GAMES 11 & 12
#10/10 Western Michigan (6-3-1, 3-2-1 CCHA) vs Northern Michigan (5-6-3, 2-5-3-1 CCHA)
All-Time Series: NMU leads 43-26-6
Last Meetings: Oct. 28, 2011 - WMU 4-2; Oct. 29, 2011 - WMU 3-2, OT
Nov. 30/Dec. 1, 2012 // Lawson Ice Arena (3,667)
7 p.m. // Kalamazoo, Mich. // Bronco Insider
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The Broncos were off but came back from Alaska after a splitting with the Nanooks. WMU dropped the first game 6-1 and then netted three unanswered goals in the third period of Saturday’s game to win 3-2.
Western Michigan trails the all-time series 26-43-6 but have won the last four games in Kalamazoo by a combined score of 18-7. The Wildcats have not won in Kalamazoo since Jan. 31, 2008.
Chase Balisy leads all Broncos in scoring against NMU with eight points on one goal and seven assists in six career games. Trevor Elias has three goals and four assists in his career, while Shane Berschbach has seven points off one goal and six assists. Goalie Frank Slubowski is 2-0-0 in two career starts with a 1.99 goals against average but a .862 save percentage.
SCOUTING THE WILDCATS
Northern Michigan (5-6-3, 5-2-3-1 CCHA) currently sits tied for ninth in the CCHA with 10 points in 10 games. The Wildcats earned five of those points last week after an overtime win over Alaska and a shootout win the following night.
NMU has had an up-and-down season so far. After sweeping Wisconsin to open the season the Wildcats have not won two games in a row since then. NMU has also been swept by Notre Dame and Ohio State, while beating and tying Michigan at home.
The Wildcat offense ranks tied for 39th in the nation, averaging 2.43 goals per game. The team will be without their top scorer in Matt Thurber, who has 12 points in 11 games off of one goal and 11 assists. Despite his absence Northern Michigan still possess plenty of firepower. Sophomore Reed Seckel and freshman Cohen Adair are tied for the team lead with five goals each. Stephan Virgier is second on the team with 10 points off of three goals and seven assists. Virgier, a junior, netted all four of NMU’s goals in a series at Kalamazoo last season.
Northern Michigan’s defense is tied for 40th in the nation, giving up 3.0 goals per game. The goals against average gets worse in conference play, allowing 3.30 in CCHA play. Jared Coreau has seen the lion’s share of the time between the pipes for the Wildcats. The 6-foot-5 junior netminder has started in all 14 games and has missed just 46 minutes of possible playing time this year. His season numbers of a .908 save percentage and a 2.89 goals against average are slightly higher than his career numbers of 2.79 and .917.
NMU’s power play has been much better in conference play than in non-conference action. In CCHA games they are converting power plays at 18.4 percent and are 7-for-38 in 10 games. The wildcat penalty kill ranks 54th in the nation and last in the CCHA at 75.4 percent, and just 73.3 percent in conference play.
Junior forward Mike Cichy is tied for the team lead with eight points on two goals and six assists so far this season. All eight of his points have come from two-point games. His first two came as assists in WMU’s 3-2 win over St. Lawrence. The following game he netted a goal and an assist in a 3-0 win over Canisius. He tallied two more assists in a 3-2 win at Notre Dame and then tallied an assist and netted the game-winning goal at Alaska. His two-point performance at Alaska ended a four-game scoring drought.
NEARING THE CENTURY MARK
Three Broncos are rapidly approaching the century mark in career-games played. Chase Balisy, Dennis Brown and Dan DeKeyser are all within 10 games of reaching 100. Balisy, a junior forward, has appeared in all 93 possible career games and 73 points along with it. Brown has missed just one of the 93 possible career games with 92 played and 40 points. DeKeyser needs just 10 more to reach 100 as the junior defenseman sits at 90 with 39 career points. The roster features three student-athletes who have already gone over 100. Luke Witkowski and Trevor Elias are tied for the most-experienced Bronco each with 124 career games played, while Dane Walters has played in 116.