Update: Western Michigan swept Minnesota-Duluth to advance to the semi-finals of the NCHC tournament.
Western Michigan has completed its first regular season in the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference. The Broncos are the fifth seed for the first ever conference tournament.
Western will play a best of three game series at Minnesota-Duluth beginning on Friday. The Broncos just missed playing at home for the first round of the conference tournament. But Kalamazoo Gazette sports writer David Drew says that may not be the worst thing for Western. He says the Broncos have played well on the road this season, and haven't always played their best hockey at home.
Western finished the regular season with a split at North Dakota. The win on Saturday was the Broncos' first win ever over UND. Drew says western should take some positive signs from that series as they begin the post-season tournament.
For the last three weekends, Western has lost on Friday and then won on Saturday. But Drew says it's important for the Broncos to get off to a good start in a best of three series on the road. He says Western needs to be at least very competitive on Friday.
Drew says goaltending and special teams will be keys to the weekend. He says Western's power-play hasn't been effective this year, but it will need to show some improvement. Drew says "taking care of the puck" is another key. He says the bulldogs have some speed and can take advantage of turnovers.