I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
And I know, too,
That the falcon is involved
In what I know.
Ice hockey is a game of irresistible beauty, combining the athletic with the aesthetic, power with form, brown with orange.
Ay, Ziggy Zoomba.
As one of the CCHA’s two resident enigmas, the Bowling Green Falcons have yet to project a definite team persona. Yes, the Falcons play hard, and goaltender Tyler Masters has emerged as a netminder who can give the team a chance to be in every game, but Bowling Green has yet to establish itself as a team that can rise above the middle of the pack.
“We had a great run at the end of last year and we’re looking to capitalize on that as we head into this new season,” says Buddy Powers. “In the league, as I said before, every night the games are close. There are a awful lot of one-goal hockey games and if you can win those one-goal games you’re going to have yourself a pretty darn good season.”
After posting a 4-10-3 record through the first half of the 2000-01 season, the Falcons rebounded through the home stretch, finishing the second half with a solid 12-9-1 mark January through March.
The Big Sweep
During that second half, Bowling Green learned not only how to win, but how to win on back-to-back nights, sweeping Princeton, Rensselaer, Lake Superior, Ferris State, and Miami in two-game series; Princeton and Miami were road wins.
One factor that contributed to that turnaround was better defense in the second half, when the Falcons reduced opponent shots on goal. Masters, who saw more shots than any other goalie in the league last year (28.61 per game), earned his .922 save percentage. As the 2000- 01 season progressed, the BG penalty kill improved to .848, and a few players climbed out of the plus/minus deficit.
— Buddy Powers, on the tightness of the CCHA.
The Falcons will miss the defense and leadership of Doug Schueller, a senior who preached the never-say-die work ethic of the BG squad. It’s up to returning blueliners Marc Barlow, Kevin Bieska, and Grady Moore to help the team build on that momentum from the end of last season.
And it wouldn’t hurt for Bieska to stay out of the penalty box.
The Multifactorial Falcons
Bowling Green returns its top scorer in senior Greg Day, who last year realized his potential with 20 goals and 27 assists. Fellow senior Scott Hewson (9-20-29) was the third-leading Falcon scorer last season. Sophomores D’Arcy McConvey and Roger Leonard are also expected to contribute to the Bowling Green attack.
While the Falcons were a respectable fifth in the league in goals allowed per game (2.75), Bowling Green had a tough time putting the biscuit in the proverbial basket, averaging 2.67 goals per contest, the eighth-highest scoring team in the CCHA.
Powers knows of which he speaks when he mentions the one-goal games; of their nine second-half losses last season, five were decided by just one goal.
When Buddy Powers says, “I think on any night anybody can beat anybody,” he’s not just spouting a favorite CCHA cliche – that first “anybody” is Bowling Green, and that second “anybody” is, well, everybody else.
To Have and Have More
With Bowling Green, it’s not a matter of discipline, not a matter of desire, not a matter of focus. Only consistency and making the most of the talent they have will help the Falcons fly out of the CCHA’s bottom tier.
Score more goals. Stay out of the box. Have some fun.