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Courtesy: Rachel Lewis

Bronco Hockey Hosts Notre Dame for Final Homestand

Courtesy: WMU
Release: 02/21/2013
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#8/7 Western Michigan (18-8-6, 14-6-4-2 CCHA)
vs. #11/11 Notre Dame (19-12-1., 15-8-1-1 CCHA)
All-Time series ­— WMU leads 41-33-8
Feb 22-23, 2013 // Lawson Ice Arena (3,667 seated)
FRI: 7:35 p.m., Sat: 7:05 p.m // Kalamazoo, Mich.

The games will be broadcast live on the Bronco Radio Network: 96.5 FM (Kalamazoo, Portage, Mattawan) on Friday. Saturday the game will be broadcast on 590 AM.

Friday's game will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network (Channel finder). Saturday's game will be webcasted by Bronco Insider

The Broncos earned two points on their road trip to Columbus with a shootout win on Friday and a loss on Saturday.

Friday’s game finished in a 1-1 draw with Matt Stewart tallying his first collegiate goal to tie the game in the second period. Mike Leone and Mike Cichy netted goals in the shootout to give WMU the extra point. On Saturday the Broncos twice led the game at 2-1 and then 3-2 but the Buckeyes scored a flurry of goals in the second period to put away WMU, 6-3.


Western Michigan holds the all-time series lead at 41-33-8 after splitting a series at Notre Dame earlier this season. The Broncos are 4-2-1 in their last seven against the Fighting Irish and went 1-0-1 last season at home.

Chase Balisy leads all Broncos in scoring against UND with nine points in 10 career games off of six goals and three assists. His six goals the most he has scored against any team in his career. Shane Berschbach and Dennis Brown each have seven points, primarily off of assists with Brown tallying seven and Berschbach tallying five with two goals. Dane Walters has six points off of three goals and three assists and tallied two in WMU’s 3-2 win earlier this season at Notre Dame. Frank Slubowski has appeared in six total games with a 3-2-1 record, a 2.47 goals against average and a .911 save percentage.

Notre Dame (19-12-1, 15-8-1-1 CCHA) comes to Kalamazoo after splitting with No. 3 Miami last weekend to pull within one point of Western Michigan in the CCHA standings. After losing five straight at one point in the second half of the season the third-place Fighting Irish have corrected their course and are now 4-2-1 in their last seven games.

UND comes to Lawson Ice Arena with one of the most skilled and talented offenses in the country. The Notre Dame offense is currently ranked 20th in the nation at 2.97 goals per game but the offense jumps significantly in conference play, where they score 3.25 to rank first in the CCHA. The top five scorers for the Fighting Irish are all NHL draft picks and have combined for 53 goals. Junior Anders Lee leads the team with 17 goals and 30 points. Pittsburgh Penguin draft pick Bryan Rust is tied for second on the team with 10 goals and his 25 points ranks him just above T.J. Tynan for second on the team. Tynan and senior defenseman Sam Calabrese lead the team with 16 assists, while Robbie Russo is the top goal scorer from the blue line with five tallies on the year.

Defensively the Fighting Irish rank as one of the best in the country, coming in at 10th allowing just 2.28 goals per game. Junior Steven Summerhays has seen the majority of the time in net, starting in 27 of the team’s 32 games. Summerhays holds a 16-11-0 record with a .919 save percentage and a 2.01 goals against average.

The Notre Dame power play ranks third in the CCHA and converts 20.2 percent of its chances so far on the season. In total the Fighting Irish have totaled 24 power play goals from a balanced attack. Lee (3), Tynan (3), Rust (4), Russo (4) and Mario Lucia (4) have at least three power play goals each on the season. UND’s penalty kill has struggled, specially in conference play when they have killed just 78.7 percent of opposing power plays.

Western Michigan is 5-0-2 following a loss this season and are 3-0-0 at home after losing a game. The Broncos have rebounded nicely when faced with adversity, shutting down opponents and holding them to just 1.1 goals per game. The offense steps up after a loss as well with WMU averaging 2.7 goals per game. Junior forward Mike Cichy has seven points in rebound games, while Chase Balisy and Dane Walters each have five. In net Frank Slubowski has a 1.12 goals against average and a .946 save percentage.

Last season under head coach Andy Murray the Broncos held opponents to just 92 goals in 41 games. The 92 broke the program record for fewest goals allowed in a season by 12. The previous best was 104 that was achieved in 2010-11, 2009-10 and 1974-75.

Currently the team has surrendered just 62 goals in 32 games this season. The Broncos would have to give up 30 goals in the remainder of the regular and postseason in order to not break the program record for the second straight season.

This weekend will be the final regular season home games for WMU’s senior class of Brett Beebe, Trevor Elias, Mike Leone, Ben Miller, Nick Pisellini, Dane Walters, Ben Warda and Luke Witkowski.

The class have combined to appear in 673 games as Broncos. They have scored 93 goals and 143 assists for 239 points. Pisellini, the lone goalie of the group, registered 11 wins as a Broncos and will end his career with a 2.38 goals against average.

Beebe, Elias, Miller, Walters and Witkowski began their careers with Western Michigan in 2009 with Leone, Pisellini and Warda transferring in the following year. The original four members went from finishing in last place in the CCHA during the 2009-10 season to winning the program’s second ever CCHA Tournament Championship last season. In total they have helped the Broncos to a 66-55-30 record through this week. After the 2009-10 season they have a 58-35-22 record with a .600 save percentage.