Just a couple of years ago, Miami held a substantial lead in the all-time series vs. Western Michigan.
But the Broncos have won 10 of the last 13 meetings between these teams and the RedHawks are now just a game over .500 vs. WMU.
MU was swept in the four-game set vs. Western Michigan last season and has lost five straight to the Broncos.
This is the first meeting of 2019-20 for these teams, who wrap up the regular season with a series in Kalamazoo in three weeks.
A look at this weekend’s games:
WHO: Western Michigan Broncos (14-10-4) at Miami RedHawks (6-14-4).
WHEN: Friday and Saturday – 7:05 p.m.
WHERE: Cady Arena (3,642), Oxford, Ohio.
ALL-TIME SERIES: Miami leads, 68-67-11.
WESTERN MICHIGAN RADIO: Both nights – WZOX-FM (96.5), Kalamazoo, Mich.
MIAMI RADIO: Both nights – WMOH-AM (1450), Hamilton, Ohio; WFMG-FM (101.3), Richmond, Ind.
STREAM: Both nights – NCHC.tv.
NOTES: Western Michigan has caught fire the past month, winning seven of its last eight and outscoring its opponents, 50-20 in that span.
That’s an average of 6.3 goals per game over the course of five weeks for a team that’s seventh in the NCAA in overall scoring rate.
The Broncos have amazingly balanced scoring: No one on the team has double-digits in goals but nine skaters have scored at least six times.
Five have exactly 16 points, and nine are sitting between 15 and 18 for the season.
St. Louis draftee Hugh McGing leads the team in assists (20) and points (27), as the senior recently eclipsed the 100-point mark for his career.
Dawson DiPietro is the only other WMU skater with more than 20 points, as he is tied for the team lead with nine goals – all at even strength – and has dished out 12 assists for 21 points.
Paul Washe and Rhett Kingston also have nine goals, and Flyers selection and oft-injured Wade Allison is 8-9-17 despite playing in just 19 games.
Ten Broncos forwards overall have at least 15 points.
Western Michigan hasn’t gotten a ton of production from its defensemen, who have a combined 16 goals and 56 assists.
Michael Joyaux, younger brother of former Miamians Chris and Matt Joyaux, leads the team in defenseman assists (14) and points (16).
Freshman Philadelphia draftee Ronnie Attard has scored six goals – three on the power play – and a team-best plus-15 rating, and senior Cam Lee is 2-10-12.
Luke Bafia has added a goal and nine assists, and WMU’s other draft pick, defenseman Mattias Samuelsson, has scored once and assisted on eight other tallies.
Freshman Brandon Russi has handled most of the netminding duties for the Broncos, logging 89 percent of the team’s minutes and posting a 2.74 goals-against average and .907 save percentage.
Russi has started 27 of WMU’s 28 games, and Ben Blacker has played in six contests and has a 3.29 GAA and a save percentage of .895.
Despite Western Michigan’s success this season, the team is below .500 on the road (4-5-3). And like Miami, the Broncos have struggled to kill penalties, entering play with a 79.2 kill rate, ranking in the bottom third of Division I.
While WMU has thrived in the new year, Miami has not, losing five in a row, going winless in its last seven (0-6-1) and winning just two games since Thanksgiving (2-10-1).
This is the second-last home series of the season for the RedHawks, who are just 2-9-2 at Cady Arena and have won just three of their last 23 games on home ice.