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Bowling Green continues to synchronize its game to stalwart defenseman Alec Rauhauser, whose two goals versus Lake Superior State over the weekend signal good fortune for the Falcons.
Last year, the Falcons’ season directly correlated to Rauhauser’s play: When the blue-liner was scoring, the team was winning. He finished the campaign second in defensive scoring with 39 points (9 G, 30 A) in 41 games, behind only Northern Michigan’s Philip Beaulieu (11-31–42).
As the team’s leading scorer in 2017-18, Rauhauser’s strong play helped carry the team to a 23-13-6 record. The Falcons went 17-8-3 in games in which the defenseman collected at least a point, contrary to a 6-5-3 record when he didn’t hit the scoresheet.
A scorching offensive start to the 2018-19 season saw the trend continue. The Falcons scored 34 goals through their first six games en route a 5-1 start. Rauhauser collected eight assists in the span.
But the offense dried up over the next six contests. Rauhauser went scoreless, and the Falcons scored just eight total goals in addition to getting shut out three times while skating to a 2-2-2 mark.
On Saturday, Rauhauser broke through, opening the scoring with his first goal of the season. He followed it up with his second goal of the season just 10 minutes later as the Falcons downed the Lakers 5-2.
#WCHA Sat highlight: @AlecRauhauser scored twice, @willcullen96 started the decisive, 3-goal 3rd period with the game-winner (1st collegiate 🚨) and No. 10 @BGFalconHockey split with LSSU following a 5-2 win. #AyZiggy #KTDD— WCHA Men's Hockey (@WCHA_MHockey) November 18, 2018
RECAP/VIDEO: https://t.co/n7UD1K8HjK pic.twitter.com/GeH6tBkAmW
The Falcons remain perfect when Rauhauser hits the scoresheet with a 5-0 record, as opposed to a 3-3-2 record without his offensive contribution. With the proverbial monkey off of his back, Rauhauser should start to find offense coming more natural for the 8-3-2 Falcons, but the team will need to stop leaning on Rauhauser and has the pieces to stand on its own — merited by its No. 12 ranking.
A deep forward group has emerged in Bowling Green this year. Rauhauser’s 10 points (2 G, 8 A) place him fifth in team scoring and 19th in defensive scoring — a category led by Minnesota Duluth’s Scott Perunovich (2-14–16) — but he sits just six points back of Perunovich with a building confidence.
The Falcons are set to take on projected 2019 NHL draft No. 1 pick Jack Hughes, and the U.S. National U18 Team, Wednesday for an exhibition game. The Americans are 16-4 (4-3 against NCAA opponents) this season and hold a six-game winning streak.
It’s the Falcons final matchup of the month before a four-game road trip against WCHA foes Alabama Huntsville and Ferris State kicks off December.
Have a question or a comment for Jacob Messing? You can find him on Twitter @Jacob_Messing.