WMU News

Bronco hockey announces 2001 recruiting class

April 16, 2001

KALAMAZOO -- The Western Michigan University hockey team has signed two junior players to National Letters of Intent for the 2001-02 season.

The newest Broncos are right winger Jeremy Cheyne (Calgary, Alta.) of the Fort McMurray Oil Barons and right winger Patrick Dwyer (Great Falls, Mont.) of the Great Falls Americans. In addition, goaltender Mike Mantua (Northville, Mich.) of the Des Moines Buccaneers has accepted a financial aid offer for next season.

Cheyne (SHAY-nee) earned the Ernie Love Trophy as the Alberta Junior Hockey League's top scorer with 60 goals, 68 assists and 128 points in 62 games. Cheyne registered four goals and 11 points in 10 playoff games, finishing the season on March 19.

The 5-11, 180-pound Cheyne was named to the All-AJHL First Team and started the AJHL All-Star Game. He is the fifth player in the AJHL's 36-year history to enroll at WMU, joining recent alumnus Brett Mills (1996-01) and volunteer coach Brendan Kenny (1993-97).

Dwyer was named most valuable player of the American West Hockey League, amassing 33 goals and 57 assists for 90 points in 49 games. He led the league in assists (51); shared top honors in power play goals (15) and game-winning goals (8); and placed second in overall scoring (90 points). The 5-10, 170-pound Dwyer helped the Americans to a 42-18 record and a regular season championship as the highest scoring team in the circuit.

Great Falls is currently involved in the second round playoffs, where Dwyer ranks second among all scorers with four goals and 11 points in five games. He is the third member of the Great Falls squad to earn a Division I scholarship.

Mantua (MAN-tow-ah) compiled a 21-17 record, 3.46 goals-against average and .896 saves percentage while playing in 40 of 56 games for the Des Moines of the United States Hockey League. Mantua stopped all 12 shots as the winning goalie at the USHL Prospects/All-Star Game (Jan. 23), helping Team USA defeat Team World, 5-2. Mantua's season came to
an end April 3 in a first round Clark Cup series against Omaha.

Said coach Jim Culhane, "We're extremely excited about this class and the type of players we have brought in. Both forwards have great skating skills and are all-stars in their respective leagues. They're competitive kids, which is an attribute we're looking for in our recruits. They also are right-handed shooters, which we don't have a lot of on the team.

"Mike (Mantua) is a goaltender who can challenge for a starting spot right away," said Culhane. "He's very athletic and quick and has proven himself at the junior level."

Cheyne, Dwyer and Mantua will be joined by defenseman Mat Ponto (Galahad, Alta.), who committed during the early signing period. Ponto finished second in voting for the AJHL Outstanding Defenseman Award, recording 14 goals, 45 assists for 59 points in 63 games with the Camrose Kodiaks. He earned AJHL South Division First Team honors and received the South Division MVP award at the AJHL All-Star Game.

The 6-0, 180-pound Ponto helped the Kodiaks to a 44-15-5 record and a berth into the league finals. In 13 playoff games, he has three goals and nine points.

Culhane, along with assistant coaches Scott Garrow and Chris Brooks, assembled one of the CCHA's top recruiting classes last season, as right wing Jeff Campbell earned CCHA All-Freshman Team honors and defenseman Mike Jarmuth honorable mention status. Four other rookies became regulars in the lineup.

For more information, visit the Broncos on the Web at <www.wmubroncos.com>.

Media contact: Daniel Jankowski, 616 387-4138, daniel.jankowski@wmich.edu

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