IN THIS WEEK
Western Michigan travels to Nashville, Tennessee for Friday’s 7:30 p.m. Music City Hockey Classic against No. 18 Northeastern to compete. The game will take place at Bridgestone Arena, home of the Nashville Predators of the NHL.
The Broncos parted ways with Minnesota-Duluth at Lawson Ice Arena, dropping the opener 5-4 and rebounding with a 5-3 win on Saturday.
On Friday, WMU equalized a 0-2 deficit and took a 3-2 lead, all in the first eight minutes of the first period. 0:2 back, Jamie Rom scored on a rebound to halve the lead. Cam Knubbel was credited with a goal after a UMD player put it into his own net during a late penalty against Western Michigan. As you finish the power game, Luke Gringer scored a goal from a man down without an assist to put WMU 3-2 ahead. The Bulldogs scored towards the end of the power play for a 3-3 equalizer to end a wild 10-minute opener. Quinn Olson previously scored just 1:47 in the second period Jason Polin tied the game to the power play, 4-4. The tie was finally broken at 1:05 when UMD’s Darian Gotz came out of the box and had a breakaway that scored to make it 5:4.
On Saturday, the Broncos had to come from behind again. WMU gave up an early power play goal but responded with a Zak Galambos strike to level it at 1-1. The Bulldogs scored at the end of the first period and took a 3-1 lead at 1:43 in the second period. Luke Gringer made a turnover and Ryan McAllister scored with a 2.1 second lead in the second half, shifting the momentum to WMU going into the third. Grainger then equalized at 3-3 after coming off the bench during a delayed penalty and putting a backhand ball into the net. Rome scored the game-winner at 4:32 p.m. with a blast from the right circle on the power play before Grainger capped the win with an empty net.
Western Michigan’s top line is freshman Ryan McAllister, senior captain Jason Polin and sophomore year forward Max Sason have combined 24 goals, 41 assists and 65 points in 15 games this season. McAllister is the nation’s top scorer with 26 points, seven goals and 19 assists. His 19 assists are also top of the range. Polin has 20 points with 10 goals and 10 assists and ranks third in the nation in the standings. Polin is also one of only eight players to have scored double-digit goals so far this season. Sasson is sixth in the nation with 18 points, 12 goals and six assists.
Western Michigan go into Friday’s game against Northeastern as the nation’s top scoring team. WMU leads the country with 62 goals and is tied with Michigan and Harvard at 4.1 goals per game. No other team in the nation averages 4 or more per game.
LIMITATION OF CHANCES
Western Michigan held Minnesota-Duluth to just 20 shots on goal in Saturday’s win. It is the fourth time this season that WMU has restricted an opponent to 20 shots on goal or fewer, and the eighth time that an opponent has not reached 25 shots on goal.
After scoring on the power play in every game against Minnesota-Duluth, the Broncos have gone scoreless in just four of their 15 man-advantage games to date this season. Western Michigan ranks 6th in the nation at 26.4 percent. Jamie Rom leads the team with five power play hits, followed by Zak Galambos with four. A total of eight players have scored in the power play for WMU this season.
#18 NORTHEASTERN HUSKIES | 7-4-3
– THE SERIES: A replay of the first round of the 2022 NCAA Northeast Region will take place on Friday. The Broncos got it 2-1 in overtime thanks Luke Gringer and advanced to the first round of the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history. NU still hold their all-time lead in the series at 3-2-1. The teams have not met in the regular season since the 2013 Shillelagh Tournament at Notre Dame. That game ended in a 1-1 draw and the Huskies advanced in the tournament after winning the shootout.
– RECOGNIZING THE HUSKIES: Northeastern got off to a slow start, winning just two of their first six games of the season. NU went on to have three straight wins after that with a win in Maine and a home win over New Hampshire. The Huskies go into Friday’s game 1-2-1 after parting ways with Boston University and losing and drawing to Boston College.
The Huskies have the sixth-best defense in the nation, conceding just 2.0 goals per game this season. Devon Levi is having another stellar season between the whistle for NU, with 1.89 goals against average, a .942 save rate and a 7-3-3 record with three shutouts.
Northeastern are averaging 3.2 goals per game, ranking 21st nationwide. Like last season, senior forward Aidan McDonough leads the team with 18 points, eight goals and ten assists. McDonough finished just behind WMU’s Ethen Frank for the nation’s top scorer last year with 25 to Frank’s 26. Justin Hryckowian leads the team with nine goals and has eight assists for 17 points. Braden Doyle is the team’s top defender with six points, one goal and five assists.
The team’s penalty kill slots are 18.2 percent (8 to 44). McDonough has scored five of the team’s eight power play goals. The penalty kill ranks ninth in the nation at 85.7 percent (48 to 56).
AT THE HORIZON
Western Michigan resumes NCHC play next weekend in Omaha. Both games begin at 8:07 p.m. ET and can be watched live on NCHC.tv. WMU returns home December 9-10 to host North Dakota on Friday at 7:00 p.m. and Saturday at 6:00 p.m. Tickets are available at www.wmubroncos.com/tickets.