January 6, 1999
KALAMAZOO -- Western Michigan University's hockey team (2-9-6 overall, 1-8-6 CCHA) resumes play in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association with a two-game series against the University of Alaska Fairbanks in Kalamazoo. The games are Friday, Jan. 8, and Saturday, Jan. 9, at Lawson Ice Arena. Both games have 7 p.m. faceoffs. This will be the first season meetings between the teams.
The Broncos snapped an 11-game winless streak with a 4-3 victory over the University of Massachusetts-Amherst (Dec. 29) in Lawson Arena. Matt Addesa scored the game-winning goal with 2:05 left in regulation. David Gove notched a pair of power play goals, including his team-leading seventh marker of the season. The following evening, UMass freshman netminder Mike Johnson made 27 saves in his first collegiate start to hand WMU a 1-0 shutout loss. The Minutemen killed all 10 Bronco power play opportunities. The two-game series was Western's first of the season against a nonconference
The Broncos are down to five defensemen with the loss of freshman Derek McKinlay, who left the team after being declared academically ineligible for the second half of the season. With D Jeff Lukasak sidelined by a rib injury, coach Bill Wilkinson moved forwards Mark Wilkinson and Anthony Battaglia back on defense for the UMass series. Despite their inexperience at the position, Wilkinson and Battaglia were on the ice for one even-strength goal * G Matt Barnes, D Geoff Collard and RW Chuck Mindel have been named assistant captains on a permanent basis. Barnes is the first goaltender in WMU history to receive such honors * WMU has averaged 7.1 penalties and 17 PIMs over the last 14 games, reaching double figures in penalties just once. Western's 143 total penalties is the second lowest total in the CCHA * keeping to the philosophy that it is as good to give as to receive, WMU's top line of Mindel (28-2856), Addesa (8-816) and Jason Redenius (7-714) entered Saturday's game with even numbers of career goals and assists. Just off the mark was Western's second line of Gove (15-1429) and Frank Novock (40-4181) * following this weekend's home series, the Broncos play five of six games on the road.
Bronco Player of the Week
Freshman defenseman Austin Miller is the latest recipient of Bronco "player of the week" honors following the UMass series. Miller¢s 100-foot pass setup Steve Rymsha's goal on Friday. He finished with a +1 plus/minus rating in the series. Previous Bronco POW recipients: Dec 14 Ryan Crane; Dec. 7 Jeff Reynaert; Nov. 30 Frank Novock; Nov. 23 Chuck Mindel; Nov. 9 David Gove; Nov. 2 Jason Redenius; Oct. 26 Jason Redenius; Oct. 19 Matt Barnes; Oct. 12 Jason Redenius.
When Western Michigan and Alaska Fairbanks last met, both were closing out the 1997-98 season eliminated from playoff contention. The teams split (4-4 OT, 8-1 WM, 4-1 UAF) in Fairbanks (Feb. 27-March 1). This time around, eighth place is on the line as Western takes a 7-4-1 lifetime record into the series.
Alaska Fairbanks (5-12-0, 4-11-0) dropped home three games to Michigan State (Jan. 1-3) at the Carlson Center. Sophomore Jim Lawrence (6-814) and senior Chris Kirwan (7-310) head the Nanook attack. Ian Perkins (4-8-0, 4.21 GAA) has seen the majority of time in net. UAF is allowing a league-high 4.12 goals per game while its power play for all games ranks last at 9.2 percent. Head coach Dave Laurion owns a record of 74-112-8 in six seasons at UAF.
Western plays host to Northern Michigan next Friday (Jan. 15) before traveling to Michigan Saturday (Jan. 16) in a contest being televised lived by WWMT-TV, Channel 3 the CBS affiliate in Kalamazoo. Western then flys to Troy, N.Y. for a two-game nonconference series against Rensselaer (Jan. 22-23).
Media contact: Daniel Jankowski, 616 387-4138; firstname.lastname@example.org
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