December 22, 1998
KALAMAZOO -- Western Michigan University's hockey team (1-8-6
overall, 1-8-6 CCHA) returns from its holiday break looking to
snap an 11-game winless streak (0-6-5) as it faces the University
of Massachusetts-Amherst, Dec. 29-30, in Lawson Arena. Both matches
have 7 p.m. face-offs.
The Broncos saw a 3-1 lead evaporate in the third period as Bowling Green produced goals 27 seconds apart en route to a 5-3 home victory (Dec. 12). The loss marked the fourth time this season Western has lost a lead with under four minutes left in regulation. Frank Novock became the first WMU player this season to record three points in a game with a goal and two assists. David Gove added a goal and assist to remain atop the WMU scoring ladder (5-712).
Sophomore defenseman Kevin Clauson left the team for personal reasons, head coach Bill Wilkinson announced on Dec. 10. The earlier departure of D G.W. King and an injury to D Jeff Lukasak left WMU with only five defensemen against BGSU * With five players out with injuries prior to the break, Western's only healthy scratch against the BG Falcons was fourth-string goaltender J.J. Weaks * UMass-Amherst's visit marks the first Hockey East opponent to skate on Lawson ice since Providence split a series in Kalamazoo in October 1995. Western returned the trip the following year in its last encounter against a Hockey East team * Western's 1-8-6 record (.266) after 15 games is the worst in school history. The previous slowest start belongs to the 1981-82 team that began at a 5-9-1 (.366) clip * Western hasn't drawn more than 10 penalties in 11 of its last 13 games. The Broncos have taken 26 fewer minor penalties this season compared to the 1997-98 campaign * David Gove has done his part to stay out of the sin bin, compiling two penalties in 14 games. In 50 career games, Gove has visited the box just six times * Opponents have placed 138 more shots on goal than Western, averaging nine extra per game * the Brown & Gold begin a five-game homestand against UMass before hitting the road for five straight * the holiday break for Western players runs Dec. 13-26.
Bronco Player of the Week
Freshman defenseman Ryan Crane earned Bronco "player of the week" honors for his effort against Bowling Green (Dec. 12). Crane helped keep the Falcons scoreless on three power play attempts and had an even plus-minus rating. He also placed two shots on goal. Previous Bronco POW recipients: Dec. 7 Jeff Reynaert; Nov. 30 Frank Novock; Nov. 23 Chuck Mindel; Nov. 9 David Gove; Nov. 2 Jason Redenius; Oct. 26 Jason Redenius; Oct. 19 Matt Barnes; Oct. 12 Jason Redenius.
Western Michigan and UMass-Amherst are meeting for the first time. The Broncos are 9-12-0 lifetime against current Hockey East membership.
UMass-Amherst (4-10-1, 2-6-1 HE) had been ranked in the top 10 nationally in team defense, allowing only 34 goals in 13 games, prior to a pair of losses to New Hampshire (7-2, 5-2), Dec. 12-13 in a home-and-home series. The Minutemen have played seven games against ranked opponents and are off until their series with Western. Sophomore goaltender Markus Helanen, a native of Finland, is turning in a stellar season, having earned Heaton/Hockey East "goaltender of the month" accolades for November. Now in his sixth season at UMass, head coach Joe Mallen owns a 58-113-12 record.
Western is off the first weekend in January. WMU plays host to Alaska-Fairbanks (Jan. 8-9) in the first meetings of the season before encountering Northern Michigan (Jan. 15) in Kalamazoo and traveling to Michigan (Jan. 16).
Media contact:Daniel Jankowski, 616 387-4138; firstname.lastname@example.org
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA