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Club hockey takes second in tournament over weekend

The Bowling Green Club Hockey team is off to a fast start under the new rules set forth by USA Hockey.

USA Hockey made several rules changes similar to the NHL rule changes from last year to make this season’s games more positive and to put more emphasis on puck handling and skating skills.

There were many new rules that coach Dave Sergent had to teach his players. They include that the stick can only to be used for moving the puck, the stick shall not impede forward progress, a free hand/arm can not impede a player’s forward progress, players may use physical force if another player has hit them illegally, and players are accountable for intimidating and dangerous acts.

“During practices [Sergent] would stop us and say ‘that’s a penalty and [the referees] are going to call that on you in a game,'” Steve Petures said.

“Our coach made us watch video tapes and ran through a couple drills in practice about enforcing the new rules,” Bill Krysh said, “But we’re still getting tons and tons of penalties.”

But, these new rules haven’t slowed the Falcons, a team that went 12-21-2 last season, as they have jumped out to a 2-0 regular season record as well as a second place finish in the “Battle of Ohio” tournament in Wooster this past weekend.

“I think we’re going to be a hard-working team that has a good attitude, and we’re going to be a high scoring team with strong goaltending,” Sergent said, “I’m pleasantly surprised by our younger players and their attitudes. There’s a lot of energy, a lot of promise and a lot of commitment to the team.”

BG opened up its season on the road against the rival Toledo Rockets. The Falcons won the game 7-3 led by Kyle Wilson and Jim Tudor who each had two goals and combined for seven assists.

The team continued its success at home the very next night. Five different players scored goals and goalie Kyle Kittelberger saved 15 as the Falcons again defeated Toledo 5-1.

After a week of practice, the Falcons displayed their talent at the inaugural “Battle of Ohio.” On Friday night, BG defeated John Carroll 7-1 to advance to the championship game.

Saturday was BG’s only defeat thus far as Kent State won the tournament with a 7-5 win. In the game, the new rules generated a total 54 penalties for 108 minutes between both teams and changed the strategy of the game dramatically.

“We’re slowly adjusting to [the new rules]. Are we adjusting to them as fast as I’d like? No. But, eventually we’re going to adjust to them and when we do that we’re going to better off than we already are,” Sergent said.

“Pretty much, more than half the game is played with somebody in the [penalty] box,” Wilson said, “It’s changed the whole style.”

The Falcons look to retain their regular season dominance and give hockey fans something to watch at home this Friday at 10 p.m. and Saturday at 10:15 p.m. at the Bowling Green Ice Arena.

“We are fun to watch. We’re competitive. The games are fun to get into,” Wilson said.

“A common thing that people like are fights, hits, and high scoring games. We’ve had a lot of high scoring games and there’s more to come,” Petures said.

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