Broncos Host Streaking RPI in Non-Conference Weekend
The Western Michigan Broncos return to their home ice this weekend for their final non-conference action on their schedule.
The Broncos have gone without a break in 2020 after almost a month off in December. With an open spot to fill in their schedule, Western will welcome the Engineers of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) Friday and Saturday. The pair of games will be just the eighth and ninth games between the two schools, but it will be RPI's third appearance in Kalamazoo overall.
The Broncos hold a 2-1 advantage in three games in Kalamazoo with Western winning 2-1 in a single January meeting in 1998. It was also the Engineers last appearance at Lawson Ice Arena. Those two wins for WMU are the only victories in the series (2-5) for the Broncos, who dropped a 4-1 contest in 2015 in the first round of the Shillelagh Tournament at Notre Dame.
Western has recently found success cooling off teams that have been riding hot streaks. The Broncos split their weekend series last week in Omaha with the Mavericks, doubled up 4-2 Saturday to end a five-game winning streak. The January success against National Collegiate Hockey Conference foes kept the Broncos in the chase for home ice for the conference tourney's first round in March. Western is in a third-place tie with the Denver Pioneers heading into the weekend. Only one team ahead of the Broncos is in action this weekend in conference play.
RPI has come on strong since the calendar turned to 2020, going 6-2-1 and 5-2 in ECAC Hockey conference play. Like the Broncos, RPI is recovering from a slow start and making their way up the conference standings, tied for fifth in the ECAC and owning third-best record over the last 10 games in the conference.
Western Michigan Broncos head coach Andy Murray talked with the media Monday after an "average" weekend in Omaha and the challenge that RPI brings to Kalamazoo. Junior center Austin Rueschhoff also talks about his line being the force behind the recent offensive surge during the past month.
Plenty of tickets are still available for both contests at Lawson this weekend. Friday's game currently has more seating available than Saturday's contest. Both games begin at 7:05pm. It is also one of just three more regular season weekends at home for the Broncos, as they welcome defending back-to-back National champion Minnesota Duluth and rival Miami in the coming weeks.