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September 29, 2023

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Falcons travel to Final Five

The Falcon hockey team will face Minnesota State in the semi-final round of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Final Five on Friday.

The game will start at 2:07 p.m. at the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Mich.

The winner of that game will then play Saturday night at 7:07 p.m. in the conference championship game against the winner of the other semifinal game between Ferris State and Alaska-Anchorage.

BG will enter the tournament as a three seed and will put their five-game winning streak on the line against second-seeded Minnesota State. The Minnesota State Mavericks have a 24-13-1 overall record, and currently have an 11 game unbeaten streak. The Falcons are 18-14-6 and swept the Michigan Tech Huskies last weekend at the Ice Arena.

“We’re playing a decent game right now, we’re going to need to be successful on Friday,” BG head coach Chris Bergeron said.

The semi-final matchup between the Falcons and Mavericks will be the ninth time these two teams will meet. The Mavericks are 5-2-1 all-time against the Falcons. The two teams split their final regular-season series at the Ice Arena last November, and are an even 2-2 against each other this season. The Falcons defeated Minnesota State on the road on Nov. 8 to give the Mavericks their only home loss of the entire 2013-14 season.

“We’ve developed a little bit of a rivalry,” Bergeron said. “The players got a little crusty with each other on the ice and that’s a good thing. It made for close games. For two teams that don’t have a history in terms of a rivalry, we developed one in a real short period of time which is outstanding as we move forward in this league.”

Sophomore forward Mark Cooper’s three goals on Nov. 22 at the Ice Arena gave the Falcons their second victory over Minnesota State on the year. Cooper’s game-winning goal in overtime gave the forward his first collegiate hat trick.

With a WCHA quarter-finals sweep last weekend at home against Michigan Tech, the Falcons have now won a league playoff series for the fourth consecutive year. The Falcons have won five playoff series in four years. This is the first time the Falcons have swept a series during that span.

Forwards Ryan Carpenter, Dan DeSalvo and Bryce Williamson combined for a total of 11 points in the first round of the WCHA Playoffs. All three of these skaters have now totaled over 70 points in their collegiate careers.

“We’re going out there with a lot of confidence,” BG forward Adam Berkle said. “We expect to score.”

Forward Dan DeSalvo recorded three assists in the series clinching 5-2 victory over Michigan Tech on Saturday night. DeSalvo now has passed the 80 point mark for his career in his junior year.

Sophomore goaltender Tommy Burke started both games for the Falcons last weekend. Burke shutout the Huskies for four periods, making 52-of-55 saves in the series and a .945 save percentage. Overall, Burke has gone 14-6-6 with a 2.41 goals-against average and a .912 save percentage in 27 games this season.

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