For BG hockey team, the future is now

Sports Editor and Sports Editor

Two years ago when Chris Bergeron was first introduced as BG hockey coach, he said all the right things.

I vividly remember him talking about how the team will not only excel on the ice, but off of it as well. He came off as a fiery individual, one who would have no problem motivating young men to want to perform well.

Fast-forward to the present and everything he said two years ago has quickly come to fruition.

Things weren’t as bright during the regular season — which BG finished 10-23-5 and 11th out of 11 teams in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association. But boy have things changed in a hurry.

Six games, four wins and 10 Dan DeSalvo goals later, BG is heading to the CCHA semifinals at Joe Louis Arena for the first time since 2001.

It has never been a “wait ‘til next year” approach with Bergeron, but given the youth of this team, it had that sort of feel to it. However, that “wait ‘til next year” feel was rapidly accelerated.

The freshmen have grown up in a hurry. DeSalvo had four goals in the regular season. He scored 10 in six playoff games and has quickly become a household name. His line mates Adam Berkle and Ryan Carpenter have had huge postseasons.

BG now has four players with at least 20 points, the first time that has happened since the 2007-08 season. All four of those players — DeSalvo, Berkle, Carpenter and Cam Wojtala — all have at least two years of eligibility remaining.

Make no mistake about it; this team is set up incredibly well for the future. But, for the team, that future is now.

They aren’t afraid of anybody, and you can bet that no one wants to play them right now. The three teams remaining in the CCHA playoffs — Miami, Western Michigan and Michigan, BG’s Friday opponent — have all been defeated by the Falcons at least once already this year.

This season, BG scored 40 goals in 28 conference games. It has 22 goals in six playoff games.

The playoff series win against Northern Michigan wasn’t a huge shock — it also happened last year. But the win against Ferris State, the No. 1 seed in the CCHA Tournament and No. 2 team in the nation, was.

It showed the team’s heart and resiliency. After losing game two 7-4, BG fell behind 3-0 in the first period of game three. The Falcons fought back before a thrilling overtime conclusion.

No matter what happens this weekend in Detroit, the BG hockey team has proven a lot of doubters wrong. They’ve gone further in their conference tournament than both the men’s and women’s basketball teams, and undoubtedly earned a ton of respect throughout the conference.

And who knows, maybe these two guaranteed games this weekend won’t be the last two the Falcons will be playing this year. Crazier things have happened.