Western Michigan Hockey: Losing Brandon Bussi detrimental to season
The Western Michigan hockey program has lost goaltender Brandon Bussi for some time, and it will be detrimental to the start of their 2020-21 season.
The Western Michigan hockey program has kicked off its 2020-21 season in the NCHC Pod in Omaha, Nebraska. The Broncos are now facing some adversity already after an injury caused them to have to remove goaltender Brandon Bussi from their first game against the St. Cloud State Huskies.
Bussi, a sophomore from Sound Beach, New York, had been the Broncos sturdy netminder in the 2019-20 season. Western Michigan hockey head coach Andy Murray trusted Bussi’s goaltending duties in 34 of 36 games on the COVID-19 shortened season last year.
In 34 games, Bussi had an 18-12-4 record while posting a .910 save-percentage (SV%) and a 2.65 goals-against-average (GAA) during the 2019-20 season for the Broncos. He was looking to continue his dominance again during the 2020-21 season, but that is on hold for the time being.
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Only three games into the NCHC Pod in Omaha, coach Murray is scrambling to figure out what to do with the goaltending situation.
He is left without his trusted netminder, who is out for the remainder of the Pod, at least with a lower-body injury.
In a last-minute 4-3 loss to the St. Cloud State Huskies, Bussi was forced to depart early after a non-contact injury left him wincing in pain.
After an injury timeout, Bussi was escorted off the ice, and Senior goaltender Austin Cain took over the netminding duties.
Cain has not been nearly as dominant as Bussi; he features a career .845 SV% and 4.18 GAA over just thirteen games in the Broncos net. His 2020 numbers are not factored into that, and that’s a good thing because it has not been pretty.
Besides Cain, the Broncos also have freshman goaltender Alex Aslanidis who could be a “remedy” to the problem Murray is facing. Aslanidis has logged 51:30 in ice time for the Broncos since Bussi went out injured.
Aslanidis has allowed seven goals so far. He and Cain combined have allowed the Broncos to be outscored 18-4 since they lost Bussi. It has been a tough two games for the Broncos, who are trying to settle in and deal with the new reality they will be tasked with for the rest of the NCHC Pod.
While the NCHC Pod is only ten games, there are sixteen other games to worry about after the first of the year in 2021 for Western Michigan hockey.
The injury is being kept a little “hush-hush” Brad Elliott Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald noted that Bussi would be done for the rest of the NCHC Pod, but that is all that was said, so the time table is not totally clear.
One thing is certain, Andy Murray and the Broncos are in a tough spot and will have to battle through some adversity. They still have seven games to go. They are currently 0-3-0-0, and it does not appear that it will get much better through the remainder of the NCHC Pod.
After the NCHC Pod ends, the Broncos will have sixteen games remaining, starting January 2nd against the Miami University RedHawks. The downside to this 16-game swing is that they will have to face the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs six times, which will be a tall task even with Bussi back in the net.
The Western Michigan Broncos have a tough road ahead of them now that they’ve lost Brandon Bussi; it will be interesting to see how it plays out throughout the rest of this NCHC Pod.