BOWLING GREEN — While Bowling Green State University hockey has not had much success against Notre Dame recently, Ryan Carpenter has.
The sophomore forward has recorded at least one point in all five games he has played against the Fighting Irish, who face the Falcons at 7:30 p.m. today at the BGSU Ice Arena (TV: BCSN).
“I think Carpenter is one of those guys who’s a good hockey player, and he shows up more in big games because he expects more from himself in big games,” BG coach Chris Bergeron said. “He knows the challenge.
“He steps up in big moments, and he knows that when you’re playing one of the top teams in the country, that’s a big moment.”
Notre Dame is 15-6-0 overall and ranked fifth in the nation. The Irish lead the Central Collegiate Hockey Association with 33 points (11-2-0-0) despite having played fewer games than any other league team except Bowling Green.
But Notre Dame lost to No. 1 Minnesota 4-1 last Tuesday, then split a pair of games at Michigan State over the weekend.
“We have to limit our mistakes against Notre Dame,” Carpenter said. “When you make mistakes, top teams capitalize on them.
“But our game plan for this game can’t change from our game plan for every game.”
While the Falcons are last in the CCHA with a 3-7-3-1 mark (6-10-5 overall), BG’s 13 points are just one behind Northern Michigan and three behind Michigan State and Michigan despite having played three fewer games than any of those teams.
BG has struggled against the Irish, losing the last four home meetings and winning just once in the last five contests overall. That win came Feb. 4 of last season at Notre Dame when Carpenter scored twice in a 3-2 victory.
“I just think sometimes you happen to have some success against particular teams,” said Carpenter, who is one of the team’s captains. “And whenever we play Notre Dame, I’ve just happened to have success.
“I think, if we want to have success as a team against them, we just need to stick to our game. We forwards need to get the puck to the net, and get to the net ourselves to create scoring chances.”
While the Falcons may have struggled against Notre Dame, then enter tonight’s game with a four-game unbeaten streak that includes a win over nationally ranked Niagara and a 5-1 victory at Michigan’s Yost Arena last Tuesday.
“I feel everybody has more of a positive attitude [during this win streak],” freshman forward Ben Murphy said. “I know we’re high in spirits.
“We’ve come to the rink every day with more of a purpose. Going to Michigan and winning at Yost brings that belief to another level.”
Bergeron said he thought his team’s recent run of success began in December following a 15-day span without games because of Thanksgiving.
“It gave us a little bit of decompression time and reflection time,” he explained. “I include myself in that: I’m a pretty intense guy, and I have to be conscious that I can become too negative because we want it so bad.
“But the atmosphere around here has been better since we came back from the Thanksgiving break. And the results after that have been better.”
BG came back from that break to claim a win and a tie at Alaska, then followed up a home loss to Notre Dame with the recent streak of three wins in four games.
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