Alec Rauhauser Key For No. 15 Bowling Green's WCHA, NCAA Tournament Hopes

After having their four-game unbeaten streak snapped Friday, the No. 15-ranked Bowling Green Falcons responded with a 7-1 thrashing of Alabama Huntsville the next night as the offense showed glimpses of its October dominance.

At the end of October, the Falcons were averaging a 5.14 goals per game, carrying them to a 5-1-1 start to the season. By 2019, the Falcons highlighted the front-runners for midseason awards.

But the new year has posed problems as the Falcons have gone just 8-6-2 in 2019 and struggled to string together success with just one two-game winning streak. Saturday night could be the turning point needed ahead of the WCHA Tournament.

Eleven different players recorded at least a point for the Falcons in Saturday’s win.

“Our compete level was high and we found a way to score goals. It was five-nothing after the first,” Bowling Green coach Chris Bergeron told Jamison Terbrack of BG Falcon Media. “I wasn’t mad with our compete level in the second and third, it just wasn’t as good as the first.”

As much as a 15-0 game can’t be expected, it’s fair criticism given the parity in the college hockey and the need to keep a foot on the gas in all situations.

The eye-opening response should serve as fuel for the three-seeded Falcons’ first-round matchup with six-seeded Michigan Tech in the conference tournament. The teams split their only series of the season in mid-January, but the Huskies will have to worry about another factor in Falcons defenseman Alec Rauhauser.

Since the start of last season, the Falcons have correlated their success to Rauhauser, whose second straight WCHA Defenseman of the Week honor bodes well for the upcoming WCHA Tournament.

The junior is streaking with six points (1 G, 5 A) over his past seven games. It comes after scoring just three assists through his previous 10 outings, where the Falcons’ and Huskies’ first series fell.

In 35 games this year, Rauhauser has accumulated three goals and 19 assists for 22 points, a slight drop from his nine goals and 39 points from 2017-18.

The natural tradeoff has stemmed from rounding out his defensive game, as well as the Falcons’ enviable depth. It’s helped them build on last season’s overall and conference record and places them No. 17 in the Pairwise Rankings as a bubble team for the 16-team NCAA Tournament. 

A title earns an automatic bid, but a strong showing at the conference tournament could be enough to sway the rankings for their first NCAA bid since 1990.

Watch Rauhauser and the Falcons take on the Huskies live, right here on FloHockey this weekend for the best-of-three first-round in the WCHA Tournament. 

Have a question or a comment for Jacob Messing? You can find him on Twitter @Jacob_Messing.

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