Western Michigan Broncos (16-5, 8-5 NCHC) Ranked #3
After having their series with Colorado College postponed, the Broncos prepared to welcome 10th-ranked North Dakota to Kalamazoo for a two-game series on Friday and Saturday night.
Friday night’s game started off as a bit of a defensive battle, as both teams vied to open the scoring. Western Michigan managed to break through first on a power play goal from Ronnie Attard at the 15 minute mark in the first period. North Dakota responded with a goal of their own with less than 30 seconds remaining in the period, so both teams headed to the locker room for the first intermission tied at one.
The Broncos wasted little time in the second period as Hugh Larkin found the back of the net just under three minutes in. This would end up being the game-winner as North Dakota would fail to score another goal. Western Michigan added two more power play goals in the third period for good measure to make the final tally 4-1 in favor of the Broncos.
Saturday night’s game got off to a similar start, with neither team able to break through into the goal column. Once again, Western Michigan struck first with a shorthanded goal from Max Sasson in the final moments of the first period. Bronco goaltender Brandon Bussi was a brick wall between the pipes, making 24 saves along the way to record his third shutout of the season. Michael Joyaux added another goal late in the third to give the Broncos the 2-0 win.
With the weekend’s sweep, the Broncos rose back up into the #3 spot in the USCHO rankings. They also recorded a program-best eight first-place votes.
Next up for Western Michigan is a road trip to Minnesota to take on #7 ranked conference foe Minnesota Duluth (13-9-2) for another huge series. The Broncos are currently sitting in second place in the NCHC, just three points back of first place Denver.
Bowling Green Falcons (12-9-3, 9-6-1-2 CCHA)
The Falcons were off this past weekend and area gearing up for a road trip to Big Rapids, MI to take on the Ferris State Bulldogs (9-17) on January 28-29th. The Falcons and Bulldogs split their series earlier this year.
Miami RedHawks (4-18-2, 1-12-1 NCHC)
It was yet another rough weekend for the RedHawks on the road at St Cloud State. The visiting St Cloud State scored just under two minutes into the first game of the weekend, giving a preview of things to come fairly early in the proceedings. The Huskies scored again just a few minutes later on the power play to take a two goal lead, but Miami managed to get a goal of their own to cut the deficit back to one goal. Unfortunately that was the last goal the RedHawks would score on the weekend, as St Cloud State broke double digits on Friday night, taking an 11-1 victory.
The RedHawks did not fare much better on Saturday night, giving up three first-period goals on the way to another crushing defeat at the hands of the Huskies. When the final horn sounded, the scoreboard showed a final score of St Cloud State 8, Miami 0.
Next up for the RedHawks is a trip to fifth-ranked Denver on January 28th and 29th. As mentioned earlier, Denver (16-5-1) is currently sitting at first place in the NCHC. Managing to steal one game from Pioneers would be a big success for Miami.