No. 13 Western Michigan hockey is getting set to go up against another ranked opponent in the No. 2 St. Cloud State Huskies in a two-game home series this weekend.
WMU trails St. Cloud 10-18-4 in the all-time series. However, the Broncos have gone 6-4 against the Huskies in the last 10 matchups.
Broncos Keys to the Series
The last time the Broncos were on the ice, WMU was only able to score five goals over two games against Denver while allowing 10. For the Broncos to have a chance at a sweep, it will need to play better on defense as a unit and create more scoring chances by being aggressive on offense.
WMU is going up against the best scoring defense in the NCHC as the Huskies are only allowing 1.50 goals per game, first in the conference and second in the country.
The Broncos own a scoring offense that is tied for No. 23 in the country and is fifth in the NCHC with an average of 3.2 goals per game.
Western Michigan has a new points leader as Drew Worrad has surpassed Ethen Frank. Worrad has 16 points on the season scoring four goals while earning 12 assists. His 1.2 assists per game is third in the country behind a pair of Michigan teammates. Frank has scored eight goals while racking up six assists for a total of 14 points. Frank’s 0.8 goals per game is tied for fifth-most in the NCAA.
Along with those two, the offensive pairing of defensemen Ronnie Attard and Michael Joyaux will be crucial for the Broncos over the course of the series. Attard and Joyaux have combined for 20 points on the season so far.
The Broncos will also have its hands full on the defensive side as St. Cloud has been a powerhouse so far. The Huskies are in the top 15 nationally in scoring margin, points, goals per game and assists. WMU goalie Brandon Bussi and the team’s defensemen will have to be on their toes and hold the Huskies to as few chances as possible.
So far, Brandon Bussi had posted a 6-4 record along with a 3.01 goals per game average and a .896 save percentage.
Scouting the Huskies
St. Cloud’s State’s last series with the Omaha Mavericks ended in a split with the Huskies winning the first game 5-1, but suffering defeat in overtime in the second game 3-2.
The Huskies have outscored opponents 16-0 in just the first period alone. On the defensive side of the puck, St. Cloud has allowed two or fewer goals in 10 of its 12 contests.
The Huskies have two skaters with double-digit points and four with at least seven points. St. Cloud’s two main offensive weapons have been Kevin Fitzgerald and Jami Krannila. Fitzgerald has accumulated 13 points so far this season, scoring five goals and earning a team-best eight assists. Krannila leads the team in goals with six along with racking up four assists for a total of 10 points.
St. Cloud State’s special teams have been strong to start the year, leading the nation with 19 power play goals and standing in second place in power play percentage at 35.2%. The Huskies also have depth on special teams as ten different skaters have scored on the power play. The penalty kill has also been solid for the Huskies, currently No. 16 in the nation at 85.4%, while scoring five short-handed goals this year to highlight the penalty kill success.
David Hrenak has been the heartbeat of the Huskie defense this year as he has locked down opponents between the pipes. So far in 11 games, Hrenak owns a 1.50 goals against average while having a .939 save percentage and going 8-3.
The series begins Friday and concludes Saturday, with both games starting at 7 p.m. Fans can watch the action on NCHC.tv with a subscription or listen live on the Bronco Radio Network.