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April 18, 2024

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Spring Housing Guide

Icers host Michigan State

After being on the road for the past three weeks, the Bowling Green hockey team will return home tomorrow night to face Michigan State.

The Falcons come into this weekend after shutting out Nebraska-Omaha last Friday and then facing a tough 6-3 defeat on Saturday.

“Last week was a very positive weekend in a lot of ways. We held up real well in a difficult environment,” head coach Scott Paluch said. “For a majority of the weekend we did a lot of things necessary to give us a chance to win those games. We were able to come out with the win on Friday, and Saturday we continued to execute down the stretch, even when we were down.”

The Falcons are now 7-16-2 overall and 4-13-2 in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association.

“The two points on the road certainly move us ahead in a positive direction,” Paluch said.

“This was probably our best weekend on the road that we had all year,” assistant captain Kevin Bieksa said. “We played well as a team and did the things that we needed to do to win on the road. It was definitely a positive weekend. It gave us some confidence knowing that we can win on the road and in a hostile environment like Nebraska, which is probably one of the most difficult places to play.”

The Falcons scored four goals with the man advantage Friday, going 4-for-8 on the power play and preventing UNO from scoring on the power play (0-for-6).

On Saturday, BG continued to be strong on the power play going 1-for-6. Their penalty kill also remained strong, as Steve Brudzewski scored a short-handed goal.

“We had a great weekend out of our special teams, both our penalty kill and our power play had a tremendous weekend,” Paluch said. “We are going to spend a lot of time on that this weekend.”

The last time the Spartans entered BGSU Ice Arena, the Falcons earned their first home victory since Oct. 21, 1995, defeating MSU 3-2 in overtime.

“They are looking to come back here after the overtime loss and make amends for that,” Paluch said. “For ourselves we want to keep our momentum going forward and give ourselves a chance to sweep a very good opponent.”

Michigan State is 9-4-2 since the last time they faced the Falcons nearly three months ago.

“They’ve obviously improved a lot since that last game,” Bieksa said. “They were kind of on a low for their season. They’ve moved up in the standings.”

The Spartans are now fourth in the conference, while the Falcons sit in the 11th position.

Over the past six games, the Spartans have been converting 38.7 percent (12-of-31) with the man advantage.

“In this recent stretch their power play has been on fire,” Paluch said. “They have some terrific personnel to put on that power play: Jimmy Slater up front, John-Michael Liles and Brad Fast in the back. Those are guys that have played a lot of hockey for them and put up numbers for most of their careers.”

Liles and Slater scored the Spartans’ only two goals the last time they faced the Falcons.

Slater has recorded 1-7–8 totals in his last six games. Liles and Fast are also in the second phase of the voting for this year’s Hobey Baker Memorial Award (the Heisman Trophy of hockey).

Liles tied his career best with a three-point night (one goal and two assists) against Miami on Jan. 31. He currently has an eight- game point streak heading into tomorrow night’s game.

“John-Michael Liles is having an MVP type of year, a defensemen with 30 points, and playing extremely well at both ends of the ice,” Paluch said.

His 30 points ties him for sixth in the CCHA overall in scoring and puts him ahead of all CCHA blueliners.

“Matt Migliaccio in goal is really shutting teams down right now,” Paluch said.

He has posted a 7-1-1 mark in his last nine starts, along with a 1.77 goals-against average and a .941 saves percentage.

However, the Falcons will have one thing going for them and that is home ice advantage.

“We play very well at home,” Bieksa said. “We play our best hockey probably at home, so we have a lot of confidence coming into this game. We expect to win every game we play at home.”

Goaltender Jordan Sigalet is currently undefeated at home this season with a 3-0-2 record in five starts. He has a 2.11 goal- against average and a .942 save percentage at home, making 180 saves.

Sigalet also recorded his first career shutout against Nebraska-Omaha last weekend.

He leads the league with 35.36 saves per game overall and 35.5 saves per game in 12 CCHA contests.

“We want to get back to the home hockey that we had going before we left, that we were successful with finishing a lot of checks, moving our feet,” Paluch said. “The thing with Michigan State is that we have to make sure that we’re controlling their defensemen and not letting guys like Liles and Fast be trailers and be involved in the second wave of attack.”

“We need to stick to our game plan, finishing a lot of checks all over the ice, containing their defensemen and winning the special teams battle,” Bieksa said.

Besides being at home, tomorrow’s game will also be televised on Fox Sports Detroit. Face-off is set for 7:30 p.m.

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