WHO: No. 8 Western Michigan Broncos (12-7-5) at Miami RedHawks (12-10-2).
WHERE: Cady Arena, Oxford, Ohio.
WHEN: 7:35 p.m. Friday, 7:05 p.m. Saturday.
TV: ONN both nights.
MIAMI RADIO: Friday—None. Saturday—WMOH-AM (1450), Hamilton, Ohio.
WESTERN MICHIGAN RADIO: Both nights—WKZO-FM (96.5), Kalamazoo, Mich. (www.wkzo.com/listen-live)
NOTES: Western Michigan is coming off a sweep in a home-and-home series with Notre Dame, which vaulted the Broncos to eighth in the polls.
Coach Andy Murray has continued the work of Jeff Blashill, who led WMU to its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1995-96 last season.
WMU’s offense is led by sophomores Nashville Predators draft pick Chase Balisy and former Miami recruit Shane Berschbach. Balisy has nine goals and 15 assists for a team-best 24 points, and Berschbach has six goals and a Broncos-high 16 assists for 22 points.
Junior right wing Dane Walters leads Western Michigan in goals with 10, and he also has eight helpers.
Forwards seniors Derek Roehl and Ian Slater, as well as junior Trevor Elias, have also contributed offensively for the Broncos. Roehl has five goals and six assists and Slater has chipped in with three goals and seven helpers, while Elias has six goals and four assists.
Western Michigan has gotten 15 goals from its defensemen this season (Miami has four), with junior Matt Tennyson accounting for seven, as well as eight assists. Sophomore Dennis Brown has two goals and leads all Broncos blueliners with 14 helpers.
Sophomore defenseman Danny DeKeyser has three goals and freshman Jordan Oesterle two.
Despite having offensively-able blueliners, the Broncos are holding their opponents to 23.3 shots per game.
But WMU’s biggest upgrade from 2010-11 is in net. Freshman Frank Slobowski is 8-4-3 with a 1.98 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage.
Slubowski has played in 15 of 24 games and is averaging a half a goal per game allowed less than junior backup Nick Pisellini, so Miami will likely face Slubowski both nights.
A Western Michigan strength has been jumping on its opponents early. The Broncos have scored 23 first-period goals and have surrendered just 11 – the lowest goals-against total for any team in the CCHA in any period except overtime.
WMU’s special teams are in the middle of the pack. The Broncos are fifth in the conference on the power play (18.6 perent) and fifth on the penalty kill (85.3 percent).
Western Michigan has only been assessed 287 penalty minutes – third-fewest in the CCHA.
These teams played five times last season, with Miami finishing 3-1-1, including a 5-2 win in the CCHA championship game in Detroit.
Miami has dominated the Broncos in recent years, going 15-2-2 in their last 19 meetings dating back to January 2006.
The RedHawks played nine of their last 10 games away from Cady Arena, but they will finish the season with 9 of 12 games at home.
Freshman Jimmy Mullin and junior Reilly Smith are Miami’s hottest two forwards with seven points each in their last six games. On defense, senior Chris Wideman has four assists in his last five games.
Freshman Tyler Biggs should return up front after serving a two-game suspension last weekend. That may force freshman Alex Wideman back to the bench to make room for him in the lineup.
Senior Connor Knapp should be back in net after stopping 78 of 80 shots in his last three games. Fellow senior Cody Reichard allowed four goals on 26 shots last Saturday.
-- Contact John at email@example.com
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