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Season Preview: Bowling Green

My choice for 11th in the CCHA is Bowling Green.

Projected Depth Chart:

LW Rich Meloche C Jonathan Matsumoto RW James Unger
LW Todd McIlrath C James Perkin RW Kai Kantola
LW Derek Whitmore C John Mazzei RW Brandon Svendsen
LW Ben Geelan C Jon Erickson RW Tommy Dee
LD Michael Hodgson RD Tim Maxwell G Phil Greer
LD Kevin Schmidt RD Mike Nesdill G Ed Neville
LD Jeremy Bronson RD Kyle Page G Jimmy Spratt

Strengths:

The Falcons aren’t without talent at forward. Jonathan Matsumoto scored 48 points last year, and Mike Hodgson is a decent playmaker at the point. Freshmen James Perkin and Todd McIlrath showed great promise when they were younger, but never developed into superstars in juniors. They’ve got talent though. Another freshmen, Kai Kantola, also shows a great deal of promise.

Weaknesses:

Goaltending was horrendously bad for the Falcons last season. After four seasons of Jordan Sigalet anchoring the Falcons with his stellar play, the job in goal was supposed to handed over to freshmen Jimmy Spratt. But Spratt struggled as a freshman, posting a 4.35 GAA and .850 SV%. Spratt ended up losing his job to back-up Jon Horrell.

The Falcons will also be a very young team this year, and probably don’t have the depth that the rest of the CCHA does.

Overall:

Much like Minnesota State, Bowling Green is bringing in a huge class of freshmen. There’s likely to be some growing pains for the Falcons this year since they should be facing tough teams every weekend in the extremely deep CCHA.

Jimmy Spratt will likely be better this year than he was last year, but it’s unlikely that he’ll make a huge jump to being an elite goalie.

Question Marks:

How much can Bowling Green’s huge freshmen class contribute right away for the Falcons? Will Jonathan Matsumoto be as effective after the departure of Alex Foster to the pros? How much better will Jimmy Spratt be this season?

Key Player:
Jimmy Spratt. Spratt will face a lot of shots this year, and if he’s only stopping 85% of them, it could be another ugly year for the Falcons. If he falters, freshman Ed Neville is waiting in the wings for his opportunity to earn the job.

Breakout Player: James Perkin. Perkin was once considered one of the top prospects in Alberta for his age group. He moved to the USHL last year, where he scored a respectable 46 points. Perkin should have the opportunity at Bowling Green to get lots of ice time and showcase his talent.

Did You Know?

Actor Tim Conway is an alumnus of BGSU

Mark Wells and Ken Morrow of Bowling Green were the only two players on the 1980 Miracle on Ice team that didn’t play in the WCHA or Hockey East.

Bowling Green is the only school in the country with a Popular Culture Department.

In the spirit of Title IX, Bowling Green has both a male and female mascot.

If You Go There:

You Have to Eat At:
Fricker’s is the most obvious choice, but I really don’t like that place, so I can’t recommend it. Dibenedetto’s looks to have a pretty nice menu if you’re into Italian food.

You Have to Visit:
I got nothing. There’s really not a lot to do there. Bowling Green is home to the National Tractor Pulling Championships every year though, if you happen to be there on the right weekend.