Mavericks to Invade Lawson

The Western Michigan (2-3-1, 2-2-0 CCHA) is coming off a tie that ended a 3 game losing streak to return home against the University of Nebraska-Omaha (2-3-1, 1-1-0 CCHA). The Mavericks have had an up and down season so far and will be looking for stability against the Broncos.

The Broncos played a weekend series with the Maine Black Bears of Hockey East, where WMU lost one game (4-0) and tied the other game (4-4). Both Mike Mantua and Scott Foster played complete games and both gave up 4 goals in those games. The Broncos made one big adjustment between the games at Maine changing all but one of their lines for the second game. The changes came with success when Dana Lattery and Paul Davies each scored 2 goals in the tie on Sunday, and Davies was able to add an assist to make a 3-point game for himself.

Western Michigan had its work ethic questioned by coach Jim Culhane two weekends ago after losing to the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame 4-2 and 8-5, but Culhane was very happy with the team's efforts against the Black Bears this past weekend. "I thought the team worked very, very well," Culhane said about the Maine series, "we worked hard both games. I was very pleased this weekend that we worked hard both nights, 60 minutes and 65 minutes."

Giving up too many goals has been an issue for the Broncos as well this season. The team has allowed four or more goals in all but one of their games this season. Giving up 11 goals while short handed is one big reason the team has given up 4.5 goals per game so far. Culhane said of the high number of goals allowed, "We need to do a better job on the penalty kill," and Culhane added, "First and foremost we need to do a better job of staying out of the penalty box,"

The Broncos continued their goaltender rotation this past weekend with both Mike Mantua (.843 SV%, 4.71 GAA) and Scott Foster (.832 SV%, 4.78 GAA) splitting time between the pipes against Maine. Culhane talked about the goaltenders, "for us to be a real solid team is we have to have two goalies that are going well, and they're not pleased about their numbers right now… but I'm confident in both, both guys played well [against Maine]."

The Mavericks are coming to Lawson after splitting their weekend against Boston University and the University of Massachusetts, both of Hockey East. Nebraska-Omaha lost to Boston U. 6-4 on Friday night before beating Massachusetts 3-2 in overtime on Sunday.

The Terriers of Boston U. were able to beat a very good Dan Ellis 6 times on 40 shots. "That kid is one of the best goaltenders in college hockey," Boston U. head coach Jack Parker said, "To get six on him tonight was pretty good." UNO got some very good play in the loss from Greg Zanon who scored 1 goal and 1 assist, and from Andrew Wong who tallied 2 assists. On the night the Mavericks scored 3 of its 4 goals on the power play, including one an a 5-3 advantage.

In the Mavericks' win on Sunday the team scored every single one of its goals on special teams. Aaron Smith had 2 power play goals in regulation and David Brisson was able to add the game winner in overtime with both teams down a skater. Andrew Wong once again made 2 assists in the game to give him 4 on the weekend, and Brisson added good play with 4 points on 1 goal and 3 assists. Goalie Dan Ellis faced only 23 shots in this contest making 21 saves to earn the win.

The Mavericks are currently lead in points by Andrew Wong, David Brisson, and Scotty Turner, who each have 7 points on the season. Coach Culhane said of UNO, "You look at the marquee players they have at Nebraska-Omaha and you have to respect their entire program. They have outstanding goaltending in Dan Ellis, a top forward in David Brisson and one of the nation's best defensemen with Greg Zanon." Only 5 players on the team, however, currently have a +/- above 0.

One of UNO's strengths is in its power play, the team has an average .258 while they are holding their opponents to just a .128 average on the man advantage. This adds to the pressure the Broncos have to stay out of the penalty box and to not allow as many chances while defending the power play. The Mavericks, however, have already given up 3 short-handed goals this season and are the only team in the CCHA with more penalty minutes then WMU, and that could give the Broncos an advantage with their aggressive fore-checking style of play.

Nebraska-Omaha is lead by sixth year head Mike Kemp, who is the only coach UNO has had since gaining varsity status in 1997. Coach Kemp, just 2 seasons after the team was founded, took his team to the CCHA and went on to be tournament runners-up to Michigan State. The Mavericks are currently on a 5-year home sell-out streak supported by a varsity boosters club that has more members than any other Division 1 program in the nation. Jim Culhane complemented UNO saying, "Coach Kemp and his staff have done an outstanding job," he adds, "if anyone wanted to take a blueprint for a division one program… the UNO situation from the institution and community standpoint, and the product on the ice is one that people should look at. They‘ve done a great job." UNO has taken college hockey by storm and in its short history, they have already established themselves as one of the most consistently winning programs in the nation.

This weekend's games are at Lawson Ice Arena in Kalamazoo on Friday November 1, and Saturday November 2. Both game times are at 7:05pm and can be heard on the Bronco Hockey Radio Network lead by COOL101 WQXC (100.9fm). Tickets for both games are available from the WMU Ticket Office, at, and at 1-888-4-WMU-TIX.

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