Broncos Host Colorado College to Open NCHC Playoffs This Weekend
The postseason push officially begins this weekend for the Western Michigan Broncos on the ice, as they host the Colorado College Tigers in a best-of-three National Collegiate Hockey Conference Quarterfinal series.
The Broncos earned home ice for the opening weekend of the postseason thanks to a weekend sweep of the Miami Redhawks on the road in their regular season finale and finishing third in the conference. Western topped Miami 5-1 Friday to clinch the home ice, followed by a 6-1 victory Saturday. Colorado College swept Denver in their final weekend, with Saturday's contest dropping the Pioneers to fourth. The Tigers had a hold of the sixth spot in the eight-team conference standings.
This weekend's action is just a start for the Broncos, who are still looking to lock up a spot in the NCAA Tournament. A conference tournament win cliches an automatic bid. They can also still earn an at-large bid depending on the results of the next two weeks. College Hockey's version of the basketball's NCAA Evaluation Tool (or NET) for their postseason tournament is the PairWise rankings. The hockey tournament takes the top 16 teams. Currently, the Broncos are 13th in the PairWise, or what is considered a four-seed in one of the four NCAA Regionals.
Broncos head coach Andy Murray along with captain Corey Schueneman discuss the previous weekend and some of the preparations for the playoff weekend at Lawson.
Also, if you heard Murray's mention of the Lawson Lunatics during the weekly press conference, there is some incentive for Western students for this weekend's action. The first 1,000 Western students for Friday's game get in free. The first 1,000 Western students for Saturday's game will also get in free, compliments of Coach Murray.
Tickets are available for both Friday and Saturday contests so far. If the teams split the first two games, there will be a game Sunday with tickets available following the Saturday contest. All three games begin at 7pm.
The winner advances to the NCHC Frozen Faceoff March 22nd and 23rd at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota, home of the NHL's Minnesota Wild.