Hockey drops both games in series

By Zane Miller and By Zane Miller

The Falcons hockey team was swept by the Northern Michigan Wildcats Friday and Saturday night, falling 3-0 on Friday and 2-0 on Saturday.

“We lost in special teams both nights,” Falcons Head Coach Chris Bergeron said. “Lost little things like faceoffs. We got killed tonight. Last night we were 54 percent, so not too bad… We’re going to win the battles tonight, we’re going to win the chances for versus chances against, I would think… so tonight I think is going to grade out okay. Last night was under 50 percent in terms of our overall process, and that’s not going to get you wins.”

Friday’s game started with a power play tally for Northern Michigan six minutes into the first period to take a 1-0 lead, then doubling the advantage when they scored again at the 11:18 mark. Northern Michigan held the 2-0 lead until they added an empty net goal with 52 seconds remaining in the third period to take the 3-0 victory.

The Falcons were able to get 35 shots on goal, but the team felt  they could have gotten more quality opportunities.

“We let him see a bunch of pucks,” Bergeron said. “Anybody at this level, when you see pucks you’re going to stop them. We knew he was a better goalie than what he showed in Marquette when we were up there earlier (this season)… you try to prepare your guys and you try to coach them and tell them to take his eyes away when you get to the net front, but we chose not to do that.”

After a scoreless first period, the scoring in Saturday’s game began with Northern Michigan making a shot at the 11:18 mark of the second period to take a 1-0 lead into the third period. Like the first period, the third was largely scoreless until Northern Michigan scored an empty net goal on the power play with one second remaining to seal the 2-0 victory.

The Falcons were able to get a total of 40 shots on net, which the team felt was enough to give themselves a chance to win, but were unable to take advantage.

“You can say not quite enough (chances) because we didn’t score, but I think we had plenty,” Bergeron said. “Plenty to give us the opportunity to score, plenty to give us the opportunity to tie the game, but I look at the too many men on the ice as my fault. But the goal that scored, I think that was a microcosm of our season. We don’t give (junior goaltender) Chris Nell a chance, we’ve got guys standing beside their guy, certain players can’t be on the ice. That to me is our season.”

The Falcons swept Northern Michigan on the road earlier in the season, but the team felt Northern Michigan improved a bit since then.

“What they’re doing a lot better to me is defending,” Bergeron said. “A lot of the chances we had were one and done, I thought, and not a second and third chance, which goes to defending, the other thing I think they are right now is more confident than they were when we were up there before, we were coming off a good weekend; I’m not sure what they were coming off of, but it had been a poor first half to that point for them, and now their second half has been much better. And that’s two sweeps in a row with Alaska Anchorage at home, and now us.”

The team will next play in a one-game interconference matchup at home on Saturday night against the Mercyhurst Lakers.