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BG looks to bounce back vs. WSU

Good hockey teams know how to respond if a game or two doesn’t go their way.

This weekend the Falcons set out to prove they are one such club capable of bouncing back from losses when they take on Wayne State in a home-and-home series. Two weeks ago, Northern Michigan ended BG’s chances of sweeping three consecutive Central Collegiate Hockey Association series for the first time in almost 20 years.

Then, when most BG students headed home for Thanksgiving Break last Tuesday, the Falcons suffered their third CCHA loss of the season at the hands of Notre Dame.

The game was BG’s second Tuesday night loss to the Fighting Irish on the season. The first came on October 23 at the BGSU Ice Arena.

‘It was disappointing because I thought we played a very good game against a good hockey team there in arguably one of the toughest places to play,’ coach Scott Paluch said. ‘We did the things we needed to do, but unfortunately we didn’t earn the points that I think we deserved.’

Had the Falcons earned those points by defeating Notre Dame last week, then they possibly could have moved into a tie for second place in the CCHA with a sweep this weekend.

Putting these ‘what if’s’ aside, BG must now focus on Friday and Saturday night’s games against Wayne State, a team they haven’t faced since November 2004.

BG looks to return to the complete team that put together that five game win streak earlier this month. To do this, they’ll need Derek Whitmore, Kevin Schmidt, and a few others to keep producing at the steady clip they have been. The pair, along with Brandon Svendsen, teamed up to score the Falcons’ only goal in the 2-1 loss to Notre Dame.

Whitmore currently ranks second in the CCHA in points per game with 1.50, behind only Michigan’s Kevin Porter, who happens to lead the nation in scoring.

Schmidt, on the other hand, tops the country in points per game by a defenseman. He has three goals and nine assists for a point sum that nearly eclipses his overall career total coming into this season.

Wayne State goalie Brett Bothwell will certainly be ready for whatever Whitmore, Schmidt, and the rest of the Falcons have to throw at him. The sophomore goalie stopped 42-of-44 shots in his team’s 3-2 win last Friday against St. Lawrence.

The Warriors may take a somewhat bittersweet sense from Saturday’s final matchup against its I-75 opponent. Wayne State University has elected to discontinue its hockey program after this season.

During the game, however, Paluch said it will be all business against WSU coach Bill Wilkinson, who has old ties to BG hockey himself.

‘[The last match] is interesting, in just the fact that we have a lot of respect for Bill,’ Paluch said. ‘What he’s done over the years, with the time he spent here at Bowling Green, the head coach of Western Michigan, and at Wayne he’s been a first class individual.

‘That’s more stuff for after the game though. We want to get ourselves back into that positive winning feeling this weekend.’

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