WMU News

Hockey Broncos travel to Notre Dame, host MSU

Jan. 19, 2000

KALAMAZOO -- Western Michigan (8-10-2 overall, 7-7-2 CCHA) looks to raise its overall record to the .500 level this week as it faces Notre Dame (8-13-5 overall, 5-7-4 CCHA), Friday and Saturday (Jan. 21-22) at the Joyce Center in South Bend, Ind. Faceoff is 7:05 p.m. each night.

WMU is tied for fifth place in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association. Notre Dame is tied for seventh place. The top eight teams advance to the CCHA tournament in March, the top four teams host the tournament first-round.

The WMU-UND series can be heard live on the Bronco Radio Network (Flagship station WFAT-96.5 FM) and the WMU Athletics Web Site (www.wmubroncos.com) via broadcast.com.

Scoring has dropped off for the Irish this season, who are averaging 2.27 goals per game (10th in the CCHA) after averaging 3.00 last year (fifth-best). Center Ben Simon is the team's top scorer (6-10-16) and has been especially tough on the Broncos through the years, registering 12 points (2 goals, 10 assists) in nine games. Freshman Tony Zasowski is holding his own in net, producing a winning record (5-4-3) and the league's seventh-finest GAA (2.47). Coach Dave Poulin owns a 63-94-19 record in five seasons at UND.

WMU and UND last met 14 months ago when their three-game series was contested within the first six weeks of the 1998-99 season. WMU leads the overall series, 26-13-2, although the Irish are unbeaten in the last five games (4-0-1) played in Joyce Center, dating to the 1996-97 season.

The Broncos were swept by Cornell in a two-game set at Ithaca, N.Y., Jan. 14-15, by the scores of 4-3 and 3-1. It was the first weekend series sweep of WMU this season.

Western Michigan returns to Lawson Arena to host CCHA rival Michigan State, Jan. 28-29. Both matches begin at 7 p.m. The Jan. 28 contest will be broadcast live by WWMT-TV (Channel 3), the CBS affiliate in Kalamazoo.

Bronco notes

Keeping with the millennium theme of recent weeks, Western Michigan plays its 1,000th regular season game this Friday at Notre Dame. The Broncos have an overall record of 479-453-67 in 27 seasons of varsity competition.

The Broncos are ranked nationally in several statistic categories compiled by the NCAA. Junior David Gove stands sixth in points per game (1.50) and ninth in assists per game (0.95). Sophomore Mike Bishai has the fourth-most power play goals at seven. As a team, WMU ranks 18th in penalty killing percentage (.845). A total of 55 schools and approximately 1,400 players participate in Division I hockey.

Coach Jim Culhane has stressed the importance of special teams play and the Broncos are responding this season. WMU owns the second-best power play success rate in the CCHA (18.8%), scoring 27 PPG this season after totaling 31 all of last year.

In the latest issue of Sports Illustrated, former Broncos and current St. Louis Blues linemates Mike Eastwood and Jamal Mayer were cited as the best fourth line in the National Hockey League.

In other alumni news, Wayne Gagne (1984-87), a Hobey Baker runner-up in 1987 and WMU's career assist leader (199), was named to the All-Time College Hockey First Team for Michigan-based schools by the Detroit Free Press in its 336-page book, Century of Champions.

The public is invited to take part in the Blue Line Club's annual "Bowl with the Hockey Broncos" outing, scheduled for Jan. 30 (noon-3 p.m.) at Holiday Lanes. For more information, call 616 387-3050.

Media contact: Daniel Jankowski, 616 387-4122; daniel.jankowski@wmich.edu


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