Jan. 26, 2000
KALAMAZOO -- An emotional home crowd may be just what the Western Michigan hockey team needs to break out of its five-game slump when Michigan State (ranked seventh in the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine poll) visits Lawson Arena this Friday and Saturday (Jan. 28-29) for a pair of Central Collegiate Hockey Association games. Both 7:05 p.m. starts are sold out, however, standing-room-only tickets are available at the WMU Athletic Ticket Office (toll free 888-4-WMU-TIX).
The Friday night match will be telecast on WWMT-TV (Channel 3), the CBS affiliate in Kalamazoo. Both contests can be heard on the Bronco Radio Network (Flagship station WFAT-96.5 FM Kalamazoo), and via broadcast.com on the Bronco Web site <www.wmubroncos.com>.
The Spartans claimed last year's series with WMU, 2-0-1, and are unbeaten in the last eight encounters (6-0-2) dating to the 1996-97 season. The last Bronco win over MSU in Lawson occurred Feb. 7, 1997.
Every year it seems a new leader emerges for the Spartans and this season it's Shawn Horcoff (9-30-39), a fourth-rounder of the Edmonton Oilers. He is supported by Kalamazoo's Adam Hall, whose 15 goals is six more than anyone else despite time spent away playing at the World Junior Championships. Coach Ron Mason has two of the best goaltenders in the league in freshman Ryan Miller (9-3-0, 1.37 GAA) and All-American Joe Blackburn (8-4-1, 2.00 GAA). Mason is the winningest coach in college hockey history (854 wins) and owns a 565-251-57 record in 21 years with the Spartans.
Hockey Bronco notes
The Broncos have experienced two tough losses of late. Last Friday (Jan. 21) at Notre Dame, WMU built a 3-1 lead in the third period before the Irish scored three times in a span of four minutes and 18 seconds to prevail, 4-3, in overtime. Against Cornell (Jan. 15), the Broncos saw a stellar effort end in a 3-1 defeat after a flukey mishap in its own zone.
Goaltender Jeff Reynaert played the best game of his collegiate career in the 4-3 loss at Notre Dame. His 52 saves was the fourth-best effort in school history on a night the Broncos were playing their 1,000th regular season game. During a span of 51 minutes, 42 seconds, Reynaert made 48 consecutive saves. The 5-11, 160-pound sophomore turned away several breakway attempts, with his top save coming on a backward body flop reminiscent of Dominik Hasek.
If the CCHA were to sponsor a Most Improved Award, Mike Bishai (BEE-shy) would certainly be on the ballot. After going scoreless in 26 games last season, Bishai has lit the lamp 11 times this season, to share top team honors with David Gove. Bishai also ranks among the national leaders with eight power play goals.
Captain Jason Redenius is one of 15 nominees for the Humanitarian Award, given to college hockey's finest citizen. Former Bronco Shawn Zimmerman was a finalist for the award in 1997.
Defenseman Ryan Crane is out two-to-three weeks with an injured right ankle. Freshmen walk-ons Andy Townsend and Rob Yamshita have been filling in on the blueline.
WMU's next six games occur against the top teams in the CCHA: MSU (second place), Northern Michigan (second) and Michigan (first place).
Media contact: Daniel Jankowski, 616 387-4122; firstname.lastname@example.org
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