The No. 6 Western Michigan Broncos are looking to bounce back from a weekend split against No. 3 Miami (OH) last weekend as they travel to Columbus, Ohio to take on fellow CCHA member, Ohio State.
WMU (18-7-5, 14-5-2-1 CCHA) trails Miami by one point and lead Notre Dame by three in the CCHA standings. Miami takes on ND this weekend.
Ohio St. (12-12-6, 11-7-4-1 CCHA) are coming off a weekend split in Alaska. The Buckeyes are in fifth place in the CCHA, nine points behind the leader.
Junior Chase Balisy has seven points in four career games against OSU and is the only member of the team to have scored more than one goal in his career against the Buckeyes. Tri-captains Dane Walters and Luke Witkowski and sophomore Will Kessel have each scored a goal.
The Broncos hope to have sophomore defenseman Garrett Haar back in the line-up for the weekend series as he has been out since December with an undisclosed injury.
The Buckeyes head into the weekend 4-1-1 in the their last six games. Leading the way for OSU are a pair of Ottawa Senator draft picks, sophomores Ryan Dzingel and Max McCormick. Dzingel leads the team with 28 points on 13 goals and 15 assists which is fourth best overall in the CCHA. His 23 conference points ties him with Miami forward Austin Czarnik for second place in conference scoring.
OSU’s senior goalie, Bray Hjelle, is statistically the best net-minder in the CCHA. His 1.57 goals against average is tops in the conference. WMU’s sophomore goalie Frank Slubowski sits in the second place with a 1.81 gaa.
Both teams will look for their defense to play a major role in the series. WMU averages 2.27 goals a game in conference play while only giving up 1.86. OSU averages 2.41 goals per contest and only allows 2.00.
OSU and WMU make up for the two best penalty killing teams in the CCHA. Western Michigan holds an 88.2% with OSU is right behind them at 88%. WMU holds the edge on the power play, ranking second in the CCHA with 21.7%. The Buckeye’s are in eighth with 15.2%.
The Broncos hope to earn the series sweep and use this weekend as a push towards the CCHA playoffs. Both games will begin at 7:05 p.m.
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