the 3rd period, but falling short 4-3. Game two was a different story with the Huskies scoring first and keeping the lead throughout the entire game until a late power play goal which tied it. Tech would respond by scoring less than two minutes later.
Tallying points for the Huskies were: Brain Halonen (1G), Alec Broetzman (1G), Justin Misak (1G, 1A), Trenton Bliss (1G, 1A), Alex Smith (1G, 1A), Logan Pietila (1G), Parker Saretsky (1A), Tyler Rockwell (1A), Seamus Donohue (1A), Eric Gotz (1A), Tommy Parrottino(1A), and Matt Jurusik (1A).
In net for a majority of the weekend was Matt Jurusik. He played well through both nights, but had some trouble in game one which resulted in Blake Pietila taking over after the fourth goal. I would still expect coach Shawhan to go with Jurusik this weekend as it was only a matter of time before he saw a bad night. He should be more than up to the challenge of keeping the Falcons to two or less goals each night.
Keys to the Game
- Cage the High Flyers. This Falcons team is most dangerous when their top players are allowed to play their game. Tech needs to limit the Falcon’s offensive zone time if they want any chance of taking the win each night.
- Discipline. This is going to be very important against Bowling Green. The Huskies are going to be antagonized and roughed up by the Falcons who are 5th in the nation with 124 penalties (9th in PIM with 286). The Huskies need to stay out of the box and not take dumb calls.
- Stay Calm. We are slow starting team, so the Huskies (as well as their fans) shouldn’t fret too much if we are behind going into the 3rd period. Everyone needs to stay calm and just play their style of game and everything will more often than not work in Tech’s favor.
To be honest I would give the advantage to Tech after Bowling Green’s recent short comings, but I think that the teams will end up splitting. The Falcons are due and the Huskies are still playing on shorten rest from the previous two series. BGSU wins 4-2, MTU wins 3-2.
How to Watch
Both games are available through Mix 93.5 for audio featuring Dirk Hembroff (free), and via flohockey.tv* (paywall) for video. Game 1 will be Friday at 7:07 Est and game 2 will be Saturday at 6:07 Est
*Flohockey.tv is also the source of all games played in WCHA buildings this season so don’t be afraid to sign up for a month or the year for flohockey. Flo Sports now has apps for iOS, Android (with chromecast support), Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Roku.