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Tournament Preview: Western Michigan University (Round 1)

03/01/2016, 4:30pm MST
By UA Hockey

Match Up:

The Wildcats (9-16-4) are coming off a season of ups and downs. Coach Berman had the task of managing a young roster, so growing pains were expected. In the first half of the season the Wildcats started to show signs of maturity, executing with defensive determination, while also lacking any signs offensive production. At the start of the second semester there was a lot of chatter from the locker room on improving the offensive side of their game with the primary focus on puck support, executing two on one’s and winning blue lines battles.  As a result, the Wildcats were able to put up five goals or more twice in the second semester (5-1 over Midland and 6-1 at #8 Colorado). A feat they were unable to accomplish in the entire first semester. During that stretch the Wildcats pulled off upsets against #7 Ohio and #8 Colorado. The future appears to be very bright for the Arizona Wildcats Hockey program as they return to the ACHA National Tournament for the first time since the 2013 - 2014 season.

The Western Michigan University Broncos (19-10-4) really hit its stride in October when they went on the road to upset #6 Adrian with a 2-0 shutout victory. After their emotional split in Arlington they followed up with a stretch where they went on a an absolute tear. The run earned them a 10-1 record through mid-December, capped off by a 4-3 upset over #15 Illinois. Additionally, in early February the Broncos played #5 Davenport in two tightly contested one-goal battles during a home-and-home series. One of those heartbreaking losses came after a goal with one second left in overtime.

 

Scouting #16 UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA WILDCATS (9-16-4):

Arizona is lead up front by junior forward Toppie Hogan with 16 points (9-7-16) in 29 games played. Following Toppie is junior forward Alex O’Dea (4-10-14), sophomore defensemen Matthew Armenti (2-9-11), and tied with 10 pts each are Junior Forwards John Hogan (3-7-10) and Robbie Wilkinson (8-2-10). Between the pipes, the Wildcat’s have been riding red-hot sophomore goaltender, Austin Wilson (2.47 GAA, .931 SV%).

 

Scouting WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY BRONCOS (9-22-4):

WESTERN MICHIGAN brings a lot of scoring depth to the tournament lead by Matthew Williams with 43 points (13-30-43), in 35 games played. Following Matthew is forward Jesse Cameron (11-29-40), Casey O’Doherty (16-18-34), and Zach Mudge (14-19-34). Not to be forgotten is Mike Moroso who has 16 points (8-8-16) in only 12 games played. Apparently Moroso joined the Broncos at Christmas break after playing the first semester with the NCAA Division 1 -Western Michigan Broncos. Moroso has had a career track record of offensive production, including a brilliant career in the Jr. A league where he had 38 points (14-24-38) in 56 games played with the Port Huron Fighting Falcons of the N.A.H.L. Brandon Hasse (2.70 GAA , .940 SV%) has had the majority of minutes in the net for the Broncos. Hasse, standing at 5’9” 165 lbs. is a very quick/agile goaltender who can get hot quickly.

 

Previous Matchup(s):

These two teams have not played each other since November 21 and 22, 2003 at the TCC.  The results were as follows:

Nov 21, 2003: Arizona 3 – WESTERN MICHIGAN 5

Nov. 22, 2003: Arizona 1 – WESTERN MICHIGAN 2

 

Game Broadcast:

Thursday, March 3rd @ 4 pm (AZ time)

(Broadcast: http://golivesportscast.com/2016/03/acha-2016-mens-d1-hockey-tournament-nationals-march-3-8th-2016/)

 

Interesting Notes:

  • The Arizona Wildcats have not won a National Tournament game since 2003, defeating #9 Michigan Dearborn 8-2. Following this victory the Wildcats lost twice in the same tournament (there used to be consolation games after losses); 0-4 to #4 Ohio and 6-9 to #3 Minot State.

 

  • Wildcats Senior Defensemen, #8 Brian Drazner, will be capping off his Wildcat career fittingly in Chicago, IL. Drazner is from  which is where he is from Buffalo Grove, IL, which is located just outside of Chicago. 

 

  • Head Coach, Chad Berman, will be making his first return to Chicago, IL since accepting the job with the Wildcats two seasons ago. Before joining the Wildcats Coach Berman lost in the National Championship game to Arizona State after spending 6 seasons with Robert Morris University-Illinois as an assistant to current Head Coach, Tom ‘Chico’ Adrahtas.

Tag(s): Team