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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Broncos unveil schedule for '08-'09

Compiled by MiCHO Staff

Western Michigan head coach Jim Culhane has announced the schedule for the 2008-09 season.

The Broncos open the season with an exhibition match against the University of Windsor on Oct. 4 and then start off the regular season the following weekend. WMU will host Niagara on Friday, Oct. 11 and then host Rochester Institute of Technology the following night.

"We have a great relationship with the staff at Niagara and look forward to hosting them along with RIT," said Culhane.

The Broncos first road trip of the season will take them to Duluth, Minn., on Oct 24-25 to take on the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs of the Western College Hockey Association.

The Brown & Gold open the Central Collegiate Hockey Association portion of their season with a home-and-home series against Ferris State. The Broncos will host the Bulldogs on Friday, Oct. 24 and travel to Big Rapids the following night. Once again FSU is the Broncos rivalry partner and a cluster opponent, with WMU facing off against them four times during the 2008-09 season. The Broncos and Bulldogs played in six games during the 2007-08 season, four during the regular season and then in a two-game playoff series. Ferris State got the best of the Broncos, going 4-1-1.

WMU's other cluster opponents for the season are Nebraska-Omaha and Alaska. The Broncos will host Nebraska-Omaha Nov. 7-8 and travel to the Qwest Center to take on the Mustangs on Feb. 6-7.

The Broncos take the long trek to Fairbanks, Ak., on Dec. 19-20. The Nanooks come to Kalamazoo on Feb. 13-14, during Alaska's visit the Broncos will be holding the second annual Hockey Cares weekend. Last year the Broncos hosted Lake Superior State and both teams sported pink laces, tape and pink ribbon patches to help raise money for cancer research. The effort was spear-headed by coach Culhane, the American Cancer Society and the Kalamazoo Optimist Hockey Association and raised more than $10,000.

Conference rival Michigan State travels to Lawson on Nov. 1 to complete a home-and-home series that has the Broncos traveling to East Lansing on Halloween. The Broncos also have a home-and-home series with the University of Michigan. The Broncos travel to Yost Arena on Nov. 8 and the 2007-08 CCHA Champions come to Kalamazoo the following night.

WMU then travels to South Bend for a two-game road trip with Notre Dame, Nov. 28-29. The Broncos went 1-3-0 against the Fighting Irish, closing the 2007-08 regular season with 3-0 shutout of UND at home. Notre Dame finished runner-up to Boston College in the National Championship game at the Frozen Four in Denver. From there, the Broncos return home to host Miami on Dec. 5-6.

Western Michigan travels to St. Paul, Minn. to open the new year at the Mariucci Classic during the holiday break. The Broncos play Northeastern in the first game on Jan 2. and will play either Minnesota or Brown the following day. WMU will make its first trip back to Mariucci Arena since playing in the Mariucci Classic back in 2000.

"The Mariucci Classic is one of the more prestigious holiday tournaments and we are exciting to be going back," said Culhane. "It is one of the great college hockey venues out there."

The second half of the season sees the Broncos hosting Alabama-Huntsville to finish out the non-conference schedule on Jan. 16-17. The Broncos will also host Northern Michigan on Jan. 30-31 and close out the season at home with Bowling Green on Feb. 27-28. The Brown & Gold head to Columbus, Ohio, to take on Ohio State on Jan 23-24 and travel to Sault Ste. Marie to battle the LSSU Lakers on Feb. 20-21.

"We are really excited to have our returning guys back for another season and look forward to a talented freshman class," added Culhane.

All WMU home games are scheduled to start at 7:35 p.m., but are subject to change.

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