Bronco Hockey Heads to the Great Lakes Invitational
2012 Great Lakes Invitational
#8/7 Western Michigan (11-4-1, 8-3-1-1 CCHA) vs. Michigan State (5-8-2, 4-10-1-0 CCHA)
All-Time series — Michigan State leads 64-29-8
Dec. 29, 2012 // Joe Louis Arena (20,066)
3:35 p.m. // Detroit, Mich. // Fox Sports Detroit
Saturday's game will be broadcast live in HD on Fox Sports Detroit. There is no live stream for either of WMU's games in the Great Lakes Invitational.
RETURN TO THE GLI
It has been 26 years since Wester Michigan has played in the Great Lakes Invitational and only the third time ever the program has played in the prestigious holiday tournament. This is also the 26th regular season tournament the Broncos have taken part in and the first since the 2008 Dodge Holiday Classic at Minnesota.
1986 was the last appearance at the GLI for Western Michigan. The Broncos defeated Michigan State, 7-3, in the semifinal game and then trounced Michigan 8-2 in the championship game. The Broncos were also in the GLI in 1977, where they fell to Michigan Tech and Lake Superior State.
After winning the 1986 GLI the Broncos dominated the All-Tournament team. Goalie Bill Horn, defenseman Wayne Gagne and forwards Henry Fung and Jeff Green were all named to the All-Tournament team. Horn was named the MVP after making 72 saves in the two games.
Michigan State leads the all-time series 64-29-8 and has a 3-2-0 edge at neutral site games. The Broncos are 2-4-0 in their last six against the Spartans but were swept in their most recent meetings last season in Kalamazoo.
Trevor Elias has done the most damage against Michigan State, tallying five points on one goal and four assists in six career games. Chase Balisy, Shane Berschbach, Dennis Brown and Dan DeKeyser each have two points. Only Elias, Brown and Ben Warda, who started his career at Michigan State, have scored goals in their careers against the Spartans. No goalie that WMU will be dressing has ever played against Michigan State.
WMU AT THE JOE
WMU returns to Joe Louis Arena for the third straight season after back-to-back CCHA Championship game runs, including the program’s first CCHA Tournament Championship last season. All-time the Broncos are 10-8-0 at Joe Louis Arena and are 3-1 in their last four.
Dane Walters, Shane Berschbach and Mike Leone all have five points in four games in their careers at JLA. Walters has three goals and two assists, Leone has netted two goals with three assist and Berschbach, a Detroit area native, has five assists in four games. Dan DeKeyser has two assists in four games but has been twice named to the CCHA All-Tournament team for his performances at The Joe. Frank Slubowski has made two starts and earned two wins with a 2.00 goals against average and a .920 save percentage. His lone trip to Detroit earned him the CCHA Tournament MVP and a CCHA Championship ring.
A FAMILIAR VENUE
WMU head coach Andy Murray will coach in his 24th and 25th games at Joe Louis Arena during the GLI. Murray coached 21 games against the Red Wings as a head coach with the St. Louis Blues and the Los Angeles Kings. Murray went 1-9-1 with the Kings and 5-5-0 with the Blues. He is 2-0-0 at JLA with Western Michigan after leading them to a CCHA Tournament Championship last season.
Saturday’s game against Michigan State will be the 100th of the career for junior forward Chase Balisy. Balisy, a native of Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., has played in every single game possible since joining the Broncos for the 2010-11 season from the USNTDP U-18 program. Through 99 games the Nashville Predators draft pick has tallied 78 points on 31 goals and 47 assists. He will become the fourth player on the roster with at least 100 games in his career, joining Dane Walters (122), Luke Witkowski (130) and Trevor Elias (130). Balisy is on pace to become the 52nd Bronco to break 100 points in his career.
WMU VERSUS THE STATE OF MICHIGAN
The Broncos will be playing Michigan State for the first of three times this season on Saturday. WMU is 5-1-0 in six games against Michigan schools so far this season with their only loss coming at Michigan. The Broncos hold wins over the Wolverines, Northern Michigan and Ferris State. WMU swept both the Wildcats and the Bulldogs.
Should the Broncos play Michigan Tech, they will have the opportunity to beat every Division I hockey program in the State of Michigan, with WMU hosting Lake Superior State in January.
Frank Slubowski has started every game this season and started the last 19 games of the 2011-12 season between the pipes for Western Michigan. Assuming he starts on Saturday against Michigan State it will be his 36th consecutive start in net for the Broncos. WMU is 22-11-2 in that stretch. Slubowski has a 1.99 goals against average, a .917 save percentage and has six shutouts.