Since losing three straight games in early November, Western Michigan has won its last four, all by four goals, including a weekend sweep at then-No. 2 St. Cloud State.
The Broncos are seventh in the NCAA in scoring (3.93 goals per game), led by Division I points leader Drew Worrad and college hockey’s top goal scorer in Ethen Frank.
A look at this weekend’s matchup:
WHO: No. 6 Western Michigan Broncos (10-4) at Miami RedHawks (3-10-1).
WHERE: Cady Arena (3,642), Oxford, Ohio.
WHEN: Friday – 7:07 p.m.; Saturday – 5:07 p.m.
ALL-TIME SERIES: Western Michigan leads, 73-70-13.
STREAMING: Both nights – NCHC.tv ($).
MIAMI RADIO: Friday – WKBV-AM (1490), Richmond, Ind.; Saturday – WMOH-AM (1450), Hamilton, Ohio.
WESTERN MICHIGAN RADIO: Both nights – WVFM-FM (106.5), Kalamazoo, Mich.
NOTES: Western Michigan is six games over .500 despite playing a schedule that has included two games each against Minn.-Duluth, St. Cloud State, Denver and Michigan.
That makes Frank’s 15 goals in 14 games even more impressive.
The fifth-year graduate senior has six tallies on the man-advantage and four game winners.
But Worrad leads Division I and WMU in points with 25 – already a career high for the senior – including 20 assists.
Four more veterans lead the Broncos’ forward corps – Jason Polin, Cole Gallant, Paul Washe and Josh Passolt. Polin is a junior and the latter three are all seniors.
Polin is 5-8-13, third on the team in points by a forward, and Gallant has three power play goals and two game winners among his five markers, plus he has seven helpers.
Washe is second on the team with seven tallies, and Passolt has two goals and seven assists.
Michael Joyaux – younger brother of former Miami blueliners Chris and Matt Joyaux – leads the defense corps in points with 16, including 13 assists.
Philadelphia third-round pick Ronnie Attard is plus-15 with 15 points, and he leads all WMU defensemen with four goals.
Cedric Fiedler, Daniel Hilsendager and Jacob Bauer have been the Broncos’ other regulars on the back end.
In net, Brandon Bussi has played almost exclusively this season, posting a 2.53 goals-against average and a .912 save percentage, plus the junior posted a pair of shutouts among his 10 wins.
Sophomore back-up Ross Hawryluk logged eight relief minutes vs. St. Cloud, and he did not face a shot in his collegiate debut.
The Broncos are 3-3 in the league, tied with SCSU for fourth place.
Miami sophomore defenseman Dylan Moulton owns the team’s longest points streak of the season at four games, as he has gone 1-3-4 in that span.
It’s unclear if Ludvig Persson will return for this series. The sophomore goalie was injured last Friday but was called “day-to-day” later that weekend by coach Chris Bergeron and was seen walking around the concourse without a limp during Saturday’s game.
Winnipeg draftee and backup Logan Neaton earned his first career win in the finale against Long Island U., stopping 35 of 36 shots.
Injuries and illnesses have decimated the RedHawks the first two months of the season. In addition to Persson, Chase Gresock was scratched last Saturday after playing Friday. He scored a goal in the opener so hopefully he will return to the lineup this weekend.
Bray Crowder has yet to play a game this season due to an upper-body injury.
The RedHawks earned two of their five wins last season vs. Western Michigan, although both were in Kalamazoo.
Miami is 0-6-2 in its last eight meetings at Cady Arena, as the RedHawks’ have not beaten the Broncos in Oxford since Jan. 18, 2018.