Craggs brothers

Lucas Craggs and Sam Craggs

Charlie Ryan | BGRSO Production Reporter 

The last time Bowling Green State University Hockey was in the NCAA tournament was during the 2019 season. This was also the last time that Sam and Lukas Craggs played together on the ice. 

Now with the Toledo Walleye looking to make a push for the Kelly Cup Finals, the brothers are meeting on the ice once again. 

“In the recruiting, we get one brother, let’s go and get two, and we know what they bring every day. They love the sport…you know we got a little greedy on it and we are very happy to have both guys,” Walleye Head Coach Dan Watson said. 

Sam was with the Falcons, who fell in the first round of the Mason Cup Finals to the Bemidji State Beavers back in March. The 2021-22 season was the best offensively for Sam, ending with nine goals, five assists and 13 blocks. Along with that, Sam was known as one of the most aggressive players on the ice, leading the senior line with Taylor Schneider and Alex Barber. 

“They’re real physical and not afraid of confrontation, not afraid of sticking up for their teammates, which is why hockey is the perfect sport for them,” BGSU Falcons Head Coach Ty Eigner said. 

While watching both Sam and Lukas on the ice throughout their careers in juniors, college and now in the professional leagues, they play a very aggressive game on the ice both physically and on the puck. They have provided coverage on the ice and have currently added more depth to the walleye forward lineup. 

“The aggression is something that they were always very comfortable with,” Eigner said. 

When Lukas first left the Falcons after the 2019 season, he moved around the American Hockey League and East Coast Hockey League for the following three seasons, playing more and more aggressively down by the crease, which is something that Eigner says was important for Lukas’ development into becoming a more mature player off the wings. 

One of the big differences that Eigner said most players realize when they first jump up to major leagues is the jump in the number of games that the players end up playing in such a short amount of time. This is something that forced a change in the way that fans saw aggression from Lukas out on the ice. 

For most fans watching Lukas down on the ice, his game looked mostly the same. But it seemed like he was working more on the heads-up play of the game and working more on the puck rather than taking giant hits every game. In a sense, it was the key to saving his body in order to play full seasons and avoid injury. 

Moving into this past season, the brothers faced off in the Kelly Cup Finals. Lukas played in the lineup for the Cincinnati Cyclones and Sam was on the roster but not set in the playoff lineup for the Walleye, just barely missing the cutoff heading into the playoffs with Toledo. This saw the Walleye taking down the Cyclones and heading on to the Kelly Cup quarter-finals.  

Then in the off-season, with Toledo already signing a contract with Sam, it made the most sense to grab Lukas as well.  When talking with Lukas about joining the Walleye now, it seems like the brothers want to do the same thing they did the last time they were on the ice together with the Falcons. 

“We’re trying to do the same thing you know reach to that next level with Toledo, obviously lost in the finals last year and hopefully we can bring that experience and go further,” Lukas Craggs said. 

This season, both players continue to work on the depth in the forward position for the Walleye, including running one of the power play and penalty kill units and offering multiple options on transition plays on the ice. 

“It’s like we never stopped being together, I mean we practiced a lot in the summer together and we get shifts together here and there, and it’s good like old times,” Sam Craggs said. 

Although the Walleye have had a rocky start, the brothers continue to find ways to get points across on the ice, working to find openings on the wings and set up possible plays. 

So, if you have time this season and are looking for some good hockey to watch, head down to the Huntington Center and check out the Falcon Hockey alumni.

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