WMU News

Hockey Broncos among nation's most-improved teams

March 20, 2000

KALAMAZOO -- The Western Michigan University hockey team (12-21-3 overall, 10-15-3 CCHA) concluded its 1999-2000 season March 10-11, when the Broncos were eliminated by Michigan in the first round of the Central
Collegiate Hockey Association Tournament. The Broncos finished the CCHA regular season tied for ninth place.

Under first-year coach Jim Culhane, the Broncos were the seventh-most improved team in the nation according to USA Today Online. WMU won six games more this season than during the previous campaign and posted a .500 record at home for the first time in three years. The Broncos also qualified for the CCHA Tournament for the first time since 1997.

Reflecting on his first full season as head coach, Jim Culhane said, "Three things stand out in my mind about the season. First of all, we were able to get back to the postseason after missing out the past two years. Secondly, we had a big weekend series against Michigan State, receiving tremendous support from the students and community. Lastly, our sweep on the road at Ohio State set the tone for a competitive season. We've grown as a coaching staff and are very encouraged by what we have coming back for next season."

Season highlights

WMU finished the regular season with the second-best power play percentage (19.3%) in conference action. The Broncos scored 44 power play goals, an increase of 31.7 percent from the season before. Culhane's squad recorded man-advantage goals in 25 of 36 games, including three in a game on five occasions.

Western Michigan recorded four wins and a tie against nationally-ranked teams, defeating No. 4 Michigan State (3-2 OT, 2-2 OT), No. 11 Niagara (2-1), No. 13 Northern Michigan (5-3) and No. 15 Ferris State (4-2).

Western Michigan began its season on a strong note by sweeping a road series from 1999 NCAA participant Ohio State by the scores of 4-2 and 5-1 in Columbus.

Several Broncos were bestowed league honors this season. Junior David Gove earned All-CCHA Second Team recognition after finishing third in conference scoring. He doubled his goals (18) and points (46) totals to lead the Broncos in scoring. Defenseman David Cousineau earned honorable mention on the CCHA All-Rookie Team, finishing fourth in team scoring (8-17-25) and tops in shots (105). The Broncos, who have a cumulative grade-point average of 3.15, were also represented on the CCHA All-Academic Team. Jason Redenius achieved First Team status, marking the 14th time in 16 seasons a Bronco has been named to the top squad. Mark Wilkinson was an honorable mention choice while Matt Addesa, David Gove and Chris Peck earned special mention.

Statistics don't always reflect a player's true performance. Although Jeff Reynaert ranked 16th in goals-against average during the regular season, he finished with the second most saves (971) and received the fifth-most votes among CCHA goaltenders in all-league balloting. Reynaert's 52-saves performance at Notre Dame (Jan. 21), was the third highest total in school history

Seven Broncos had career-best seasons in terms of point totals, led by sophomore Mike Bishai, who recorded 37 points after having just three the previous season.

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

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