Western Michigan and Miami have not faced each other this season, but the long-time rivals will reacquaint themselves quickly, as they play the next four games against each other and match up in six of their final 14 regular season contests.
These will be the first games for both teams outside of the Omaha Pod, as the Broncos enter play winless in the last four contests and Miami tries to rebound from a 6-2 loss to North Dakota to end hub play.
WHO: Miami RedHawks (2-7-1) at Western Michigan Broncos (2-6-2).
WHERE: Lawson Arena (0), Kalamazoo, Mich.
WHEN: Saturday – 7 p.m.; Sunday – 5 p.m.
STREAMING: NCHC.tv ($).
NOTES: Earlier this week, Western Michigan added three players to its roster to help in its second-half run – goalie Ross Hawryluk and forwards Matteo Pecchia and Tim Washe.
Hawryluk was very good in the Saskatchewan junior system and provides WMU much-needed depth at that position.
Pecchia surged in the OJHL last season, and Washe – brother of teammate Paul Washe – had been thriving in the BCHL.
After starting netminder Brandon Bussi went down in the Broncos’ first game, things got ugly, but Western Michigan has recovered and senior Austin Cain has seen his save percentage rise to .872.
It’s unclear when Bussi will return.
Offensively, WMU is scoring three goals a game.
Drew Worrad leads the team with 10 points, eight coming on assists, and Paul Washe and Josh Passolt have nine apiece.
Ethen Frank is tops among all Broncos with six goals and has scored in four straight contests.
On defense, Philadelphia draftee Ronnie Attard leads all blueliners with six points (1-5-6), and the rest of the defense corps has combined for 13 points.
Mike Joyaux, younger brother of former RedHawks Chris and Matt Joyaux, has also been excellent on the WMU blue line.
The RedHawks have lost their last five games in Lawson Arena, as their last win in Kalamazoo came on Dec. 8, 2017.