KALAMAZOO, MI (WKZO) – After earning a bid to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1996 and making it the finals of CCHA Tournament for the first time since 1986 , expectations for the 2011-2012 Broncos Hockey team were already high. With the preseason ranking of 13, expectations are now even higher.
The Broncos finished at 13 in the nation in both the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Polls after spending 6 weeks in the USA Today Top 15 Poll and 17 weeks in the Top 20 of the USCHO.com poll.
On Wednesday, the Broncos Hockey Team were also picked to finish 4th in the CCHA preseason poll by both the CCHA Coaches and by the media. Norte Dame, Miami (OH), and Michigan are the only teams picked ahead of the Broncos.
Also announced, that for the first time since 2005-2006, the Western Michigan Hockey will feature a player on the Preseason All-CCHA Team. Sophomore Chase Balisy was named to the Second Team All-Conference after finishing 2nd on the Broncos in scoring with 12 goals and 18 assists. Balisy was named to the CCHA All-Freshman team last year.
Sophomore defenseman Dan DeKeyser and junior defenseman Matt Tennyson both received Honorable Mention consideration.
Western Michigan hosts the University of Toronto at L.C. Walker Arena in Muskegon, Mich., Saturday at 7 p.m. for its only exhibition game of the season. The Broncos open the regular season at Lawson Ice Arena on Friday, Oct. 7 at 7 p.m. against the Alabama-Huntsville Chargers.