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September 21, 2023

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Athlete of the Week: Kevin Schmidt

Seeing a defenseman atop a hockey team’s scoring leaders is pretty rare.

Through five games, however, sophomore defenseman Kevin Schmidt currently holds that distinction for the BG hockey team with six total points.

This past Saturday he notched a goal and an assist to help his team build a 4-0 lead in the first two periods against Western Michigan. Then in the third period WMU stormed back to tie it 4-4 and force overtime.

Schmidt provided an encore performance in overtime on his team’s second shift. As Schmidt joined the offensive rush into the Bronco zone, Todd McIlrath fed his defenseman a tape-to-tape pass within 20 feet of the net.

“I had a pretty good step and pretty good speed [coming in],” Schmidt said of the final rush. “I was thinking of taking it to my backhand and going cross-crease, but when I got my head up I had the right side [of the net]. I took what I saw.”

By joining in on the offensive end, Schmidt may have surprised goalie Jerry Kuhn somewhat. Therefore the Falcons’ defenseman from Markham, Ontario was afforded the opportunity of an open net shot right in front of him. He would not have had this chance if he hadn’t taken an offensive initiative that coach Scott Paluch hopes Schmidt and others will continue.

“We want more production out of our defensemen,” Paluch said. “[Kevin Schmidt] spent a lot of his junior career being involved and we want to get more out of him in that way.”

Schmidt, along with several other blue liners, is beginning to develop somewhat of a scoring touch this season. Three of the Falcons’ top seven scorers so far (Schmidt, Tim Maxwell, and Mike Nesdill) are defensemen. At the beginning of the season Paluch described this feature of the team as essential for success throughout the year.

“There are right times to get involved with the play,” Schmidt said. “That’s a work in progress right now, but a lot of our defensemen are doing a pretty good job so far. It’s fun to get involved so the guys are having a pretty good time with that.”

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