The No. 7 ranked Western Michigan University Broncos head to Ann Arbor to take on a rebuilding University of Michigan Wolverines hockey team in Central Collegiate Hockey Association play Friday and Saturday night at Yost Ice Arena.
The Broncos (10-3-1, 7-2-1-1) are coming off a weekend series sweep against last year’s National Title runner-up, Ferris State University. The Wolverines (5-8-2, 3-6-2-2) were idol last weekend.
“Right now our total focus is 7:35 p.m. at Yost Ice Arena against Michigan,” said Head Coach Andy Murray during Monday’s weekly press conference. “Great team, great program. They’ve had two weeks to prepare for this series against us, and their season hasn’t started the way they’d like but they got a lot of talent and a lot of pride and certainly they’re going to come at us hard.”
Last weekend, WMU beat Ferris State 4-2 and 2-1. Dane Walters scored two goals on Friday and added an assist on Saturday in route to being named the CCHA Postgame Offensive Player of the Week this past week.
The Broncos trail the all-time series against the Wolverines 68-29-10, but went 2-1 last season, including a 3-2 victory in the CCHA championship game.
Last season the two CCHA powerhouses split an early season series in Ann Arbor. Walters has six goals in eight career games against Michigan, and fellow line-mate Chase Balisy has three goals in six games.
WMU enters the weekend series hot, riding a five game winning streak, including their third one-goal victory over the last five games.
“Bottom line for me is Michigan faces a desperate Western Michigan Bronco team,” Murray said. “We need to be desperate for points every night. When you lose, you’re never sure if you’re ever going to win again, so the best thing is to keep winning. We know we’re going to see a great effort on the part of Michigan and we need to answer the call.”
If WMU wants to earn six points this weekend, they’ll have to stop Michigan senior forward A.J. Treais, who leads all Wolverines with 10 goals, which ranks him fifth in the nation.
The Broncos will enter Yost Ice Arena boasting the top power play in the CCHA at 27.7 percent. WMU is 9-1-1 when they score a power play goal this season.
Both games are scheduled to start at 7:35 p.m. Friday night’s game will be broadcasted live on National TV on CBS Sports Network. Check www.cbssportsnetwork.com/channel-finder to find the channel in your area.