Bowling Green Falcons men's ice hockey
The Bowling Green Falcons ice hockey team is the ice hockey team that represents Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio. The school's team competes in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. The Falcons last played in the NCAA Men's Division I Ice Hockey Tournament in 2019. The Falcons have won one NCAA Division I championship, coming in 1984, defeating the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs in the longest championship game in the tournament's history.
|Bowling Green Falcons|
|University||Bowling Green State University|
|Head coach||Ty Eigner|
|Arena||Slater Family Ice Arena|
Surface: 200' x 85'
|Location||Bowling Green, Ohio|
|Colors||Brown and Orange|
|NCAA Tournament championships|
|NCAA Tournament Frozen Four|
|NCAA Tournament appearances|
|1977, 1978, 1979, 1982, 1984, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 2019|
|Conference Tournament championships|
|CCHA: 1973, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1988|
|Conference regular season championships|
|CCHA: 1976, 1978, 1979, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1987|
Ice hockey at Bowling Green has existed since the early 1960s in club form. It wasn't until the late 1960s that the university took interest in adding men's ice hockey to its list of varsity sports. Jack Vivian took over the program in the 1966. and in the University opened the BGSU Ice Arena in 1967 and Vivian guided the program into the NCAA in 1969. The team joined the Midwest Collegiate Hockey Association (MCHA) for the 1969-70 season and in its first season in the conference, the Falcons finished 1st in the regular season with a record of 13-12-5.
The team continued that initial success into the 1970-71 season. BG again took first place in the MCHA regular season with a record of 18-12-1. Vivian was a key figure in creating the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) and in 1971 Bowling Green joined as a charter member. In their first season in the CCHA Bowling Green finished with a record of 21-10-2. BG lost to Saint Louis University 5-6 in overtime in the CCHA Semifinal game and beat Ohio University 6-5 in OT in the Third Place Game.
Despite a sub .500 record in the 1972-73 season the Falcons won 6-5 in overtime over St. Louis in a rematch of the 1972 Semifinal game and beat Ohio State 8-1 to win BGSU's first CCHA Tournament Championship and Jack Vivian's first and only CCHA Championship. Following the 1972-73 season Vivian left to become the General Manager and coach of the Cleveland Crusaders (WHA).
Rise to a national powerhouseEdit
Ron Mason took over as head coach of the Falcons for the 1973-74 season after coaching from 1966-73 at Lake Superior State where he led the Lakers five NAIA Tournament appearances, three straight runner-up spots from 1968–70 and an NAIA Championship in 1972.
With Mason behind the bench BG won their second CCHA Tournament Championship with a 5-4 victory over St. Louis University. The win gave the Falcons their first bid to the NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Tournament in 1977. Bowling Green State lost in their first NCAA Tournament appearance in a high scoring game, 5-7 to Michigan.
BG continued where they left off the season before and claimed another CCHA Regular Season Championship. The Falcons picked up wins over Ohio State and Saint Louis University to win the CCHA Playoff Championship. This gave Bowling Green their second ever and second straight NCAA Tournament appearance. BG won 5-3 over Colorado College for the program's first NCAA post season win. With the win over CC BG advanced to the Frozen Four for the first time. Bowling Green fell to Boston College 2-6. The Falcons came back in the Third Place Game with a 4-3 win over the Wisconsin Badgers. The following season, in 1978-79, Bowling Green again claimed first place in the CCHA regular season and CCHA playoffs after wins from Lake Superior State and Ohio State. BG advanced to the third consecutive NCAA tournament in 1979 under Mason. Their season was ended by Minnesota 3-6. Bowling Green finished the 1978-79 season with a record of 37-6-2, to date, the most wins in school history and then an NCAA record 37 wins.
The 1979-80 season saw the second coaching change in the program's history after Mason left to coach Michigan State. Bowling Green hired Jerry York, formerly head coach of the Clarkson Golden Knights since 1972.
The Falcons continued their winning ways and BGSU won the CCHA Regular Season Championship the third season with York as head coach. After a 5-8 loss in the CCHA semi-final game to Notre Dame BG took third place in the CCHA playoffs after a 2-1 win over Michigan Tech. Bowling Green received an at-large bid to the 1982 NCAA Tournament but lost 4-5 in OT to Northeastern.
The 1983-84 season was one of the most historic seasons in Bowling Green Hockey history. BGSU finished first place in the CCHA regular season for the third straight season but fell in the CCHA Playoffs in the CCHA Semifinals, 3-4 in the second overtime to Western Michigan. Despite the loss, Bowling Green received an at-large bid to the 1984 NCAA Tournament. The Falcons won the opening round series in overtime to Boston University The Falcons then won 2-1 over Michigan State in the Frozen Four. The win over the Spartans set up a Championship game in the Herb Brooks Arena located in Lake Placid, New York, site of the Miracle on Ice during the 1980 Winter Olympics, against Minnesota–Duluth. The game was tied at 4 after regulation and went into overtime. Bowling Green won in the fourth overtime from a goal by Gino Cavallini 7:11 into the fourth overtime, also the at 97:11 mark of total game time, it stands today as one of the longest games in Division I hockey history and the longest NCAA DI Men's Ice Hockey Championship Game.
The Falcons finished high in the CCHA standings during the following season, including first place in the regular season during the 1986-87 season and a CCHA Playoff Championship in the 1987-88 season. The team qualified for the NCAA Tournament four straight seasons from 1987–1990, a program high for consecutive appearances.
Falling into the shadowsEdit
BG failed to qualify for the NCAA post season from 1991–94 and finished with a winning record only once, with a record of 19-17-2 (.526 pct.) in 1993-94. Following the 1993-94 season York accepted a head coaching position at his alma mater Boston College. Buddy Powers was appointed the head coach at Bowling Green on July 12, 1994, becoming the fourth head coach in the program's history. He had previously served as the head coach at the Rochester Institute of Technology (DIII) and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Powers had also served as an assistant coach, chief recruiter, and on-ice instructor for BGSU under York from 1982-88. During the time the Falcons had a record of 174-74-8 (.695 pct.), including 129-50-8 (.710 pct.) in league play and finished either first or second in the CCHA on five occasions.
Powers lead the Falcons to a 25-11-2 record and a second-place finish in the CCHA during the 1994-95 campaign. It marked their best finish in the league in eight years. He was named the CCHA's Coach of the Year and was a finalist for the Spencer Penrose Award presented annually to the nation's top head coach. Also that year, Brian Holzinger was named CCHA player of the Year. Holzinger won the NCAA All-American Award in ice hockey along with Kelly Perrault. Holzinger became BGSU's second Hobey Baker Award winner, the other being George McPhee in 1982 during Powers' first season as BGSU's assistant coach.
Although the first half of his time as BGSU's head coach was strong, the lack of top players coming to BGSU affected his overall record; Powers finished with losing records in his last five seasons. Over eight seasons as BGSU's head coach, Powers has compiled a 135-149-26 record at Bowling Green. Powers left in 2002 and eventually became the ice arena director at BG until taking an assistant coaching position in 2009 with his alma mater, Boston University.
Scott Paluch became the fifth coach in program history starting in the 2002-03 season. The change of coaching staff didn't do the program any better as the trend of sub-.500 seasons continued. Paluch's best season came in 2007-08 when he led the Falcons to their first CCHA post season win in seven years during the 2007-08 season when the Falcons picked up a 4-3 win over Lake Superior State on March 7, 2008. The game marked the first CCHA playoff win since 2001 Bowling Green defeated Northern Michigan 2-1 in overtime. The win over Lake Superior in 2008 also marked the first playoff win at home since 1995 against Notre Dame. CCHA Quarterfinal round in the 2007-08 season. Lake Superior rebounded the next night with a 6-1 win to tie the best-of-three series at 1 game each. Bowling Green finished the Lakers off in the third game after being down 1-3 early in the second period. The Falcons push with a second period goal by Derek Whitmore and a late goal by Todd McIlrath to tie the game with three minutes left in the third period by was capped off 1:34 into overtime when Freshman Jacob Cepis found the back of the LSSU net.
Bowling Green would fall in their first CCHA quarterfinal match up since 2001 at Miami two games to none. The RedHawks would go on to the 2008 NCAA Tournament, losing in the Quarterfinals to the eventual National Champion, Boston College.
By late 2008 and early 2009, after years of low rankings in the CCHA and NCAA, lack of post season success, an aging arena desperate for renovations and the program's lack of top players, rumors that the university was investigating canceling hockey as a varsity sport in efforts to cut budget losses were confirmed to be among a number of options. The news shocked both the BGSU and college hockey communities. College hockey had already been hit by a number of folding varsity hockey programs in the previous decade, including nearby Findlay. But unlike some of the smaller programs to be discontinued, Bowling Green was close to becoming the first NCAA Championship-winning hockey program to be eliminated.
The Falcons hadn't had a winning season since 1996-97, and had had only one .500 season during that stretch. Soon after the rumors began, program alumni, Falcon hockey fans in the form of university alumni and current students, BGSU figure skating alumni and various other users of the BGSU Ice Arena began grassroots efforts to save the program. A program, that eventually transformed with the university's help into the Bring Back the Glory Campaign, began to raise money for ice arena renovations, hockey scholarship endowments and other funds. Leaders of the Campaign included notable alumni Rob Blake, Garry Galley, Alissa Czisny, Scott Hamilton, Tom Blakely, Steve Green, and the programs first head coach Jack Vivian, among others.
Following the conclusion of the 2008-2009 season, BGSU head coach Scott Paluch resigned. Paluch posted a record of 84-156-23 (.363 pct.) in his seven seasons as head coach of the Falcons. His best season came in 2004-05 when the team finished with a .500 record of 16-16-4. Dennis Williams, previously a head coach at Neumann College (DIII) and assistant coach at BG for the 2008-2009 season took over as interim head coach. Although Williams posted a record of 5-25-6 in his only season behind the bench, the 2009-10 season was a success in a number of areas. The future of the program was secured with the help of the university and Bring Back the Glory campaign and Williams stopped the outflow of players and recruits after news of the possible end of the program.
Bring Back the GloryEdit
The rapid success of the Bring Back the Glory campaign to establish an endowment and raise necessary funds to secure the program's future was seen when the BGSU Ice Arena began a $4 million renovation to upgrade the compressors, chillers, build new locker rooms, add an additional multipurpose ice sheet, and infrastructure and lighting upgrades.
Chris Bergeron was hired as head coach beginning in the 2010-11 season, along with Barry Schutte and Ty Eigner. Bergeron came to Bowling Green after serving as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Miami University, where he helped head coach Enrico Blasi build the RedHawks program into a national powerhouse. Bergeron was brought in by the university to turn around the struggling program. After starting the season 0-3-0 losing two games to Michigan and one to Clarkson, Bergeron picked up his first win as a college head coach in the second game of the road series against Clarkson on October 16, 2010. The Falcons finished the regular season 11th in the CCHA with a record of 8-24-4. The Falcons then upset Northern Michigan in the first round of the CCHA Tournament winning the best-of-three series when freshman Bryce Williamson scored the 34 seconds into the second overtime. The 2-1 win sent the Falcons to the CCHA quarterfinals for the first time since the 2007-08 season where the Falcons were matched up against top-seeded Michigan. The Wolverines ended the season for Bowling Green by sweeping the Falcons in the best-of-three series 1-5 and 1-4.
In August 2011, the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) announced it extended invitations to five CCHA members, after eight of the WCHA's members announced they were leaving for the Big Ten Conference and National Collegiate Hockey Conference in 2013. BGSU gained an extension of the invitation while the athletic department investigated other opportunities. On October 4, 2011, the university announced its intentions to leave the CCHA in 2013 and join the WCHA beginning In 2013-14. The move will allow the falcons to maintain existing rivalries with Alaska-Fairbanks, Ferris State, Lake Superior State and Northern Michigan, all of which announced acceptations of the WCHA invite prior to Bowling Green's announcement.
The Falcons finished the 2011-12 regular season with an overall record of 10-21-5 and a conference record of 5 wins, 19 losses, 4 overtime games and three shootout wins; the record positioned the team in last place in the conference. In the first round of the 2012 CCHA Tournament BGSU was set to play Northern Michigan. In a rematch of the prior season's tournament, Bowling Green again upset the six-seeded Wildcats three games to two. In the second round, Bowling Green played top-seeded Ferris State, also ranked second in the national poll. The Falcons won the first game of the three-game series in overtime, followed by the Bulldogs winning the second game to force a third game. In the third game of the series, Ferris State recorded three goals in the first period before Bowling Green rallied to score four unanswered goals, the final goal in overtime. Bowling Green advanced to the CCHA Semifinal round at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit for the first time since the 2001 season with the win over Ferris State. The season ended in the CCHA Semifinal game when Michigan rallied from a two-goal deficit and tied the game with 2:45 left in regulation to force overtime. The tie was not broken until Michigan's Luke Moffatt scored at the 1:04 mark of the second overtime to give the Wolverines a 3-2 win. BGSU goaltender Andrew Hammond finished the game with 55 saves that came within one save of the school record is 56 saves set by Jordan Sigalet in 2003. The team lost the third place 4-1 to Miami (OH) game and finished fourth in the CCHA Playoffs. Bowling Green finished the season with an overall record of 14-25-5.
The team recently held ceremonies in the 2014 season to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the National Championship Team. Also the Falcons will be playing in an outdoor game against Robert Morris University at Fifth Third Field.
On November 17, 2014, the Falcons appeared in the USCHO.com Division I Men's Poll at number 19 for the first time since the 2007-2008 season. The Falcons have moved up in the rankings in subsequent weeks, reaching 18th, 15th and 14th, in consecutive weeks.
In 2017-18, the Bowling Green Falcons won the Great Lakes Invitational Tournament, the first in Detroit's Little Caesar's Arena. They defeated the Michigan Wolverines 6-4 in the semifinals, and they defeated the Michigan Tech Huskies 4-1 in the championship game the following day.
The Glory Is BackEdit
In 2018-19, Bowling Green had a hot stretch to start the season, highlighted by an 8-2 victory over a top-10 Ohio State team in Columbus and culminating in finishing the first half of the season with a sweep of then-#3 Minnesota State to go into the Christmas break with a 13-3-3 record. Despite their struggles with consistency down the stretch to close the regular season, the Falcons swept their way through the first 2 rounds of the playoffs, defeating Michigan Tech at home and Northern Michigan on the road along the way en route to a WCHA Championship game in Mankato, MN on March 23, 2019, where the Falcons fell in overtime, 3-2. Despite the loss, they had officially done what no Bowling Green team had done since 1990 - earn a bid to the NCAA Tournament. They were selected as the 15th seed, which was the last at-large bid to make it into the tournament. This was a monumental occasion, drawing a crowd of Falcon fans to a "watch party" for the selection show inside the Slater Family ice Arena as Bowling Green heard their name called for the first time in 29 years that night. In addition to the selection show, that day was also the 35th anniversary of the 1984 NCAA Championship, which saw the Falcons earn a 5-4 victory in four overtimes over the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs, who would coincidentally end up being their first round opponent in the Midwest Regional out of Allentown, PA in the 2019 tournament. Unfortunately for the Falcons, they would drop the contest 2-1 in overtime, and their season would come to a close with a record of 25-11-5 for the year, their most wins in a single season since they earned 26 victories during the 1995-96 campaign. On April 5, 2019, it was announced that Chris Bergeron would be leaving to assume the head coaching job at Miami University, his alma mater. He left Bowling Green as the 2nd-winningest head coach in school history, with 171 wins.
On April 20, 2019, after a 15 day search, Ty Eigner was hired as the 8th head coach in Bowling Green hockey history. A Bowling Green alumnus and former captain for the BGSU hockey team, Eigner was hired after spending the previous 9 seasons as an assistant coach. In his time as an assistant, BGSU amassed a total overall record of 171-154-44, winning 20+ games in his final 5 seasons as an assistant and making the NCAA tournament for the first time in 29 years. On the day Eigner was hired, Boston College head coach and former BGSU head coach Jerry York discussed the move, saying, "The first thing I remember about coaching Ty was how well-respected he was in our locker room -- an outstanding teammate. His progression and growth in coaching has been very impressive from my viewpoint. He is an excellent hire to lead the Falcons!"
|Totals||8 coaches||53 seasons||965–848–144||.530|
As of April 20, 2019. Records includes regular season and playoffs games.
Career points leadersEdit
Career Goaltending LeadersEdit
Minimum 1000 minutes
Statistics current through the start of the 2019-20 season.
Players and personnelEdit
As of September 5, 2018.
|No.||S/P/C||Player||Class||Pos||Height||Weight||DoB||Hometown||Previous team||NHL rights|
|2||Will Cullen||Freshman||D||6' 0" (1.83 m)||184 lb (83 kg)||1996-07-24||Pelham Manor, New York||Carleton Place (CCHL)||—|
|3||Carson Musser||Sophomore||D||6' 1" (1.85 m)||191 lb (87 kg)||1997-04-21||Grand Rapids, Michigan||Fargo (USHL)||—|
|4||Connor McDonald||Senior||D||6' 1" (1.85 m)||181 lb (82 kg)||1995-10-24||Westerville, Ohio||Chicago (USHL)||—|
|5||Adam Smith||Senior||D||6' 2" (1.88 m)||197 lb (89 kg)||1996-11-06||Sharon, Ontario||Newmarket (OJHL)||NSH, 198th overall 2016|
|6||Alex Barber||Freshman||F||5' 10" (1.78 m)||150 lb (68 kg)||1999-02-17||Dublin, Ohio||Central Illinois (USHL)||—|
|7||Shane Bednard||Senior||F||5' 10" (1.78 m)||182 lb (83 kg)||1994-11-22||Macomb, Michigan||Bloomington (USHL)||—|
|8||Frédéric Létourneau||Junior||F||5' 11" (1.8 m)||184 lb (83 kg)||1996-04-19||Montreal, Quebec||Whitecourt (AJHL)||—|
|10||Max Johnson||Sophomore||F||5' 10" (1.78 m)||192 lb (87 kg)||1998-05-12||Lakeville, Minnesota||Sioux Falls (USHL)||—|
|11||Taylor Schneider||Freshman||F||6' 1" (1.85 m)||161 lb (73 kg)||1998-02-18||Lakeville, Minnesota||Dubuque (USHL)||—|
|12||Chris Pohlkamp||Senior||D||5' 10" (1.78 m)||194 lb (88 kg)||1995-07-06||Baxter, Minnesota||Sioux Falls (USHL)||—|
|13||Stephen Baylis (C)||Senior||F||6' 1" (1.85 m)||199 lb (90 kg)||1994-08-01||Ottawa, Ontario||Carleton Place (CCHL)||—|
|14||Justin Wells||Sophomore||D||6' 4" (1.93 m)||200 lb (91 kg)||1998-07-31||North Canton, Ohio||Sioux Falls (USHL)||—|
|15||Evan Dougherty||Freshman||F||6' 0" (1.83 m)||182 lb (83 kg)||1999-04-17||Kalamazoo, Michigan||Waterloo (USHL)||—|
|16||Cameron Wright||Sophomore||F||6' 1" (1.85 m)||189 lb (86 kg)||1998-08-11||Newmarket, Ontario||St. Michael's (OJHL)||—|
|17||Casey Linkenheld||Junior||F||6' 0" (1.83 m)||190 lb (86 kg)||1995-05-19||Bartlett, Illinois||Johnstown (NAHL)||—|
|18||Trevor St-Jean||Freshman||F||5' 8" (1.73 m)||173 lb (78 kg)||1997-10-10||Findlay, Ohio||Langley (BCHL)||—|
|20||Connor Ford||Sophomore||F||6' 0" (1.83 m)||187 lb (85 kg)||1998-02-05||Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania||Sioux City (USHL)||—|
|21||Jacob Dalton||Junior||D||6' 1" (1.85 m)||182 lb (83 kg)||1997-07-05||Saginaw, Michigan||Wichita Falls (NAHL)||—|
|22||Lukas Craggs||Junior||F||5' 11" (1.8 m)||190 lb (86 kg)||1996-05-16||Elmhurst, Illinois||Youngstown (USHL)||—|
|23||Alec Rauhauser||Junior||D||6' 3" (1.91 m)||223 lb (101 kg)||1995-03-17||Bismarck, North Dakota||Des Moines (USHL)||—|
|25||Sam Craggs||Sophomore||F||6' 1" (1.85 m)||200 lb (91 kg)||1997-05-30||Elmhurst, Illinois||Waterloo (USHL)||—|
|26||Matt Meier||Senior||F||6' 1" (1.85 m)||200 lb (91 kg)||1995-02-07||Highlands Ranch, Colorado||Omaha (USHL)||—|
|27||Tim Theocharidis||Freshman||D||6' 1" (1.85 m)||183 lb (83 kg)||1998-06-28||Scarborough, Ontario||Carleton Place (CCHL)||—|
|28||Brandon Kruse||Sophomore||F||5' 9" (1.75 m)||155 lb (70 kg)||1999-02-26||Saline, Michigan||Brookings (NAHL)||VGK, 135th overall 2018|
|29||John Schilling||Senior||F||5' 11" (1.8 m)||176 lb (80 kg)||1995-01-18||Oswego, Illinois||Chicago (USHL)||—|
|31||Eric Dop||Sophomore||G||5' 10" (1.78 m)||159 lb (72 kg)||1998-08-23||Lewis Center, Ohio||Tri-City (USHL)||—|
|32||Brett Rich||Sophomore||G||6' 3" (1.91 m)||183 lb (83 kg)||1999-01-09||Bowling Green, Ohio||Bowling Green (USHS–OH)||—|
|35||Ryan Bednard||Junior||G||6' 5" (1.96 m)||200 lb (91 kg)||1997-03-31||Macomb, Michigan||Youngstown (USHL)||FLA, 206th overall 2015|
|= NHL All-Star Team||= NHL All-Star||= NHL All-Star and NHL All-Star Team||= Hall of Famers|
†Dan Bylsma won a Stanley Cup as head coach for the Pittsburgh Penguins
Hobey Baker Award winnersEdit
Hobey Baker Award finalistsEdit
Central Collegiate Hockey AssociationEdit
Coach of the YearEdit
Player of the YearEdit
- 1988: Paul Connell
- 1983: Mike David
- Most goals in a career: Jamie Wansbrough, 127 (1982–86)
- Most assists in a career: Nelson Emerson, 182 (1986–90)
- Most points in a career: Nelson Emerson, 294 (1986–90)
- Most penalty minutes in a career: Matt Ruchty, 474 (1987–91)
- Most points in a career, defenseman: Scott Paluch, 169 (1984–88)
- Most wins in a career, Gary Kruzich, 88 (1983–87)
- Most shutouts in a career, Chris Nell, 11 (2014–17)
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- Knavel, Jason (3 February 2014). "BGSU And Robert Morris To Play Outdoor Hockey Game". Bowling Green State University. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
- "Lake Superior State Hockey 2017-18 Record Book" (PDF). Lake Superior State Lakers. Retrieved December 17, 2018.
- "2018–19 Ice Hockey Roster". Bowling Green Athletics. Retrieved September 1, 2016.
- "Alumni report for Bowling Green State University". Hockey DB. Retrieved March 20, 2019.
- Players are identified as an All-Star if they were selected for the All-Star game at any time in their career.