BG icers ready to avenge losses

Erica Gambaccini and Erica Gambaccini

One great weekend can really change the course of a team and this is that weekend for the Bowling Green hockey team.

The Falcons will face Notre Dame tonight and tomorrow night at the BGSU Ice Arena.

The Fighting Irish are just in front of the Falcons in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association with a 7-10-3 record, while BG is 4-14-2 in the conference.

“It’s a team that we see directly ahead of us in the standings and with the four points available they are big points,” head coach Scott Paluch said. “If we are able to have some success we will certainly really close the gap on them and have the opportunity to catch them as the season winds down.”

If the Falcons win this weekend it will put them one and a half games behind Notre Dame.

“We are going to try to have a really good week of practice to prepare ourselves for a different team,” assistant captain Kevin Bieksa said. “Notre Dame is going to be huge for us because it’s an eight point weekend. They are the closest team to us that we want to catch. If we take two instead of them, then we are right behind them.”

The Fighting Irish are on a nine game winless streak and coming off a tie and a loss to Ohio State (Jan. 31-Feb. 1).

“They are a team that hasn’t had a lot of success recently, but they are a team that has a lot of weapons,” Paluch said. “Rob Globke is as good of a goal scorer as their is in the league, Brett Lebda, from the defensive position, really throws a great element in there, and then Morgan Cey, as a goaltender, has been very good for them for his first two years of college hockey.”

Globke comes into this weekend tied for fifth among CCHA goal scorers. He has career-highs in goals (18), assists (12), points (30) and game-winning goals (3) this year.

“If you’re going to be successful against a player like Rob Globke, or anybody who’s having success as he is, you have to be aware of him when he’s out there, you have to play physical against him, playing the body on skilled players like that is certainly the best remedy,” Paluch said.

The Falcons are also going to have to find ways to get the puck past Cey.

The last time these two teams faced off was in South Bend Dec. 7-8. Notre Dame swept the two-game series, 6-3 and 5-2. “We were able to have a little bit of success against Morgan [Cey] in the first series by getting a lot of pucks to the net,” Paluch said.

“We had as good of an offensive output in terms of the number of chances last time against Notre Dame. We need to continue that to give ourselves a chance, which means getting a lot of people in front of him, a lot of traffic and a lot of pucks to the net.” However, getting a lot of pucks at the net won’t ensure a Falcon victory. BG outshot Notre Dame 49-45 on Dec. 8 and still lost the game.

This time the Falcons have the upper hand being at home and playing in front of their own crowd.

“I think the biggest thing is to focus on getting off to a good start at home and not turning the puck over and allowing ourselves to do the things that makes us successful: get the puck in deep, finish checks, create that contact so that there are loose pucks available for us,” Paluch said. “If were are able to put some pressure on their defensemen to create some turnovers we have a much better chance of being successful.”

Notre Dame is 0-6-3 in their last nine games and were off last weekend, so they will be looking to turn their season around. “They are a team that is looking to regain some momentum and some points,” Paluch said. “Then, with us coming off of last weekend, we want to reestablish ourselves at home and start playing well at home again.”

The Falcons are 3-6-1 in their last 10 home games versus the Fighting Irish, but they lead the overall series at home 19-10-1.

“We definitely expect to take two games out of them, especially in our rink where we play our best hockey,” Bieksa said. “They are a very skilled team, but we feel that we match up good against them and we think that they are definitely a team that we think we can get two wins out of if we play our hockey.”