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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
September 29, 2023

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BG looking to forget last season

The temperature decline on campus this week coincides perfectly with an autumn of another sort for hockey fans.

The puck drops on a new season of Falcon hockey tonight at 7 with an exhibition game against Windsor. Though the Falcons are coming off a rather forgettable 7-29-2 season, there were strong feelings of cautious optimism inside the BGSU Ice Arena this week.

Despite being predicted to finish last in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association, sixth-year coach Scott Paluch is looking forward to this winter. In the past, teams ranked last in the CCHA before the season, ended up vying for a playoff spot in February and March.

“[The ranking] doesn’t add up. We’re not concerned about paper rankings,” Paluch said. “We have some outstanding leadership in our upperclassmen, and our captains [seniors Michael Hodgson, John Mazzei, and Derek Whitmore] are doing an unbelievable job.”

Now we’ll break down each area of the team.


Derek Whitmore was one of BG’s better offensive players last season. He led the team with 19 goals, and is expected to increase his production as he did in each of his first three seasons.

“Obviously I have pretty high expectations for myself to produce even more and I know it’s not going to come easy. I’m going to have to work for it, but I’m definitely up for the challenge,” Whitmore said after a practice this week.

That challenge extends to other experienced Falcon point producers like Mazzei, Jon Erickson, Ben Geelan, and Brandon Svendsen, as well as underclassmen such as Tomas Petruska, Kai Kantola, and Todd McIlrath.

Top freshman recruit Jake Cepis will try and contribute to a BG offense that lacked greatly in many areas in ’06-07, along with fellow freshmen Dan Sexton and David Solway.

“They move well and they battle,” Paluch said of the freshmen.


Paluch spoke enthusiastically of his senior tri-captain, defenseman Michael Hodgson.

“We see him in that role against other teams’ top lines,” Paluch said. “He’s in the best shape of his life, as strong as he’s ever been, and really off to a tremendous start in the practices and intra-squad game. I think it’s all going to lead to a great final year for Hodgy.”

Hodgson will help anchor a potentially more physical blue line this winter.

“We’re trying to revamp our whole defensive side to be stronger on the puck,” senior Mike Nesdill said. “We have guys back there that can skate and move the puck well, so those are our strengths.”

Joining the two seniors will be juniors Tim Maxwell, Kevin Schmidt, and Russ Sinkewich. Sophomores Brian Moore, Kyle Page, and freshman Andrew Krelove are all expected to gain experience on defense.


Jimmy Spratt earned the team’s Most Improved Player award last year as a sophomore, but must find a solid level of consistency as a junior in 2007-08. Confidence usually comes only with experience, and this is certainly true for Spratt who started the majority of games in net last season for BG.

“Jimmy’s had very good second halves for two years now, but inconsistent first halves,” Coach Paluch said. “He’s been strong down the stretch for us and I think he’s as confident as he’s ever been.”

Should Spratt falter, there are solid backup options in sophomore Phil Greer and freshman Nick Eno, the latter of whom has already been selected in an NHL entry draft by the Buffalo Sabres.


The final piece to the Falcon hockey puzzle will hopefully come from behind the bench, as Scott Paluch recently assembled the first ever all-alumni coaching staff. Assistant coach Todd Reirden, a 1994 Bowling Green grad, joins Paluch (Class of ’88), assistant Doug Schueller (Class of ’01), and goaltending coach Tyler Masters (Class of ’03) to lead the Falcons through a tough CCHA schedule this winter.

“I love it. I think one of the most important ingredients of Bowling Green hockey has been the tradition,” Paluch said. “I feel great about the fact that there are four former Falcon players on the staff who are passionate and care about the program.”

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