Western Michigan Hockey shocking many with 2021-22 success

(Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)
(Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images) /

When the season was inching closer, it seemed like Western Michigan’s Hockey Program was going to be heading towards a rebuilding year. After former head coach Andy Murray moved on and Pat Ferschweiler was hired as the new head coach, the team had a bit of work cut out for them.

Now, as the calendar turns over to 2022, Western Michigan Hockey is sitting as the fourth-best team in the country behind the Michigan Wolverines. The Broncos program is certainly drawing some attention.

Last year was not the season they had hoped for after losing netminder Brandon Bussi to an injury that proved detrimental to their entire 2020-21 season. But Bussi has since bounced back and been back to being great for them in 2021-22.

They have a new bench boss, a healthy goalie, and are finding ways to win games, even in (arguably) the toughest conference across college hockey. The Broncos are 13-5 overall on the season with a 6-4 record during in conference games and are looking to finish the year strong and compete in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC).

Western Michigan Hockey is shooting for the stars in 2022.

In the article linked above about the hiring of Ferschweiler, I talked about the possibility of this being an easier transition given Western Michigan Hockey’s long-standing reputation of being strong. But it also hinted at the fact that they were coming off a rough season.

Graduate Student Ethen Frank has had quite the season so far.  He’s got 17 goals and seven assists for 24 total points on the season, which is good for second-best on the Broncos roster. But besides Frank’s heavy dose of scoring, they have been able to get goals from many others, spreading the wealth out.

They have six players who have five or more goals and two more players with four. It’s consistent names like Ronnie Attard, Cole Gallant, and Jason Polin who are scoring. It’s been an exceptional breakout season for the Broncos, who are under new leadership and looking like they are in the hunt.

With the student-athletes having a break for finals and the holidays, the Broncos have not had a game since split a home series with #14 ranked Omaha (according to the USCHO rankings). They will not suit up again until right before the New Year when they participate in the Great Lakes Invitational.

The Broncos are scheduled to take on the Michigan State Spartans on December 29th and then the #3 Michigan Wolverines on December 30th. It will be a huge win for them if they can come away with a victory against Michigan’s powerhouse program.

Given the Broncos had a new coach coming into the year, they are doing quite well and proving they are another strong contender year in and year out.