Broncos Prepare for Canada

KALAMAZOO - For the first time since late September, the Western Michigan University hockey team will have a week off from competitive action, choosing instead to concentrate on studies and final exams.

The Broncos recorded a pair of wins over 14th-ranked Notre Dame (8-6, 6-4) at Lawson Arena last weekend (Dec. 5-6), sweeping the first-place Irish for the first time since the 1995-96 season. The Brown & Gold now rank as the highest scoring team in the CCHA (3.47) and own the second-most prolific power play (20.7%).

Jim Culhane's squad has won four of its last five games, improving to 9-8-2 overall and 5-5-1 in league play. Over the course of two weeks, the Broncos have leaped over four teams in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association standings and currently reside in eighth place.

Senior captain Dana Lattery (Cochrane, Alta.) has scored goals in seven straight games ? two shy of the team record held by teammate Jeff Campbell (Hensall, Ont.). Lattery is averaging 1.37 points per game, standing atop the team scoring ladder with 22 points (11 goals, 11 assists) in 16 games. He also ranks fourth in CCHA overall scoring. Sophomores Brent Walton (Elmira, Ont.) and Vince Bellissimo (Toronto, Ont.) share team honors with 14 assists apiece.

Western Michigan returns to action with a three-game exhibition tour of Canadian schools, Dec. 17-19 ? marking the first games on foreign soil since the 1977-78 campaign. WMU opens at Brock before encountering Western Ontario, which suffered a 6-2 loss at Lawson on Oct. 4. The tour closes at Wilfrid Lauier as WMU looks to improve on its all-time record of 39-4-4 versus schools across the border.

Per NCAA rules, results of the Canadian tour will not count towards WMU's season record or overall statistics.

Following its trip to Ontario, the Hockey Broncos are off the rest of December, resuming CCHA play Jan. 2-3 at Lake Superior State.

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