"The win against Michigan was a big one for us." That was the sentiment of coach Jeff Blashill after a successful run to, and through, the CCHA tournament this past weekend. The Western Michigan University Broncos believe that when they play hard, they can play against anyone. They certainly proved that this season.
The second game of the weekend, for the CCHA championship, did not go as well. The Broncos fought back to tie the score 2-2 at the beginning of the third. Throughout the game they displayed unselfish and gritty play. "We talk a lot about being willing to take a hit in order to make a play" the coach remarked. "That is my definition of toughness. Anyone can make a hit."
Unfortunately, over about 8 minutes, the Miami Redhawks scored three more goals and the final score was 5 - 2. "Miami deserved to win. They proved that they are one of the top teams in the country and played at another level". Jeff Blashill spent time as an assistant coach wtih the Redhawks, and knows as well as anyone how well that team can play.
This weekend, however, things will not get easier. The Broncos will face off against the Denver Pioneers in Green Bay, Wisconsin. This is a team that they have not played this season, but the coach is well aware of their program. The pioneers are 7 time NCAA champions. In fact, Pioneers head coach George Gwozdecky holds the record as the only person in history to win the NCAA title as a player, an assistant coach, and a Head Coach. His 17 year tenure has seen great success. This year, the team posted a 24-11-5 record.
Both Coach Blashill and his team know that every team they face from here on out is going to be a great team. To view the first round playoff brackets, click here.
This season has already seen great success for our crew from Kalamazoo. But, it is more than the staff and the players that make this such a great program. "Our fan base really makes our program special" Coach Blashill states. The Brown and Gold faithful had a teriffic showing at Joe Louis Arena, and proved that there is something very special happening on the west side of the state.
Best of luck to the players and staff of our Bronco hockey team as they travel to Green Bay this weekend. The hope for this team is that there is still a lot more hockey yet to play.