Hockey gets underway

Kevin Shields and Kevin Shields

The Bowling Green hockey team will finally take to the ice against some competition following two weeks of playing against themselves.

The team will entertain the University of Windsor tonight at the BG Ice Arena in the season’s only exhibition match.

“A lot of us are getting real sick of seeing each other line-up across the ice and knocking the heck out of a teammate,” junior forward Mike Falk said. “We know we got a tough match in Windsor. They’ve played a tough schedule, playing Denver, Colorado College, Michigan and teams like that. So we’re just excited about the challenge ahead of us.”

“It’s a chance for us to jump into a game situation after having 11 practices,” head coach Scott Paluch said. “I think everyday since we’ve started our practice season we’ve just been improving everyday and learning a lot of things. Now we get that in a game situation against Windsor.”

The Lancers will come into tonight’s game having dropped their first five games of the season. However, they dropped those games to major Division 1 hockey teams.

They started with a 12-1 loss at Michigan, before losing to Miami, defending national champion Denver, Colorado College and Air Force.

“They got five U.S. college games under their belt already,” Paluch said. “They’ve played five games and have steadily played very well against those teams.”

Even though the game is considered an exhibition match and won’t count towards the Falcons’ record, the goal is to still come out approaching the game as a regular season game. “Anytime we get an opportunity to play a game, we want that competitive nature there and we want to win the hockey game, Paluch said.”

The Falcons are entering tonight after playing the annual Falcon Face-off last Saturday.

It was a game that saw Team Orange and Team White battle into overtime after two 23-minute periods.

Freshman forward Derek Whitmore finally beat Bob Frazee on a one-timer from Bryan Dobek to give Team Orange a 5-4 win.

Freshmen filled-up the scoring charts on both sides.

Seven goals were scored in the game and five of them had freshmen involved. The other two goals were given to the teams following wins in the skills competition at intermission.

Freshmen John Mazzei and Alex Foster recorded goals in the game. While Michael Hodgson and Mazzei got credited for assists.

The upperclassmen also got involved in the play and had some good-looking goals.

Brett Pilkington, James Unger, Ryan Minnabarriet and Falk recorded goals in the game.

All the goalies saw action in the game as Jordan Sigalet, Frazee, Keith Van Gels and Jon Horrell all played one period. Coach Paluch would like to see all the goalies get playing time once again in tonight’s game.

“Jordan will start the game, but we’d like to get the opportunity to see all the goalies,” Paluch said. “We’ll make that decision though while the game is going on.”

The latest USCHO online poll has the Falcons tied for the 25th heading into the weekend. A place the team hasn’t found themselves in for awhile now.

“It’s nice to get the recognition, but now we need the hard work with that and practice to solidify that and keep moving up,” Paluch said. “There’s no question that we’ve made a lot of strides in my two seasons. I think we’re a much better hockey team in a lot of areas and now it’s up to us to take the next step and improve even more and be a better hockey team than we have been the last two years.”

Falk, who scored a goal in the game last Saturday, has also noticed a big change in the team. “There’s definitely a new buzz around the locker-room, I haven’t experienced it yet in my three years,” Falk said. “The excitement that is in around this team and what we can accomplish this year is amazing. Everyone is more upbeat, there’s more intensity and the atmosphere around the locker-room with everybody smiling just knowing what we can accomplish is much better.”

The Falcons and Lancers will face-off tonight at 7:05 p.m. Regular season games begin next week when the Falcons head to Union for a two-game series.