Thursday, March 24, 2011

Midwest #3: Western Michigan

Western Michigan University Broncos

#3 seed vs. Denver
Midwest Regional (Resch Center, Green Bay, WI)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

At-Large Berth from the CCHA

Record: 19-12-10
Head Coach: Jeff Blashill

Good on ya, Western Michigan.  Last season, Western finishing in 12th place in the CCHA.  They won 8 games all season and scored just 76 goals.  In just his first season as ABCDEFGHI got a boss in Kalamazoo, Jeff Blashill has righted the Broncos ship of state, and the Broncos scored 77 goals this year (in CONFERENCE PLAY, a total of 114 overall.) and suddenly the Broncos are making their fourth appearance in the tournament and their first since I was a senior in high school.  (Criminy, I'm old.)

Western Michigan's greatest strength is mental, they clearly are a team that comes out every night confident not only that they can play with anyone in the country, but that they can BEAT anyone in the country.  Blitzing Michigan on the Friday night of the CCHA Semi-Finals, they could have easily folded against Miami Saturday night when the RedHawks jumped out to a not insignificant early lead, but instead clawed their way back in to make it a game.  If Western is going to break a few eggs against Denver in order to win the Omelette Cup (Western and Denver*, Western and Denver, winner plays the winner of Spanish vs. Moons over My-Hammy (of Ohio)**), they'll need the tough-minded, disciplined approach that got them to this point.

This seems as good a point as any to point out that notable Western Michigan hockey alumni include ESPN's John Saunders, CBC's Glenn Healy, Versus' Keith Jones, and Carl's dad, Boris Hagelin.

The Dark Dark Dark Brown and Metallic Gold are paced by senior Max Campbell, (who was held scoreless last weekend at the Joe) and Freshman Chase Balisy, who has just a great hockey name.  But, and if we've said it once, we've said it 16 times, if Western wants to get to St. Paul, it's going to rest on the blocker and trapper of senior netminder Jerry Kuhn.  Western fans should feel confident that they will give Denver a heck of a game and at this point in the year, you really cannot ask for much more than that.  Good luck Broncos!***

*-Yes, technically a Western Omelette and a Denver Omelette are the same thing.
**-I'm sorry, "My Hammy University."
***-We hold no ill will towards Western or its fans, particularly because the kids in Kalamazoo seem genuinely and sincerely behind this team.  Plus, Western is the easy answer for "Where's Waldo?"

1 comment:

Mark said...

I'm very sad that I Left My Heart in San Fran Cheesy didn't get an at-large bid.