Road starts here for icers

The Bowling Green hockey team, much like King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table, will go on a journey to capture the Holy Grail of the CCHA.

The journey begins in Oxford where the Falcons will play the first of a 12-game stretch that will determine their post season fate. BG will have two games each with Miami, Lake Superior, Notre Dame, Ferris State, Western Michigan and will wrap up the season at home against Ferris State again.

Miami right now sits some what comfortably tied for sixth place in the conference standings with Western Michigan, but after those two only five points separate places eight through 12. The Falcons are tied with Notre Dame for 11th, one spot out of the CCHA playoffs

The last few seasons Miami has had a solid offense, but their strength this season has been defense. Miami is ranked third in the conference in team defense, giving up 2.75 goals per game.

“They have a good goaltender in David Burliegh, but their team concept in defense is what is important,” BG coach Buddy Powers said. “You can have average defenseman, but if you play good team Defense you have a good defense.”

Burliegh has produced a 9-10-2 record so far this season while posting a 2.99 goals against average and a 88.6 save percentage.

The Miami offense is spread out with four players with at least 16 points on the season. Pat Leahy has been the playmaker for the Redhawks as he has helped on 17 Miami goals while netting four of his own. Jason Deskins is the Redhawks leading goal scorer with 13 goals.

The key to stopping their offense Powers says is going to be a mind game between him and Miami coach Enrico Blasi.

“We have to be careful because they have the last change,” Powers said. “Trying to get a line matchup will be virtually impossible unless we can work something out on the fly. The only problem is if you do that you get your lines and your rhythm off track. We will use our defense parings to counter.”

The Falcons have been spreading the offense out lately as six different players scored in last week’s sweep against Rensselaer.

“Why we are scoring so much is because of our defense causing scoring chances,” BG forward Ryan Murphy said. “What also is helping is the balanced scoring that we are getting. It makes everybody feel better and takes a load off of a lot of people.”

But so far the name of this seasons story for the Falcons so far is inconsistency.

“Offense is like a cat,” Powers said. “When you call a cat you never know if it is going to come or not. Defense is like a dog. Every time you call it comes. From one game to another you never know if your offense is going to be there or not. In this league its going to take three goals or more to win.”

Returning to the Falcon defense will be a pretty big piece of their puzzle as Louis Mass returns after missing the Rensselaer series with a concussion.

Goaltender Tyler Masters was key last week as he made 36 saves including a 20 save shutout performance.

Blasi’s statements this week suggest that the playoffs have already started.

” We’ll have to regroup and concentrate on playing everything,” Blasi said. “BG is a hard-nosed team Their record is not indicative of how we’ll they’ve been playing as of late.