Northern Michigan Preview

Western Michigan (3-4-1 overall, 3-3-0 CCHA) makes the nine-hour trek to the Upper Peninsula this weekend (Nov. 8-9) to take on Northern Michigan (4-4-1 overall, 3-3-0 CCHA) in a two-game Central Collegiate Hockey Association series.

Faceoff both nights is 7:05 p.m. in the Berry Events Center (3,902).
RADIO: Bronco Radio Network, Cool 101 FM;
WFXD 103.1 FM, Marquette
WEBCASTS: wmubroncos.com *www.nmu.edu/athletics
TELEVISION: Charter Communications, tape delayed both nights

LAST YEAR'S SERIES Feb. 8-9, 2002 * Kalamazoo, Mich. Western Michigan swept the 10th-ranked Wildcats in Lawson Arena in a series that featured plenty of offense. In the opener, WMU broke a 3-3 deadlock when Dana Lattery scored twice in the third period to seal a 5-3 win. The following night, WMU scored four times in the first period all on special teams (2 PPG, 2 SHG) while G Jeff Reynaert made 18 saves in a 4-0 shutout.

WMU'S LAST FIVE Nov. 2, 2002 UNO 2, WMU 0 G Dan Ellis stopped 22 shots to help UNO post a 2-0 win in the series finale. The Mavericks received even-strength goals from Micah Sanford and Gus Groslie and held WMU scoreless on the power play (0-for-6). Nov. 1, 2002 WMU 8, UNO 2 Jeff Campbell recorded a career-best five-points (2-3) and Dana Lattery scored twice to propel WMU to an 8-2 win, the most lopsided affair in series history. Pat Dwyer converted on a penalty shot against Dan Ellis in a second period that saw the Broncos explode for four goals. Oct. 27, 2002 WMU 4, Maine 4 OT Maine's Chris Heisten scored an extra-attacker goal with 1:05 left in regulation to force a 4-4 tie in Orono. Dana Lattery and Paul Davies scored twice for the Broncos, who recorded a tie against the Black Bears for the second straight year. Oct. 26, 2002 Maine 4, WMU 0 The Broncos suffered their first shutout loss in 83 games as the Black Bears scored the second-fastest goal ever against WMU just 12 seconds into the game. UM netminder Jimmy Howard made 16 saves in the winning effort. Oct. 19, 2002 UND 8, WMU 5 Aaron Gill's hat trick the first versus WMU since Oct., 1999 lifted Notre Dame to a weekend sweep with an 8-5 win in Kalamazoo. WMU scored three goals in the third period to pull to within two, 7-5, before UND added an empty netter at 19:13.

SCOUTING NORTHERN MICHIGAN Northern Michigan took a pair of games from U.P. rival Lake Superior State in a home-and-home series (3-2, 3-0) last weekend (Nov. 1-2). The wins snapped a three-game losing streak in conference play. Senior F Chris Gobert leads the Wildcats in scoring (4-11-15), ranking first in CCHA assists and third in points. Senior F Mike Stutzel (5-5-10) and freshman F Dirk Southern (4-5-9) are also off to fast starts. The Wildcats have burned opponents on the power play, converting on nearly one-third of their opportunities (30.8%), the best mark in the CCHA for all games. Junior netminder Craig Kowalski has appeared in all nine games, recording the second most minutes among CCHA goalies (5:30:23) while also making the second-most saves (228). First year coach Walt Kyle, who arrived at NMU via the New York Rangers, made quite a home debut when his Wildcats handed Michigan State a 10-4 loss on Oct. 18.

STORYLINES PENALTY SHOT HISTORY When Pat Dwyer scored his penalty shot goal against UNO's Dan Ellis in Friday's game, it marked the first time in 10 years a penalty shot had occurred at Lawson Arena. Ironically, it was current assistant coach Scott Garrow who took the penalty shot on March 13, 1992 against Miami in a CCHA Quarterfinal game. Prior to Dwyer's attempt, the last one-on-one situation had taken place Nov. 8, 1997 when Frank Novock scored on Bowling Green's Mike Savard.

CAMPBELL'S CAREER NIGHT With 24 career multiple-point games to his credit, junior C Jeff Campbell made the 25th his most memorable, compiling a career-high five points (2 goals, 3 assists) in WMU's 8-2 win over Nebraska-Omaha. Campbell leads all active Broncos in career scoring with 42 goals and 56 assists for 98 points two shy of the century mark.

CCHA SHAKEUP Things have not gone according to script in the early going of the CCHA season. Three teams rated eighth or lower in the preseason coaches and media polls find themselves occupying the top three positions in the league standings. First place Ferris State (picked ninth in the preseason polls) has not dropped a game in six outings while Miami (10th, preseason) is just two points behind in second. WMU, tied for third in the standings, was projected to finish eighth by prognosticators.

QUOTING CULHANE ON NORTHERN MICHIGAN: "It's always been a concern playing at Northern Michigan because of their big ice (Olympic size). With that said, we have to play positional hockey, their ice lends to a lot of passing and we have to guard against their shooting lanes. They have one of the league's best goalies in Craig Kowalski and a high-power offensive line with (Mike) Stutzel, (Chris) Gobert and (Bryce) Cockburn."

BRONCO NOTEBOOK Goaltenders Mike Mantua and Scott Foster were named co-Bronco Players of the Week after allowing just four goals, and none in eight power play chances, during the Nebraska-Omaha series * Bronco special teams have killed 15 straight power play attempts over the last three games * Dana Lattery enters his third week atop the team scoring ladder with 10 points on six goals and four assists. He ranks eighth among CCHA players in overall scoring * freshman C Vince Bellissimo still shares the CCHA lead for game-winning goals (2) * prior to their shutout loss on Saturday, WMU had not been held scoreless at home since March 4, 2000, a span of over two seasons * this weekend's trip to Marquette marks the Broncos' first appearance at the Berry Events Center since a memorable CCHA first round playoff series in March, 2001. Two of the three games were decided in overtime (2-3, 4-5), while WMU's 9-7 victory in game two signaled the highest scoring playoff contest in league history * Jim Culhane has received balanced scoring this season with the team's top eight scorers separated by only four points * Western Michigan encounters CCHA pacesetter Ferris State next weekend (Nov. 15-16) in a home-and-home series starting Friday in Big Rapids. Saturday's contest will begin at 8:05 p.m. to alleviate football traffic congestion around Lawson * the Bronco Blue Line Club and Junior Blue Line Club are accepting new members, for more information contact Sean Budlong at (269) 382-6793 or consult the WMU Athletic web site at www.wmubroncos.com.

Broncos Illustrated Top Stories