WMU News

Hockey Broncos conclude 20-win season

March 15, 2001

KALAMAZOO -- The Western Michigan University hockey team (20-13-6 overall, 12-10-6 CCHA) closed its 2000-01 campaign with a first-round loss to Northern Michigan (March 9-11) in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs.

WMU and Northern Michigan concluded the regular season with identical league records and tied for fifth place in the CCHA. Northern won the tie-breaker based on head-to-head competition and hosted the first-round playoff series.

In their playoff series at Marquette, the Broncos lost the first game 3-2 in overtime, won 9-7 in the second game, and lost 5-4, again in overtime, in the third and deciding contest. The game-two victory snapped a 12-game losing streak in postseason for WMU, dating back to 1994, and was the Broncos' first win in Marquette since 1984.

Said coach Jim Culhane, "I'm very pleased with the growth of our program [during the past two seasons], to go from nine wins to 20 and from ninth place to fifth. We didn't reach our goal of hosting a first-round playoff series, but looking at the big picture, it was a solid year.

WMU finished tied for fifth in the CCHA standings after being tabbed for 11th place in the preseason media and coaches polls.

"We have a strong group of players returning," said Culhane. "We still have some areas to work on, mainly our physical strength and adding depth to the lineup.

Southwest Michigan and the WMU community embraced the Broncos in 2000-01. Lawson Arena was sold out three times and drew its largest crowd in four years with 4,575 attending the Michigan State game on Feb. 16. WMU students were lined up at the doors three hours prior to faceoff that evening.

"The support we received this year [from the fans] was phenomenal," said Culhane, "I'm not sure if they realize just how much they affect the outcome of games with their enthusiasm and energy."

Several Broncos received league honors for their play this season. Senior captain David Gove and junior center Mike Bishai were named to the All-CCHA Second Team after sharing the league scoring title with 43 points in 28 conference games. Gove was also chosen to the CCHA All-Academic Team. Right wing Jeff Campbell earned a spot on the CCHA All-Rookie Team, and defenseman Mike Jarmuth receiving honorable mention. David Cousineau and Mark Wilkinson were honorable mention CCHA All-Academic team selections. Ben Gagnon and Brett Mills achieved special mention.

Mike Bishai's 68 points for the 2000-01 season were the most since Paul Polillo registered 85 in 1987-88, and his 45 assists were the most since Polillo garnered 46 in 1988-89. Bishai was NCAA's leading scorer with 1.84 points per game (as of March 11).

David Gove finished his career with 143 points to rank 22nd all-time in scoring for WMU.

Steve Rymsha tied a school record with six game-winning goals, a feat accomplished by Troy Thrun (1985-86) and Ron Hoover (1987-88). Rymsha was also a first-round selection, seventh overall, of the Kalamazoo Wings in the United Hockey League North American Amateur Draft on March 13.

Jeff Campbell finished as the team's top goal scorer with 26 markers, fourth-best in school history among freshmen. Campbell set a school record with goals in nine consecutive games and registered points in 32 of 37 games played.

The WMU Hockey Awards Banquet is set for Saturday, April 14, at the Fetzer Center. The reception begins at 6 p.m. and dinner begins at 7 p.m. For more information, call (616)

Season highlights

  • 15 weeks ranked among the top 15 teams in the nation
  • No. 5 national ranking (Jan. 2-14)
  • 11-game unbeaten streak (10-0-1)
  • 4-2 victory over No. 1-ranked Michigan State (Feb. 16)
  • U.S. College Hockey Online (USCHO) Team of the Week
  • CCHA co-scoring champions: David Gove, Mike Bishai
  • Nation's top scoring team (Jan. 7-27)
  • Five players in the NCAA Top 20 in points, goals, assists, power-play goals, game-winning goals and goaltender winning percentage.
  • League-high 10 CCHA Player of the Week selections

For more information, visit the Broncos on the Web <www.wmubroncos.com>.

Media contact: Daniel Jankowski, 616 387-4122, daniel.jankowski@wmich.edu

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