Kalamazoo, MI (WKZO) – It was a historic weekend for the Broncos hockey team, as they swept the Michigan Wolverines in a series for the first time since 1986. With the sweep WMU is now leading the CCHA standings by one point over Miami (OH) and have moved up three spots to No. 6 in the USA Today Hockey Poll.
But as rewarding as this past weekend was, the Broncos know that the next month of games are going to be crucial if they hope to finish first in the CCHA regular season standings.
Their next opponent Ferris State is currently 4th in the CCHA after a weekend split at Notre Dame. And while Coach Andy Murray knows that winning at Ferris is important, he still emphasizes that no one game is more important than another.
“We treat every game as one game at time,” Coach Murray said on Monday during his weekly media press conference. “It was a good feeling to win the two games against Michigan. We’re excited to go to Ferris. Their tight and physical and Coach Daniels does a great job having his team prepared to play. It’s a great challenge for our team.”
While playing in Big Rapids will be a challenge for the Broncos, Ferris is 7-3-2 this season at Robert L. Ewigleben Ice Arena, WMU has had success at Ferris under Andy Murray, recording victories in both trips to Ferris during the 2011-2012 campaign.
“We’ve found ways to get wins against Ferris which is tough to do,” Murray said. “Every game presents a new challenge for us. But our team competes well on the road. It’s a great challenge for us. We aren’t looking at it as a two game series, we’re looking at one game on Friday and one game on Saturday.”
The series against Ferris will be a battle of strength vs. strength as the Bulldogs own the top scoring offense in the CCHA, while Western is allowing the second fewest goals in the conference.
The Broncos could receive some extra defensive help this weekend as Garrett Haar will be medically cleared to play. Coach Murray said that he still needs to see the sophomore defenseman in practice to make sure his timing is on level before he suits up again, but there is a good chance Haar plays this weekend.
Haar returning the lineup would be a big boost for the Broncos, but WMU has found contributions from some of its younger players. A big surprise this past weekend was from freshman Colton Hargrove. Hargrove recorded the game winning goal on Friday against Michigan and found the back of the net twice on Saturday en route to being named the Gongshow Gear CCHA Rookie of the Week. This is the second time this season he has been named CCHA Rookie of the Week and the third time a Bronco has taken the honors. Hargrove previously was honored after netting two goals in a series at Bemidji State.
Both games this weekend are set for 7:05pm.