Broncos Sports First Blog

  • Broncos open play in Tampa with Loyola-Chicago

    Posted by Carolyn Binder

    Note: For WMU basketball score updates, text BRONCOS to 80373

    TAMPA, FL (WKZO) – Splitting their first two games of regular season play, the Bronco basketball team opens play in the South Florida MTE against Loyola-Chicago tonight in Tampa Florida.

    Offensively, Western Michigan is averaging 70 points per game, powered by Shayne Whittington. The junior center has averaged 12.5 points per game, and recorded double-doubles in consecutive games for the first time since Flenard Whitfield did so in the 2010-11 season. On defense, the Broncos have held their opponents to an average of 51.5 points, 35 percent shooting from the floor, and 34 percent from long range.

    Against the Ramblers, Western Michigan is 3-3 under Steve Hawkins. The Broncos took the first three meetings, including two games in Chicago. This is the first matchup between the teams on a neutral court. Loyola holds a 55-40 advantage over Western Michigan in the all-time rivalry.

    Sean Fagan has the play-by-play call on 96.5 FM WKZO starting at 4:30. Stay with the Bronco Sports First Blog for full coverage and postgame reaction.


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  • Dennis Brown claims CCHA Defenseman of the Week

    Posted by Carolyn Binder

    Note: For WMU hockey score updates, text BRONCOS to 80373

    KALAMAZOO (WQLR) – Junior defenseman Dennis Brown helped the Broncos to a five point weekend over Bowling Green, and earned the CCHA Gladiator Defenseman of the Week for his performance.

    The Western Michigan defensive unit continues to be an offensive catalyst, and Brown was key in Friday’s 3-1 win at home over the Falcons tallying two assists. On Saturday, he recorded an assist in regulation and netted the winning shootout goal to secure five of the weekend’s six points for the Broncos.

    This is the second career Gladiator Defenseman of the Week award for the Cypress California native, and the first this season. As a sophomore, Brown earned the award helping the Broncos to a series sweep of Notre Dame in January, 2011. He joins Garrett Haar and Dan DeKeyser as the third WMU defenseman to earn the honor this season.

    Western Michigan travels to Fairbanks Alaska to battle the Nanooks in a weekend series. Both games Friday and Saturday start at 11:35 pm on 96.5 FM WKZO.

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    Dennis Brown - Photo courtesy of

  • Broncos poised for strong finish after win over Central Michigan

    Posted by Carolyn Binder

    Note: For WMU football score updates, text BRONCOS to 80373

     KALAMAZOO (WQLR) – Three days removed from retaining the Cannon Trophy in Mt. Pleasant, the Western Michigan University football team is still letting the magnitude of the win settle in.

     “It’s the best feeling I’ve ever had as a coach,” WMU head football coach Bill Cubit said of theBroncos’ 42-31 win over rival Central Michigan at the weekly press luncheon Tuesday. “It was great watching the kids be so excited, and for good reason. They accomplished something not a lot of football teams have here and that’s a big deal.” Cubit added.

     The last time a WMU football team won in Mt. Pleasant was 2002, and 1973 before that. The amount of pressure that comes with that kind of history in a rivalry as heated as this one is not lost on the team.

     “I feel like a weight has been lifted off of the season,” junior running back Dareyon Chance said, “It was special anyway, but being able to beat them on their turf made it that much sweeter.”

     Leading by four with 2:26 to go in the game, Chance broke loose for a career-long 42-yard touchdown run, sealing the win for Western Michigan.

     “On third and five, I begged Tyler to get me the ball,” Chance said breaking down how the final scoring play developed. “I knew I could get a first down, but then I had a lot more space to work with so I took it all the way.”

     With two games remaining on the schedule, the Broncos need to win both in order to become bowl eligible. They turn around for a road trip to Buffalo to meet a Bulls team that hasn’t seen much success against Western Michigan since joining the MAC. Western Michigan holds a perfect 5-0 record over Buffalo, but still come with challenges for the Broncos.

     “Defensively they’re quick, and they throw a lot of things at you,” Cubit said, “We have to execute our offense to our game plan or they can sneak up on you.”

     Buffalo features a dynamic running back in junior Branden Oliver. Oliver rushed for 199 yards last week against Miami, and he’s on the radar of the Bronco defense.

    “Oliver is a quick guy, and a great back,” Cubit said, “Our defense has to stay on their assignments to stop him.”

     “I’m not worried about our team having trouble getting up for this game,” Cubit commented on the potential of a letdown after the big game last week. “This team has been down, and that’s not a place they’re going back to. This was the ultimate high and I think that’s where they want to stay.”

     Kick off for Saturday’s game in Buffalo is 3:30 pm. Join Robin Hook and John Creek on 96.5 FM WKZO starting at 2:30.

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  • Eric Monette named MAC Offensive Player of the Week

    Posted by Carolyn Binder

    Note: For WMU football score updates, text BRONCOS to 80373

    KALAMAZOO (WQLR) – Breaking the 100-yard mark for the second consecutive week, senior wide receiver Eric Monette has been named the MAC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance in Western Michigan’s 42-31 win over Central Michigan on Saturday.

    Monette grabbed a career high 11 passes to go along with a career high 196 yards, and hauled in what proved to be the game winner from 24 yards out to account for his third score in two weeks. Monette’s 196 yards receiving ranked third highest in country, and helped the Broncos to their first win in Mt. Pleasant since 2002.

    The fourth quarter alone saw Monette record seven catches for 109 yards, and WMU scored a season high 28 points to retain the Cannon Trophy for a second consecutive year.

    This is the first POTW honor for the Portage native. The Broncos travel to Buffalo on Saturday.

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  • Great Lakes Invitational moved to Joe Louis Arena

    Posted by Carolyn Binder

    NEW YORK (WQLR) – In lieu of the cancellation of the 2013 Winter Classic, the games scheduled to play in the 48th annual Great Lakes Invitational have been affected.

    Originally scheduled to play outdoors at Comerica Park on December 27th and 28th, the four team tournament will move to Joe Louis Arena on December 29th and 30th.

    Western Michigan will face Michigan State in the first semi-final game on December 29th at 3:30, and Michigan facing off with Michigan Tech in the other game. The third-place and championship games are scheduled for 3:30 and 7:00 respectively on December 30th.


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  • Winter Classic becomes latest casualty of NHL lockout

    Posted by Carolyn Binder

    ANN ARBOR (WQLR) -- According to a source close to the situation, the 2013 Winter Classichas been cancelled in the wake of the ongoing NHL labor dispute.

    The AP source spoke on the condition of annonymity since an official announcement has not been released by the league.

    What began as an homage to hockey's outdoor roots has blossomed into a marquee event for the National Hockey League, drawing record crowds at historic outdoor venues like Boston's Fenway Park and Wrigley Field in Chicago. The NHL drew a historic number at the inaugural Winter Classic in 2008 when 71,217 hockey fans watched the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Buffalo Sabres at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

    This year's Classic was to represent Hockeytown as well as Canada, pitting the Detroit Red Wings against the Toronto Maple Leafs as well as their minor league affiliates at Comerica Park. 200,000-plus were expected at the "Big House" to see CCHA powerhouse teams Western Michigan, Michigan and Michigan State do battle in the conference's final season. 2010's matchup between the Wolverines and Spartans drew a crowd of 104,173. 

    Last week, the NHL cancelled all of the previously scheduled games through the end of November. 

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  • WMU ready to write new chapter in "Battle for the Cannon"

    Posted by Carolyn Binder

    Note: For WMU football score updates, text BRONCOS to 80373

    KALAMAZOO (WKZO) – After racking up nearly 500 yards of offense in last week’s 48-34 loss to Northern Illinois, Western Michigan head football coach Bill Cubit knows his team is ready to rise to the challenge they face Saturday in Mount Pleasant.

    “Rivalries are the best thing about sports, especially in college football,” Cubit said at the weekly press conference.

    The Broncos are looking for their first win at Kelly Shorts Stadium in the Bill Cubit era, with their last win on the road coming in 2002.

    “I want to be that coach and this team that changes WMU history,” said Cubit.

    Western Michigan took a first step in changing the history of the rivalry last year, throttling the Chippewas at Waldo Stadium 44-14, and giving Bill Cubit his first win over CMU. The coach and this team hope for more of the same this year in Mt. Pleasant.

    “Whenever your team loses three straight, there’s some doubt there, but we just have to go up there and make a statement that we are here to win,” Cubit said, “We’re going to have some fun and let it fly.”

    Senior wide receiver Eric Monette made a statement last weekend, recording career numbers in catches with eight, and caught a career high 142 yards to go along with a pair of touchdowns. Monette knows that getting this win would make or break the Broncos’ season.

    “This game already means a lot to the team, but it would definitely take us over the hump to win out.”

    The Broncos are currently 3-6 (1-4 MAC) and a bowl bid hangs in the balance starting Saturday. That fact is not lost on the team.

    “As a senior, I have to lead by example and compete on every play,” Monette said, “We have to be accountable on every play when our number is called to help our team win.”

    Saturday’s game will be the fifth time the teams play for the “Battle of the Cannon” trophy. The rivalry is renewed at 1 pm, and can be heard on 96.5 FM WKZO. 

  • Broncos face tough test at home in Northern Illinois

    Posted by Carolyn Binder

    For WMU football score updates, text BRONCOS to 80373

    KALAMAZOO (1660 THE FAN) – Recapping a second straight road loss at the weekly press luncheon Tuesday, head coach Bill Cubit said, “We battled, but you can’t turn the ball over that many times and expect to come out on top.”

    Six turnovers wrote the story in the Broncos’ 41-24 loss to the Kent State Golden Flashes.

    “We’ve got to regroup, and we just got to rally because we have a tough opponent waiting for us.”

    Western Michigan returns to Waldo Stadium this weekend to welcome Northern Illinois. The Huskies topped the Broncos 51-22 in last year’s game in DeKalb. The Huskies rushed for 494 yards last year, but with another year of experience, this Bronco defense is up to the task.

    “We just weren’t equipped to handle what they gave us last year,” Cubit said. “Our defense can’t wear down Saturday, they have to stick to their assignments and be aggressive to stop their guys.”

    After a pair of road losses, the Broncos are ready to be back at home where they lead Northern Illinois in the overall series 13-6.

    “Our guys are sick and tired of losing, so hopefully we have a mad football team Saturday that’s ready to finish the job.” Cubit added.

    The other half of the equation in last weekend’s loss was the dropped passes. With the emergence of the rushing attack this season, a lot of the focus shifted away from the young receiving corps. Aside from Eric Monette and Josh Schaffer, the bulk of the receivers that will line up are sophomores or freshmen.

    “We’ve got a lot of guys banged up, and you’ve got to play guys that might not be ready in this stage of their career, but that’s what has to happen.” Cubit commented on the youth of his group of receivers.

    Junior Josh Schaffer has risen as the primary target for Tyler VanTubbergen. The pair hooked up for an 81-yard score last weekend, and Schaffer set personal records in passes caught (9) and receiving yards (151).

    “That’s a designed play,” Schaffer said of his touchdown. 

    “We’re working with the younger guys getting them up to speed with drills in practice. They’ll be ready to step up and make the play when we need them.”

    Game time Saturday is 12 pm. Join Robin Hook and John Creek 96.5 FM WKZO beginning at 11 am.

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  • DeKeyser earns CCHA Defenseman of the Week

    Posted by Carolyn Binder

    Note: For WMU hockey score updates, text BRONCOS to 80373

    KALAMAZOO (1660 THE FAN) – For a second consecutive week, the Bronco hockey defense is recognized with a CCHA/Gladiator Defenseman of the Week. Dan DeKeyser claimed the award Monday for his play in Western Michigan’s weekend sweep of Canisius at home.

    DeKeyser played a key role in Friday’s 3-0 shutout of the Golden Griffins, firing six shots on goal on the night. The junior added five shots on goal in Saturday’s 2-1 win, netting the opening score for his second goal of the season. He also set up the game-winning goal late in the third, flipping the puck to a wide open Trevor Elias for his first two-point game of the season.

    This is the first career Defenseman of the Week award for DeKeyser. He joins sophomore Garrett Haar as Bronco defensemen to earn the honor. Haar and DeKeyser lead WMU in goals scored after four games with two each.

    The 10th ranked Broncos are off this week before opening CCHA play with Notre Dame on November 2nd and 4th.

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    CCHA Defenseman of the Week Dan DeKeyser

  • Get to know your Broncos - Garrett Haar

    Posted by Carolyn Binder

    Note: For WMU hockey score updates, text BRONCOS to 80373

    Garrett Haar is a sophomore defenseman on the CCHA champion Bronco hockey team. As a freshman, Haar appeared in 36 games, making his debut against Alabama-Huntsville on October 7, 2011. He netted his first collegiate goal against Alaska on October 22nd. Haar finished his freshman season with a +4 plus/minus rating, and was named to the CCHA All-Rookie Team.

    Garrett needed just one weekend to top his goal total in 2012. He netted a goal in the Broncos’ 4-3 OT loss to St. Lawrence on Friday night, and scored the game-tying goal in the 3-2 comeback win Saturday. Finishing +1 for the weekend, Haar earned CCHA Defenseman of the Week honors.

    Born in Huntington Beach, CA, Garrett is a Communications major. He played one season with Fargo Force of the USHL, recording 25 points (6 goals and 19 assists). He played for current WMU assistant coach Pat Ferschweiler in the Russel Stover Midget hockey program, and was a 7th round draft pick of the Washington Capitals in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

    The Broncos are back in action at home this weekend hosting Canisius. Both games can be heard on 96.5 FM WKZO at 6:40 pm.

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  • Bronco hockey ready for Canisius after opening weekend split at home

    Posted by Carolyn Binder

    WMU Hockey Press Conference

    Note: For WMU hockey score updates, text BRONCOS to 80373

    KALAMAZOO (1660 THE FAN) – Reflecting on his team’s opening weekend split with St. Lawrence at the weekly press conference, head coach Andy Murray said of the Saints, “They were a good challenge for us, they played us hard and tested us in both games.”

    Friday’s game ended in a 4-3 OT loss, with a 3-2 comeback win Saturday night at Lawson Ice Arena.

    “Our team came out with the same energy and intensity both nights,” Murray commented, “Saturday we skated with more structure and purpose and that showed in the results.”

    Junior defenseman Dan DeKeyser echoed those feelings, saying “On Friday we played really loose, turned the puck over too much, and left our penalty kill unit exposed”.

    With five minor penalties called in the second period Saturday night against the Broncos, the penalty killing unit saw a lot of ice time. “We became too complacent,” said DeKeyser. Western Michigan gave up four power play goals. 

    The Bronco defensive unit played a big offensive role in both games, accounting for three of the six goals, and six of the 12 assists on the weekend. DeKeyser netted the game-tying goal Saturday night, and Garrett Haar added the game-winner.

    “Our forwards are doing a great job getting pucks to the goalie’s feet,” DeKeyser said, “It’s no extra pressure on the defense, they’re just creating a lot second chances for us to score.”

    Western Michigan returns to Lawson Friday night for a weekend series with Canisius. The Golden Griffins are coming off of a weekend split of their own with Alaska. Western Michigan and Canisius last met in 2010 in Kalamazoo, skating to a weekend split.

    “Canisius is a blue-collar team,” said Murray, “They have guys that bring a lot of energy and intensity and we will have to be at our best to beat them.”

    Both games can be heard on 96.5 FM WKZO beginning at 6:30 pm.

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  • Garrett Haar named CCHA Defenseman of the week

    Posted by Carolyn Binder

    Note: For WMU hockey score updates, text BRONCOS to 80373

    A strong defensive effort paid offensive dividends for the Bronco hockey team, earning a weekend split with St. Lawrence at home to open their 2012 season.

    Sophomore defenseman Garrett Haar played an important role in both games, and earned CCHA Gladiator Defenseman of the Week for his performance. After scoring a single goal his freshman season, Haar lit the lamp in the Broncos 4-3 OT loss on Friday night, and notched the game-winning goal in Saturday’s 3-2 comeback win. He finished +2 on the weekend.

    Ranked 12th in the latest poll, Western Michigan returns to Lawson Friday night to welcome Conisius for a weekend series. Game time Friday and Saturday is 7:05.


    WMU Defenseman Garrett Haar


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