No. 7 WMU Opens Season Hosting St. Lawrence
GAMES 1 & 2
#7/9 Western Michigan (0-0-0) vs St. Lawrence (0-0-0)
All-Time Series: The series is tied 4-4-1.
Last Meetings: Oct. 22, 2011 - WMU 3-1; Oct. 23, 2011 - Tie 3-3
Oct. 12 & 13, 2012 // Lawson Ice Arena (3,667)
7 p.m. // Kalamazoo, Mich. // Bronco Insider
RADIO BROADCAST | LISTEN LIVE | LIVE STATS
The game will be broadcast live on the Bronco Radio Network: 96.5 FM (Kalamazoo, Portage, Mattawan). Robin Hook will have the call on Friday and Kory Lee takes over on Saturday
ONLINE BROADCAST | BRONCO INSIDER
Both Friday and Saturday's game will be broadcast via Bronco Insider web stream. A Bronco Insider subscription or weekend pass is required.
WMU hosted Western Ontario and battled the Stallions to a 2-2 tie. Freshman Nolan LaPorte and Dane Walters each tallied goals for the Broncos, who fired off 46 shots on net. Frank Slubowski played the entire game for WMU and made 18 saves. Western Ontario bested the Broncos in a shootout afterwards, winning 1-0 in three rounds.
The Broncos and Saints have met nine times in program history with the series deadlocked at 4-4-1. WMU traveled to Canton, N.Y., in 2010 to battle the SLU, coming away with a 3-1 win and a 3-3 tie. Shane Berschbach, Dennis Brown and Luke Witkowski are the only current Broncos on the team that registered points at St. Lawrence, with each tallying an assist. Senior goalie Nick Pisellini started both games recording 49 total saves and allowing four goals.
SCOUTING THE SAINTS
The Saints are under new leadership, sort of. Last season Greg Carvel was named interim head coach last season after the retirement of St. Lawrence hockey legend Joe Marsh. Carvell finished off the season helping them to an eighth place finish in the ECAC. Despite finishing in the bottom half of the ECAC the Saints finished the season strong, winning six of their last 10 games.
St. Lawrence returns its top four scorers from the previous season, including junior forward Greg Carey. Carey, who netted a hat trick against Western Michigan back in 2010, was the team’s top goal-scorer and point man last season. He tallied 15 goals with 22 assists for 37 points. In conference play he averaged nearly a point-per-game with 21 points in 22 games. Senior Kyle Flanagan tied Carey for the team lead in points and was the top distributor on the team with 23 assists. Flanagan’s 37 points and 14 goals were made even more impressive by the fact that he appeared in just 28 games last season, averaging 1.32 points per game. Sophomore forward Chris Martin is coming off a fantastic freshman season that saw him finish third on the team in scoring with 26 points off of 10 goals and 14 assists.
Senior George Hughes was the Saints’ top scoring blue-liner with 24 points last season, with his 20 assists being third best on the team. St. Lawrence only lost four skaters due to graduation and returned the bulk of their team, including junior goalie Matt Weninger. Weninger appeared in 32 games last season with a 13-16-3 record, a 3.09 goals against average and a .896 save percentage. In his career Weninger has a 2.89 goals against average and an impressive .904 save percentage.
The Saints averaged 2.44 goals per game last season, ranking 47th in the nation. The ranked 51st in defense after allowing 3.33 goals per game.
CELEBRATING THE PAST & THE PRESENT
This weekend the Broncos will be celebrating the past and the present. Prior to Friday’s puck drop the team will be raising their 2012 CCHA Tournament Championship banner along with their 2012 NCAA Tournament Participant banner.
On Saturday the team will honor the 1985-86 team. That team won the first CCHA Tournament Championship in program history and was also the program’s first team to make it to the NCAA Tournament.
WMU opens the 2012-13 season with five NHL Draft picks on the roster. It is the most since the 1985-86 team, which had a program record six on the roster. WMU’s NHL Draft picks are: Colton Hargrove (BOS’12), Chase Balisy (NSH’11), Garrett Haar (WSH’11), Mike Cichy (MTL’09), Luke Witkowski (TB’08).
WMU heads into this season with three captains. Seniors Luke Witkowski and Dane Walters and junior defenseman Dan DeKeyser will all wear the “C” this season, with no assistant captains. Walters and Witkowski were both assistant captains last season and both have been captains during their junior hockey careers in the United States Hockey League. Witkowski was a captain of the Fargo Force and Walters was a captain with the Sioux Falls Stampede.
581 DAYS IN THE MAKING
Should junior forward Mike Cichy suit up for the Broncos against St. Lawrence on Friday, it will be his first Division I varsity hockey game in 581 days. Cichy, a draft pick of the Montreal Canadiens, had to sit out last season after transferring in from North Dakota, where he played two years. Should he score a goal in his debut, it would be 681 days between goals.
WMU’s Chase Balisy, Dan DeKeyser and Frank Slubowski were named Preseason First Team All-CCHA last week. The team is decided by a coach’s only vote and head coaches are not allowed to vote for their own players.
It is only the second-ever time since the league started releasing preseason all-conference lists back in 2004 that a Bronco has made First Team. WMU has never had three players named Preseason All-CCHA until this season. DeKeyser, a Second Team All-American, Second Team All-CCHA selection and last year’s CCHA’s Best Defensive Defenseman, received the second-most votes out of any player other than Notre Dame’s T.J. Tynan. DeKeyser was also named USCHO.com’s No. 8 on their Defenseman to Watch list.
Balisy was named to the preseason second team last year and led the Broncos in points with 37 and assists with 24. He had seven goals and 14 assists in CCHA play last season and has 67 points in his two seasons at Western Michigan.
Slubowski enters his second season after being named to the CCHA All-Rookie team last season. He manned the pipes for Western Michigan in their first CCHA Tournament Championship since 1986 and was named the CCHA Tournament MVP. Slubowski set a single-season goals against record after allowing just 2.03.