WMU News

Hockey Broncos look to secure playoff berth versus Lakers

Feb. 22, 2000

KALAMAZOO -- With four games remaining in the regular season, the Western Michigan University
hockey team looks to secure its first CCHA Tournament berth in three seasons. The Broncos are 8-13-3 in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association and in the 10th and final playoff position in the league.

WMU Coach Jim Culhane says, "We're down to the last few weeks of the season and every game is critical. We know what we have to do, and I'm looking for my guys to step up and accept the challenge of making the playoffs."

The Broncos entertain Lake Superior State University this week (Feb. 24-25) in a two-game series that will have an impact on WMU's postseason hopes. The CCHA series will be played on Thursday and Friday with 7:05 p.m. starts both nights.

"Lake Superior has turned things around this season," says Culhane, "and played us tough earlier in the year. They cycle the puck well and have been really solid defensively of late."

Lake Superior (14-8-2 CCHA 4th place) appears a lock for home ice for the CCHA Quarterfinals, coming off a bye week. Goaltender Jayme Platt is making a name for himself around the league, sporting a 15-10-2 record, 2.28 goals-against average and .930 saves percentage. Ben Keup is the lone Laker with double-figure goals (11) while Ryan Vince is the team's top scorer (5-15-20). Head Coach Scott Borek owns a 60-68-75 record in four seasons at LSSU and a 93-95-20 ledger in seven career seasons.

Western Michigan split two games in Sault Ste. Marie on Oct. 29-30, winning the series opener, 4-1, and falling short of a comeback in a 5-4 loss. In the last meeting, LSSU's Keup scored four goals in the first period and the Lakers went up 5-1 before WMU nearly pulled even. Lake Superior won last year's series, 2-0-1, and leads all-time, 56-30-10.

FOX Sports Net will televise Thursday's (Feb. 24) contest. Bronco hockey 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>.

Bronco notes

Western Michigan has been two different teams this year when it comes to home ice and road games. The Broncos are 5-2-1 in their last eight home games, which includes a pair of wins against nationally-ranked opponents (No. 7 Michigan State, Jan. 29 and No. 11 Niagara, Feb. 18). On the road, WMU is winless in its last 10 games. Fortunately for coach Jim Culhane, three of the final four games take place in Lawson.

WMU's freshman class continues to make an impact. Defenseman David Cousineau and center Ben Gagnon are among the best rookies in the league. Cousineau ranks sixth in overall rookie scoring. He also leads the Broncos in shots (88) and is third in team scoring (7-14-21). Gagnon is eighth among CCHA newcomers in overall scoring and seventh on the Bronco squad (8-9-17). Brent Rumble has five goals while center Shaun Rose and defenseman Rob Yamashita have become regulars in the lineup during the second half of the season. Andy Townsend filled in for Ryan Crane when the starting defenseman was lost for nine games due to injury.

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

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