Wolverine Preview

The Western Michigan University hockey team (8-11-1 overall, 6-6-0 CCHA, 8th-tied) returns to Central Collegiate Hockey Association play this weekend (Jan. 10-11), taking on the University of Michigan (14-5-1 overall, 8-3-1 CCHA, 3rd) in a home-and-home series. Friday's game at Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor begins at 7:35 p.m. while Saturday's rematch at Lawson Arena starts at 7:05 p.m.


Michigan is 15-3-4 versus WMU since the 1995-96 season, having won 11 straight at Yost over the same period. The Wolverines have won three straight in the series since losing at Lawson last October.

All-TIME: UM leads, 48-23-10
@ UM: UM leads, 29-9-2
@ WMU: UM leads, 17-12-8


Michigan captured last year's season series, 3-1-0. The Broncos won the opener 3-1 in Kalamazoo (Oct. 19) with Michigan answering the next night, 5-3, in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines then swept a home-and-home set in early March by the scores of 4-2 and 6-2.


Jan. 4, 2003 — WMU 4, Findlay 1
Pat Dwyer scored just 14 seconds into the game and WMU never trailed in recording a 4-1 non-conference win over Findlay at Lawson Arena. The Broncos scored three times in the first period and outshot the Oilers, 35-22, to halt a four-game losing streak. Vince Bellissimo earned No. 1 Star honors with a goal and two assists.

Dec. 21, 2002 — CC 3, WMU 1
Colorado College completed a weekend sweep of WMU with a 3-1 victory. The nation's top-scoring team, CC was kept in check most of the game, before breaking a 1-1 deadlock in the third period with two goals. Mike Mantua made 29 saves for the Broncos, while his counterpart, Kjell Bennemark stopped a pair of breakaways minutes apart to earn No. 2 Star honors. Teammate Peter Sejna scored in his 11th straight game.

Dec. 20, 2002 — CC 8, WMU 4
CC scored five goals on special teams (four power play, one short-handed) to pin an 8-4 loss on Western Michigan. The Tigers finished with a 41-17 edge in shots, as Joe Cullen, Colin Stuart and Marty Sertich scored two goals apiece. WMU's top line of Jeremy Cheyne, Jeff Campbell and Dana Lattery each accounted for a goal while D Brian Pasko notched his first goal of the season on a dump pass that deflected off a linesman's skate.

Dec. 7, 2002 — Cornell 3, WMU 2 OT
Ryan Vesce's goal at 1:30 of the overtime period lifted Cornell to a 3-2 win. WMU opened a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes on a short-handed goal from Brent Walton and a tally from Paul Davies. Cornell rallied for three unanswered goals, tying the game on Ben Wallace's first goal of the year with 7:49 left in regulation.

Dec. 6, 2002 — Cornell 6, WMU 1
Cornell scored three times during the game's opening seven minutes and never looked back in posting a 6-1 victory at Lawson Arena. Six Big Red players recorded multiple points, including Matt Moulson with a pair of goals. The loss snapped WMU's four-game win streak.


The Wolverines climbed two spots in the CCHA standings over the weekend (Jan. 4-5), moving up into third place after sweeping Miami (3-2 OT, 5-2) in Ann Arbor. Red Berenson's club is now 9-1-0 at Yost Arena this season. One of the youngest teams in the league, Michigan is receiving contributions from several underclassmen. Sophomore David Moss leads the club in scoring (6-10-16) with freshman Jeff Tambellini (12-3-15) right behind. Second-year defenseman Eric Werner plays like a forward, effectively rushing the puck to the tune of 13 points while also posting a plus-14 rating. Michigan will be regaining the services of F Dwight Helminen (6-9-15) and F Eric Nystrom (5-5-10), who helped Team USA to a fourth-place finish at the World Junior Championship. In goal, 17-year-old Al Montoya has appeared in all 20 contests, sporting a 2.21 GAA and .916 saves percentage. Berenson owns a career record of 490-236-51 in 19 seasons at Michigan.


The Hockey Broncos have changed their practice times for the second half of the season. This winter semester, Jim Culhane's club will practice from 9:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m., Monday through Thursday, at Lawson Arena. Media wishing to conduct interviews during the week should contact the Athletic Media Relations Office at (269) 387-4122.


For the second straight year, the WMU Athletic Department looks to create a sea of black at Lawson Arena when Michigan visits on Jan. 11. Special "Blackout Saturday" T-shirts are being sold at the WMU Bookstore and black Thunder Stixs will be distributed to fans entering Lawson. In addition, the Broncos will wear their road black uniforms. A capacity crowd is expected Saturday as last year's inaugural "Blackout" contest produced a student line that wrapped around the arena. WMU won that contest against sixth-ranked Michigan State by a 2-0 score.


Junior C Dana Lattery is averaging a point per game since returning from a hand injury that sidelined him for three weeks in November. Lattery has three goals and two assists in five games, with points coming in three straight contests. Lattery is tied for second in team scoring (9-6-15) despite missing six games to injury.


"Michigan is once again near the top of the CCHA standings and is loaded with talent. We're looking forward to the challenge of going into their building, which is always a tough test, and then returning to Lawson Arena, where our fans will really be into it. This weekend is a good test for us, and one I think our team is ready for considering the tough non-conference schedule we have played."


Western Michigan closed its non-conference schedule for the 2002-03 campaign with a 4-1 win over Findlay (Jan. 4). RW Pat Dwyer scored just 14 seconds into the game while RW Brent Walton and RW Dana Lattery added their team-leading ninth goals of the season. Freshman C Vince Bellissimo produced a three-point night (1-2) to earn No. 1 Star honors … the Findlay contest was completed in one hour, 53 minutes — the quickest game of the season for WMU. The Broncos have played six games this season in two hours or less … Michigan will be the fifth ranked opponent to play WMU this year … Walton has increased his team scoring lead to four points, having produced 19 points (9-10) in 20 contests. He leads CCHA rookies in overall scoring … sophomore G Mike Mantua has started the last 10 games in goal after splitting time with freshman Scott Foster early in the year. Foster saw his first action since Nov. 29 playing the third period against Findlay … senior D Dave Cousineau will likely join the 130-game club this weekend, a plateau reached by 68 Broncos. Cousineau has appeared in 67 straight games … WMU penalty killers have negated nine of 10 opportunities over the last two games … Western Michigan has won seven of 11 games at home (7-4-0), but are just 1-7-1 on the road this season … the Brown & Gold play host to Miami (Ohio) next weekend (Jan. 17-18) before hitting the road for five games.

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