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April 18, 2024

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Falcons do battle with MSU

After having an exhibition game in the middle of the season, the Bowling Green hockey team will return to Central Collegiate Hockey Association action tonight against another rivalry team.

The Falcons (2-8-1 overall, 0-7-1 CCHA) will do battle with Michigan State University (5-5-0 overall, 3-3-0 CCHA) at BGSU Ice Arena.

BG is coming off a 7-1 victory over the U.S. National Team Development Program Under-18 squad.

“Last week’s game was important for a lot of reasons, ” said head coach Scott Paluch. “We were coming off the weekend with Michigan where we had a lot of positives. We wanted to make sure we kept our momentum heading in the right direction. We came out with the necessary focus we’re going to need to win a lot of hockey games.”

The Flacons exploded on offense in the first period scoring five goals. Both Mark Wires and D’Arcy McConvey had three points in the first period.

“We did a great job creating scoring chances,” Paluch said. “We got a lot of pucks at the net. We stormed the goalie, especially early in the game. The thing we certainly have to learn from that game is we took far too many penalties.”

The Falcons took 11 penalties for a total of 22 minutes in the box, but only allowed one short-handed goal.

Despite all the time the Falcons spent in the penalty box they still had time to work on their skills.

“Mainly we tried to work on our little things, not so much scoring, more like offensive zone stuff and defensive zone stuff,” said Ryan Minnabarriet. “We were just making sure we were flawless in those areas.

“I thought last weekend was a pretty big boost for us. We hadn’t won a game in a while. The offensive explosion we had was pretty nice. It’s good to get seven up on there. We hadn’t had seven in a while.”

Bob Frazee also had his first chance of his collegiate career in net during the third period of last Friday night’s game. He stopped seven shots and did not allow any goals.

“I thought he played well,” Paluch said. “Bobby, when he got in there in the third period, was very strong. We’re very proud of him. … Bobby has been playing very well in practice and working real hard. We have a trio of goaltenders that, in practice, work very hard and make our shooters better by being very strong.”

BG is hoping that this strength and the momentum from last weekend’s win will carry over into tonight’s game against MSU.

“A Michigan State game is always a big game for us,” Paluch said. “We’re not fooled at all by their last two weekends. We know they are a very good hockey club. They were a team that was picked second in our league for very good reason. There’s no question in our mind that they’re going to be a team that’s going to be battling for the title at the end of the year.”

The Spartans are looking to take revenge after losing a two-game series against Ohio State last weekend (5-2, 4-1) as they will bring a talented club to BGSU Ice Arena.

“They are very skilled, especially on the blue line,” Paluch said.

“They have three very talented defensemen from an offensive standpoint. Duncan Keith, Brad Fast and Michael Liles, those are three very skilled defensemen. Jimmy Slater, upfront, is as talented a player as there is in the conference.”

Slater recorded a goal for the Spartans Friday night, but that did little damage to the Buckeyes who came away with a 5-2 victory.

The last time the Falcons played the Spartans was last year at Munn Ice Arena in East Lansing, Mich. for the first-round of the CCHA Playoffs.

The Falcons had a 3-1 lead heading into the third period, but the Spartans weren’t about to go down without a fight. MSU scored two goals to send the game into overtime, while the Spartans came away with a 4-3 victory.

The next night the Spartans came out on top of their game. Before the Falcons knew it they were down 4-0, but BG scored two goals in the last period for a final score of 4-2.

“It’s a little bit like Michigan in that this has been a rivalry that’s been going on for a long, long time,” Paluch said. “There have been a lot of classic Bowling Green Michigan State games well back into the early 80s and right on through. … We haven’t had much success against them recently. They’ve had some very good hockey teams. … This year is no different. They have a very talented club. Now it’s up to us to raise the bar here and get some wins against them.”

“I think it will be big for us,” Minnabarriet said. “Just like every game, we have the feeling that we’re competitive and we can beat just about any team. It just hasn’t come together so far. I think this weekend is even more important because of the game that we had against Michigan where we tied them. I think we played unbelievable that game.”

Tonight’s Faceoff is set for 7:05 at BGSU Ice Arena.

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