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BG24 Newscast
September 29, 2023

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BG24 Newscast
September 29, 2023

Hockey to host Ferris State tonight

Each time the Falcons have played Ferris State this season, the pairs of games have come at extremely crucial times.

Back in November, BG swept the Bulldogs in Big Rapids for what ended up being the second of three sweeps that built the foundation for the solid season the Falcons have put together.

Now, the two teams sit locked in a sixth-place tie in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association standings coming into this weekend’s series at the BGSU Ice Arena.

It’s as if the CCHA schedule makers had a crystal ball last summer when they were listing games down the stretch.

‘It’s actually pretty good timing since it’s such a big weekend for both teams,’ said Ferris goaltender Mitch O’Keefe. ‘There are a lot of points up for grabs for home ice and things like that, plus there’s a lot of teams right behind both of us so it’s important for everyone.’

Northern Michigan, which holds the final home-ice playoff spot, hosts Nebraska-Omaha this weekend. UNO, who just split with the Falcons, currently sits two points up of both BG and Ferris.

Only adding to the intensity and hype of this weekend’s sixth-place match up is Ferris’ newly acquired national ranking.

Several polls listed the Bulldogs at number 19 on Monday, perhaps resulting from their unbeaten record of 3-0-2 over the last three weekends against Lake Superior, Notre Dame, and Miami.

Players on each side were a little surprised by the national attention Ferris is receiving towards the end of the season, but could end up using it to their advantage.

‘What are they ranked?,’ asked an unaware Jimmy Spratt on Tuesday. Upon hearing the answer he nodded and said, ‘Yeah, they’re going to come hard since they’re really confident and hot right now. They’re going to want to prove something since we swept them earlier in the year on the ice.’

That added incentive of Ferris’, along with their new ranking, is something BG coach Scott Paluch and his team are keeping an eye on this week.

‘Those were two really hard-fought wins for us [in November],’ Paluch said. ‘We know what kind of team they are and what they’ve done now isn’t that surprising based on what we saw then. It’s been a great five-game stretch for them, but we don’t need that as a motivating factor.’

BG’s main drive now is to continue moving as far up as possible in the playoff seeding heading into the final weekend.

Meanwhile, Ferris State’s inspiration comes from those two digits at the beginning of their name.

‘Everyone’s emotions are up and pretty confident after big weekends like that,’ said O’Keefe who is 2-0-2 for the Bulldogs with a .911 save percentage in his last four appearances. ‘The ranking means a lot right now, especially going into playoffs because everybody is going to have incentive to work harder and keep the emotions going right through hopefully.’

The road to the playoffs for both teams continues tonight and tomorrow at 7:05 p.m. at the BGSU Ice Arena.

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