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BG24 Newscast
September 29, 2023

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BG24 Newscast
September 29, 2023

Hockey travels to Ohio State today for pair of weekend games

Last season, Ohio State twice embarrassed BG on the latter team’s home ice.

The Falcons would love nothing more than to do the same to the Buckeyes this year in Columbus.

In a Nov. 2006 series at the BGSU Ice Arena, OSU outscored BG in two games by a combined score of 13-4. Weekends like that were typical for the Falcons last year who won only five Central Collegiate Hockey Association games all season.

But that’s no longer the case this winter. Currently the Falcons are 12-12-0 overall and 9-9-0 in the CCHA, good for 18 points in the standings.

Instead, it is the Buckeyes (8-18-2, 4-13-2 CCHA) who have lost many a weekend series to conference opponents this season. They currently rank 11th in the league in goals scored, a place that BG often occupied themselves last year.

Despite the turnaround for both clubs, BG coach Scott Paluch knows his sixth-place team can’t take the lowly Buckeyes lightly.

‘I still think there are a lot of skilled players on that hockey team,’ Paluch said. ‘[Seniors like] Tom Fritsche, Tommy Goebel, Matt McIlvane – those are experienced players that have produced. We didn’t play very well against them last year, and we certainly want to turn that around.’

Looking to reverse the trend and stop those talented OSU scorers is a BG defense that has allowed 12 fewer goals than their Ohio opponent.

That type of defense, along with goalies Jimmy Spratt and Nick Eno, must be strong this weekend to give a recently struggling Falcon offense a chance to win. Their power play has not registered a single goal in the past two weekends, going a combined 0-for-26 in the past four games.

In fact, Derek Whitmore, James Perkin, and David Solway are the only players in the past 10 games to score on what has become an anemic Falcon power play.

‘It’s such an important part of the year, that special teams get magnified,’ Paluch said. ‘We want to get ourselves to where we were earlier in the year, on both the power play and the penalty kill.’

Paluch is correct in that the team needs to return to its early season form when the power play was statistically ranked second in the country. Ohio State definitely affords BG a chance to capitalize this weekend, as they have allowed the third most power play opportunities this season.

‘We’ve been able to do some very positive things, and now we want to get back to the consistency that allows us to do that,’ Paluch said. ‘I don’t want to allow last weekend’s inability to get points take away from a lot of the really good things that this team has done.’

Moving on from the Notre Dame sweep will be tougher than usual this weekend since the Falcons are sporting a growing list of injured players.

Tommy Dee will be out for a few weeks with a shoulder injury sustained last weekend, while Brandon Svendsen is questionable due to a nagging knee problem. Kai Kantola skated without contact during Tuesday’s practice and is probable for playing in Columbus.

Dan Sexton, the freshman who received a game misconduct in Saturday’s loss, has a shoulder issue but is still likely to play. Sexton is key to the Falcons’ penalty kill now that he has tallied three shorthanded goals on the season, which is tied for third most in the country.

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