ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Western Michigan star Wade Allison makes trip; Broncos search for top goalie

Western Michigan forward Wade Allison, a preseason candidate for National Collegiate Hockey Conference player of the year, has been slow in recovering from a lower-body injury that he sustained in January.

westernmichigan.jpg

Western Michigan forward Wade Allison, a preseason candidate for National Collegiate Hockey Conference player of the year, has been slow in recovering from a lower-body injury that he sustained in January.

The Broncos were hoping to have Allison by the start of the season, but he didn’t return to the lineup until last Friday against Omaha. Allison scored a goal in the game and Western won 7-2.

But Allison, a second-round pick of the Philadelphia Flyers, didn’t feel well enough to go again Saturday and sat out in a 4-2 Bronco loss.

“Obviously, we were hoping he would be playing by September or October,” Western Michigan coach Andy Murray said. “He’s getting used to the ache of a post-surgery. There’s nothing surgically wrong. He wasn’t comfortable so he didn’t play the second night (against Omaha).”

Allison, who is from Myrtle, Man., made the trip to Grand Forks and is expected to play in the series opener tonight.

ADVERTISEMENT

Murray, also a Manitoban, said UND is a good opponent for the Broncos at this time in the season.

“I think North Dakota is a great team for us to play right now, because we haven’t played a strong enough team game yet this year,” Murray said. “We talked to our players about it. That’s always been North Dakota’s trump card. Besides quality players, it’s always been their team game, their culture and their work ethic. So, if you don’t have it, it’s awful tough in here. We hope that it brings the best out in our team game.”

BRONCOS SEARCH FOR TOP GOALIE

Last season, Western Michigan finished with a team save percentage of .879, so Murray opened up the competition for the No. 1 goalie job this season.

He gave all four plenty of time in fall scrimmages and had stats kept on the goalies for all scrimmages.

All signs pointed to sophomore Austin Cain taking the No. 1 job.

But just over a month into the season, the Broncos are right back where they started.

Their team save percentage is .861 and they've used three different goalies. Cain is 2-2 with a .826 save percentage and a 4.17 goals-against average. Ben Blacker, the starter during the last two seasons, is 0-2 with a .870 save percentage and a 4.40 goals-against average. Senior Trevor Gorsuch has the best numbers with a 2-2 record and a .897 save percentage and a 2.83 goals-against average.

ADVERTISEMENT

"We really struggled the whole year last year with goaltending," Murray said. "We won a lot early, but we were winning 7-6, 6-5. You can't survive like that. We went into training camp and my plan right now would be that if you looked at our scoresheet after 10 games, only one goalie would have played. That's what you want. The fact that three guys have played is a reflection that nobody has taken the job."

Schlossman has covered college hockey for the Grand Forks Herald since 2005. He has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the top beat writer for the Herald's circulation division four times and the North Dakota sportswriter of the year once. He resides in Grand Forks. Reach him at bschlossman@gfherald.com.
What To Read Next
Featuring prep basketball results from throughout the region, area college basketball scores, boys and girls hockey results, and much more!
The league would launch in summer 2024 and is polling interest in possible host cities.
Featuring the prep honor roll, N.D. Class A and B prep basketball polls, N.D. East Region girls wrestling duals tournament schedule and much more!
The Tuesday, Jan. 31, game between Sioux Falls Lincoln and Watertown was forced to move after junior JT Rock broke the rim with a powerful two-handed dunk. Rock is committed to play at Iowa State.