With a first-round sweep over Alaska, the Bowling Green Falcons hold the nation’s longest unbeaten streak, going 8-0-2 in their past 10 games ahead of a potential season-ending series with Bemidji State.
The 2019-20 Falcons have been a three-part story. After a 12-5-1 start, a 1-8-1 stretch from mid-December to February dragged them down to 13-13-1 overall. Now in Part III, their current 10-game unbeaten streak has them back in the mix for their second consecutive NCAA tournament berth.
As the Falcons add to their case for an at-large bid to the postseason — currently sitting at No. 20 in the Pairwise Rankings — their upcoming series with the Beavers will be critical.
The longest active unbeaten streak in the nation heads to Bemidji this weekend!— Bowling Green Hockey (@BGFalconHockey) March 9, 2020
1⃣: Friday, March 13 - 8:07 p.m. EST
2⃣: Saturday, March 14 - 7:07 p.m. EST
3⃣: Sunday, March 15 - 7:07 p.m. EST (If needed)#AyZiggy pic.twitter.com/uuCImhQbeQ
An upset over the No. 11-ranked Beavers would further their case in the Pairwise Rankings, getting them closer to a near-lock in the top 16. A series loss would likely be the dagger, short of upsets over closely-ranked teams from other conferences.
The Falcons are soaring and making easy prey of opponents. As always, the team goes where captain Alec Rauhauser takes it. The senior leads the Falcons in scoring with 35 points (11 G, 24 A) in 38 games while simultaneously taking on the toughest matchups on the blue line.
It is that same two-way poise that has Rauhauser up for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award this season. The top 10 finalists will be announced on March 19.
Rauhauser and co. have been red hot, allowing no more than three goals against since Feb. 7 as goaltenders Eric Dop and Zack Rose have shut the door on opponents.
Dop holds a .902 save percentage 2.36 goals-against average, and 19-11-3 record on the season with three shutouts. But during the Falcons’ streak, the junior sports a 6-0-2 record with a .913 SV% and 1.95 GAA. Contributing to the streak, backup Zack Rose has won his last two games, allowing just one goal in each, with a .935 SV% and 1.01 GAA. The freshman is 2-2-1 on the season with a .905 SV% and 2.20 GAA.
Offensively, the Falcons are averaging 3.8 goals per game during their current streak, which is nearly double their 2.0 goals-against average over the same stretch.
But the biggest test of the season awaits as they face the Beavers and netminder Zach Driscoll, whose numbers place him among the top goalies in the NCAA this season.
Driscoll has gone 21-8-4 and is third nationally with 1.63 GAA, while his .937 SV% is fifth, and his four shutouts are tied for eighth.
The junior has been a key part of the Beavers’ defensive side of the game, which has given them the second-best penalty kill (91.2 %) and fourth-best goals-against average (1.92 GAA) in the NCAA.
The Beavers also hold the season series lead over the Falcons, besting their conference rival twice on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, which were the Falcons’ last two losses prior to their current streak.
As the Falcons’ offense clashes with the Beavers’ defense, something will have to give. Following a three-game series with Lake Superior State, it may be Driscoll and the Beavers.
The Lakers’ late-season surge — which was only a fraction of efficiency as the Falcons is — proved to be tough for the Beavers, now 2-2 over their past four outings.
That sudden inconsistency is enough for the high-confidence Falcons to dive-bomb en route to a potential upset and an increased chance at the NCAA tournament.
Don’t miss this weekend’s series — catch the action live, right here on FloHockey.
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