Feb. 2, 2000
KALAMAZOO -- After taking three of four possible points from seventh-ranked Michigan State last week, the Western Michigan hockey team travels to Northern Michigan this weekend (Feb. 4-5) for a two-game Central Collegiate Hockey Association series in the newly constructed Berry Events Center (3,754).
The Wildcats reside in second place in the CCHA standings while Western Michigan is tied with Nebraska Omaha for sixth. NMU is ranked ninth in the latest USA Today/American Hockey Magazine Poll.
Northern Michigan is one of the more explosive teams in the CCHA, averaging 3.46 goals per game. Three players have 20 or more points in Roger Trudeau (16-11-27), J.P. Vigier (11-11-22) and Bryan Phillips (7-13-20). Dan Ragusett (12-4-1, 2.16 gga) and Duane Hoey (5-3-1, 2.45 gga) are two capable goaltenders. Head Coach Rick Comely owns a 489-398-57 record in 24 seasons at NMU.
Since rejoining the CCHA during the 1997-98 campaign, the Wildcats have gone 7-1 against WMU. The Broncos broke through with a 5-3 victory on Nov. 6 after NMU skated to a 5-1 triumph in the series opener (Nov. 5) in Kalamazoo. Northern Michigan leads the all-time series, 23-11-2.
Last weekend, the Broncos clinched the season series from Michigan State, rallying from two goals down to force a 2-2 overtime tie on Friday (Jan. 28), followed by a dramatic 3-2 overtime victory on Saturday (Jan. 29). WMU outshot MSU, 15-1, in the third period of Saturday's contest.
Bronco hockey can be heard on the Bronco Radio Network (Flagship station WFAT-96.5 FM Kalamazoo), and via broadcast.com on the Bronco Web site <www.wmubroncos.com>.
While 10 games remain in the regular season, the Broncos have already matched their power play goal total (31) of a season ago and are one goal shy of equaling last year's total goal production of 75.
One of the factors involved in WMU's raising its goal production from 1.96 to 3.08 over the past year has been the play of the freshmen class. Led by David Cousineau (6-12-18), Ben Gagnon (7-8-15) and Brent Rumble (4-3-7), this year's rookie class has scored 17 goals in 24 games compared to last year's frosh class that registered five goals in 34 games.
As a freshman, Mike Bishai didn't even figure in the five goals
his classmates produced. This season, however, Bishai
leads the club with 13 markers, including nine on the power play which places him fourth nationally.
Saturday's 3-2 overtime victory over Michigan State halted a six-game winless (0-5-1) streak and was WMU's first win since Jan. 7.
Jeff Reynaert is proving his worth as one of the top goaltenders in the CCHA. The sophomore allowed just two even-strength goals versus the Spartans, stopping 63 of 67 shots for a .940 saves percentage.
The Broncos travel to Michigan next week (Feb. 11-12), with Friday's contest being carried live by FOX Sports Net.
Media contact: Daniel Jankowski, 616 387-4122; email@example.com
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