Broncos Host Redhawks This Weekend, Honor Nine Seniors
The Western Michigan Broncos have a lot on the line in their regular season finale this weekend as they honor their senior class on Saturday.
The Broncos look to recover from a tough weekend at North Dakota, falling to the Fighting Hawks 3-1 Friday and 2-1 in overtime on Saturday. The latter contest could have been a win for Western, but the Rhett Kingston goal was scrubbed after Hugh McGing was pushed into North Dakota goalie Adam Scheel by Hawks forward Jordan Kawaguchi. Officials determined by review that it was goaltender interference. Dakota would score just a minute later in the extra period.
Western head coach Andy Murray discussed his thoughts about the road weekend the disallowed goal that would have earned a weekend split in Grand Forks.
You also may have seen in the conference that Murray talked about freshman goalie Brandon Bussi being unavailable on the Saturday contest after he was hurt in the third period Friday with a collision from charging players. Senior Ben Blacker stepped in the remainder of the weekend and may see more time in the upcoming weekend with the Miami Redhawks.
North Dakota's win put the stamp on their third regular season title in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference in the league's seventh season. The Penrose Cup has traveled for off-season stays in Grand Forks and matches three title reigns by the St. Cloud State Huskies.
The Broncos, who dropped a spot in the USCHO poll this week to 17th, return home to welcome their biggest rival in the conference in the Miami Redhawks, who they played February 14th and 15th in Oxford, Ohio. The two teams have battled through the days of the original Central Collegiate Hockey Association (the conference is returning in 2021-2022 with several in-state rivals from the Western Collegiate Hockey Association) and are the only two teams that made their way to NCHC from the conference.
Western was able to take just four points during the road trip, falling in their 3-on-3 overtime and winning 4-1 over the Redhawks. The Broncos head into the final regular season weekend in fourth place, just two points ahead of surging St. Cloud and trailing the Denver Pioneers by two points for third. The top four teams in the NCHC get home ice for the best-of-three first round series in the conference tournament.
Miami is in seventh and could edge out Nebraska Omaha for sixth for the postseason. The Redhawks swept the Mavericks at home in 4-0 and 3-0 shutouts last weekend.
Not many tickets remain for the weekend. Friday night's contest has several great seats available. Saturday's contest is virtually sold out as the Broncos honor their nine seniors on the roster - Kale Bennett, Luke Bafia, Dawson DiPietro, Lawton Courtnall, Hugh McGing, Wade Allison, Cam Lee, Will Massey and Ben Blacker.
Face-off both nights at Lawson Ice Arena is at 7:05 pm.