Ben Murphy
Todd Pavlack /

Ice Hockey by Jason Knavel, Assistant Athletic Director for Athletic Communications

No. 8 Falcons Welcome Northern Michigan To The Madhouse On Mercer

(18-7-5, 14-5-3 WCHA)
(11-13-6, 8-10-4 WCHA)

Friday, Feb. 20 | 7:07 p.m. ET | BGSU Ice Arena
Radio:88.1 FM WBGU (Evan Pivnick)
Faculty/Staff Night
Bleacher Creature Day

Saturday, Feb. 21 | 7:07 p.m. ET | BGSU Ice Arena
Radio: 88.1 FM WBGU (Evan Pivnick) / Television: BCSN (Greg Franke/Scott Paluch)
Faith and Family Night
Roll Up The Rim To Win
GAME NOTES (.PDF) | Live Stats | Video (WCHA.TV)
Follow Along: @BGFalconHockey | @BGAthletics
Falcon Weekly w/Chris Bergeron and Evan Pivnick (Audio Only)

Weekend Highlights

13ABC Feature On BGSU Hockey

35776On Tap
Bowling Green and Northern Michigan meet for the second weekend this year, battling in the BGSU Ice Arena Friday and Saturday. BGSU earned a split at Ferris State last weekend and needs just a tie this weekend to clinch home ice for the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) Tournament first round. The Orange and Brown will look to rebound as they have so well all year, going 5-0-1 after a loss in 2014-15. The Falcons have some breathing room in third place in the league standings with 31 points. Alaska, which is ineligible for the WCHA Tournament, is nine points behind and both Bemidji State and Northern Michigan are two points behind Alaska. A strong weekend could help the Falcons close the gap on Michigan Tech (39 points) for second in the conference. Meanwhile, Northern Michigan enters the weekend on a four-game losing streak, having been outscored 15-5 during the stretch.

About Northern Michigan
Northern Michigan enters the weekend in a bit of a slump, having lost its last four games and going 2-7-1 over the past 10 contests. The Wildcats opened WCHA play with four wins in their first five contests but are now just 8-10-4 in league play (11-13-6 overall). The Wildcats thrive on special teams and are ranked seventh in the country in combined special teams percentage. Northern Michigan is sparked by the 15th-best penalty kill in the country at 86.1 percent. Despite the strong special teams, NMU is just 45th (out of 59 teams) nationally in scoring offense at 2.30 goals per game. Sophomore goalie Mathis Dahlstrom has been solid in net, ranking 23rd in the country with a .924 save percentage and 2.18 goals allowed to go with four shutouts.

The Series
Bowling Green holds a slim 41-38-8 record all-time against Northern Michigan and that includes a mark of 4-1-1 in the past six contests. Although BGSU is 21-13-3 all-time against the Wildcats in the BGSU Ice Arena, Northern Michigan has three wins and a tie in the last four contests in Bowling Green. This year, the two teams played a wild 5-5 tie in Marquette, Mich. before the Falcons rebounded with a 5-0 win behind a shutout from Chris Nell and a pair of goals each from Pierre-Luc Mercier and Ben Murphy.

Last Weekend
BGSU closed out a four-game set against defending WCHA regular season champions Ferris State with a split in Big Rapids, Mich. The Falcons got goals from four different players Friday night and cruised to a 4-1 victory, but Ferris State answered Saturday with a 3-2 overtime win. In the series finale, the Bulldogs jumped out to a 2-0 first-period lead but Bowling Green eventually tied the score late in the third. Ferris scored the game-winner with just 72 seconds remaining in the overtime session. Matt Pohlkamp had a goal and an assist and was a +3 on the weekend, adding a team-high six blocks. Tommy Burke earned the win between the pipes, tying a career-high with 43 saves Friday night.

What They Are Saying
"I really feel that Northern's really good on the road. This is going to be a tough series. They are a desperate team playing for playoff positioning. It's going to be a battle. They are a team that will fight you for it every night." -- BGSU Head Coach Chris Bergeron

Rising In The Polls
BGSU will enter the weekend eighth in the USCHO poll, earning a top 10 spot in the rankings for the sixth consecutive week. The Falcons entered the poll at No. 19 in the country on Nov. 10 and increased their vote count for 13 straight polls. BGSU peaked as high as No. 6 (on Jan. 19 and Jan. 26). The Falcons are one of three Western Collegiate Hockey League (WCHA) teams that earned a spot in the Top 20, as Minnesota State is No. 2, while Michigan Tech is No. 4.

USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Poll
Much like the poll, the Falcons have spent six consecutive weeks in the top 10 of the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll. BGSU is ranked No. 8 in the country this week, peaking at No. 6 on both Jan. 19 and 26. Bowling Green entered the poll at No. 15 on Nov. 24 and has not dropped out since.

Highest Ranking EVER
#FalconHockey's 18-7-5 start marks the best start to a season since 1986-87. However, that's not the only historic fact coming away with their tremendous start. Bowling Green jumped as high as No.6 in the poll this season, marking the highest ranking for the Orange and Brown since the poll began in 1997. In fact, the team increased its vote total for 13 consecutive weeks to start the season. BGSU entered the poll at No. 19 on Nov. 10 and have made a steady climb up the poll as the year has progressed.

With Falcon Hockey's steady improvement over the course of the season, the BGSU Ice Arena has seen an increase in fans at home games. Three of the last six home games have seen attendances over 3,200 and the BGSU Ice Arena is averaging 2,876 fans per game this year, an increase of more than 800 fans per game over last year's 2,022 average. The most memorable crowd this season, and now in program's history, was a record-breaking attendance of 5,353 vs. Ohio State on November 14.

Team Success
Amazingly, BGSU does not have a single Falcon among the top 100 point scorers in the country despite having the 15th-best offense in the nation. The Falcons, though, boast impressive depth as 12 players have at least 10 points (only Michigan, Michigan Tech, North Dakota and UMass Lowell have more) and 20 have scored at least one goal. BGSU is one of three teams (along with St. Lawrence and Yale) to have a winning record but not a single player with 22 points or more on the year.

18 Wins
After the Falcons earned a weekend split at Ferris State, the Orange and Brown picked up its 18th win of the season in just 30 contests. The last time Bowling Green won 18 of its first 30 games was back in 1995-96.

Super Saturday
With a loss at Ferris State Saturday, BGSU Hockey had a 16-game unbeaten streak snapped on Saturdays. The Falcons are 10-1-3 this year on Saturday, outscoring opponents 47-27 in those contests. The Falcons are also 7-5-3 on Fridays and 0-1 on Sundays this year.

Road Warriors
BGSU is 10-4-4 away from the BGSU Ice Arena this year (including a tie at Fifth Third Field in Toledo). The Falcons last won ten road games in a single season in 1995-96 when the Falcons when 11 outside of Bowing Green.

Back-to-Back Burke
Junior goaltender Tommy Burke played in each of the first three games of a four-game set against Ferris State over the past two weekends. It was just the second time this year that the Falcons used the same goaltender on back-to-back nights. Burke also played back-to-back in a sweep at Alaska, making the Falcons 4-0 on weekends with a single goaltender. Dating back to last year, the Falcons have swept four consecutive series' when playing just one goaltender.

Falcons On The PK
By killing off 7-of-8 power play opportunities over the past weekend at Ferris State, the Falcons remain the nation's best unit at 92.7 percent. Since Nov. 8, BGSU has killed off 86-of-91 power play opportunities (94.5 percent). In fact, BGSU has added two short-handed tallies during that stretch.

Special Teams Shining
The Falcons lead the nation on the penalty kill this season, going 115-of-124 (92.7 percent) on the season. That has helped the Falcons to rank fourth in the country on combined special teams at 54.1 percent. In all, Bowling Green is 132-of-244 on the power play/penalty kill.

Power Play Ready To Break Free
For much of the year, Bowling Green's power play has been steady, but over the past three weeks, the Falcons have struggled. BGSU is scoreless on their last 26 power play opportunities since scoring a first-period goal against Lake Superior State on Jan. 24.

Comeback Kids
BGSU came from behind to win each of the team's last two home games and the Falcons have now won four times this year after trailing.

Defense Stood Tall
BGSU's 2-1 win against Ferris State on Feb. 6 was the first time this year that the Falcons have won a game in which it scored two or fewer goals. The Falcons are just 1-6-3 in such contests this year. The last time BGSU had won a contest in that situation was a 2-1 victory over Michigan Tech in game one of last year's WCHA Tournament first round.

When Ben Murphy and Pierre-Luc Mercier scored just 80 seconds apart in the third period on Feb. 7 against Ferris State, it was the eighth time this year that the Falcons have scored twice in less than two minutes. The Falcons scored just 20 seconds apart on Jan. 17 against Michigan Tech, which were the final two goals in a Falcon flurry that accounted for three goals over 1:55. BGSU also scored twice in just 24 seconds against Alaska on Jan. 10. The pair of goals against Ferris State was the fourth-fastest this year.

Falcon Freshmen
When Braden Pears made his collegiate debut Saturday at Ferris State, he became the tenth freshman this year to see action for the Falcons (nine true freshmen and redshirt freshman Nolan Valleau). Among the top 50 freshmen point scorers in the country, the Falcons have accounted for three of the spots with Brandon Hawkins leading the way in 20th with 21 points. As well, freshman goalie Chris Nell is 12th in the country with a 1.97 goals against average. In total, BGSU's freshmen have accounted for most assists and points of any class on the team.

Nell's Historic Start
Freshman netminder Chris Nell has been a shot in the arm to the defense and goaltending this year. Nell ranks among the top 18 goalies in the country in four key statistics this year, led by a ranking of No. 11 in the nation in save percentage at .930.

The season, fans of the WCHA can watch more than 180 games of its games live and in high definition thanks to Powered by America One Sports and on the platform enables fans to watch all 10 conference teams in action throughout the season. Every league game will be streamed live, along with each team's non-conference home contests, the league's postseason and the WCHA Final Five. With, fans can follow their team wherever they are. Each game will be available on multiple platforms, including traditional web browsers on PCs, tablets and mobile phones using the iOS and Android platforms.

#FalconHockey/Social Media
The Bowling Green Falcons hockey team is on Twitter and Instagram. You can follow along all season long by following the Falcons on Twitter @BGFalconHockey. The Orange and Brown use their official hashtags FalconHockey and WeAreBG throughout the entire season. You can also follow the Falcons' Instagram account, BGFalcons.

Evan Pivnick "The Voice" On The Mic
All games this season can be heard on the radio by tuning into 88.1 WBGU-FM. Evan Pivnick will provide the play-by-play commentary throughout the season. The pregame show will air 30 minutes prior to the opening face-off. The broadcast can be heard globally on

Live stats for all BGSU home games are available on the BGSU website- - via Live Scoring.  The stats can be accessed from the schedule page in the hockey section of the website by clicking on the "details" icon on the right hand side of the page, then by clicking "live scoring".
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