Hockey sweeps again

Ethan Magoc and Ethan Magoc

At this point last year, the Falcon hockey team stood at 1-4 in Central Collegiate Hockey Association games. This weekend they reversed that record to 4-1 with another sweep over a CCHA opponent.

This time BG victimized Ferris State on the road with wins of 6-3 on Friday and 3-1 on Saturday. The sweep was the Falcons’ first over the Bulldogs in 20 years, and also bumped BG into 20th place nationally on Inside College Hockey’s Power Rankings.

“It was just another outstanding effort from our team,” said BG coach Scott Paluch. “We were able to really play through a lot of momentum swings from Ferris State and keep the game close, and then play an outstanding third period [on Saturday]. It was a big weekend for our team.”

While the weekend was big for the team overall, it was also big for several BG players in particular.

The first was Derek Whitmore who put up five goals in the two games, including his first career hat trick on Saturday. Whitmore’s scoring rampage earned him CCHA Offensive Player of the Week Honors and put him atop the CCHA goals per game leaders.

Another was James Perkin who tied Friday’s game on the power play at 3-3, and then notched the go-ahead goal just 22 seconds later on another power play. In addition to Whitmore and Perkins, five other forwards and three defensemen all added at least one point on the weekend. Defenseman Kevin Schmidt continued his recent success by adding three more assists in the two games.

Schmidt now leads the nation in points per game by a college defenseman.

The team as a whole continued to show signs of once again becoming a force in the CCHA, as they put together two complete team wins for the second straight weekend – something that was rather uncommon last winter.

Besides the offensive highlights from Friday and Saturday, the goaltending wasn’t too shabby either. Once again Coach Paluch went with the double-barrel goalie strategy, starting Nick Eno on Friday and Jimmy Spratt on Saturday. They combined to stop 57 of 61 Bulldog shots, and collected their third and second respective wins on the season.

“The goaltending situation is a work in progress that we’re still monitoring,” Paluch said. “What we’ve seen so far is that we’ve had an opportunity in every game, so we are looking close at that.”

Wins like those collected the past two weekends will undoubtedly be essential at the end of BG’s season when they fight for a playoff spot. Currently, the team is not only putting together a strong position in the CCHA standings, but realizing how to consistently win games as well.

They did neither last season.

So far it would appear that last winter is naught but a bad memory for the 2007-’08 Falcon hockey team.