by Tim Rosenthal/Staff Writer
Head Coach: Jim Culhane
2006-07 Record: 18-18-1 (14-13-1 CCHA)
Key Returnees: Brian Bicek F SR., Jeff Pierce F SR., Mike Lesperance F SR., Nathan Ansell D SR., Jonathan Lupa D SR., Matt Clackson F JR., Jeff LoVecchio F JR., Chris Frank D JR., Steve Silver D JR., Chris Clackson F SO., Tyler Ludwig D SO., Riley Gill G SO.
Key Losses: Paul Szczechura, Brett John, Jason Moul, Kevin Labatte, Ryan Mahrle, Daniel Bellissimo, Mark Letestu (underclassman)
If 2005-06 was a step back for the Western Michigan Broncos, than in 2006-07 the Broncos regained their step after finishing 10-24-6 the year before, the Broncos had an eight win improvement going 18-18-1 despite losing in the first round to Alaska in the CCHA playoffs.
After a 6-11-1 start, the Broncos came out strong in the second half going 12-7 in their final 19 games.
"I was pleased last year," said head coach Jim Culhane. "I look forward to the future here at Western Michigan."
With only five seniors gone from last year, the Broncos will look to take that step forward in 2007-08. But that will be harder thanks to the loss of top scorer Mark Letestu, who signed a pro deal in the offseason.
Riley Gill will be back in net this year, a sophomore who showed promise. A couple other names to look out for are Jeff LoVecchio and Nathan Ansell.
This season the Broncos will welcome eight to the class of 2011.
"I am excited about this class," Culhane said about the recruiting. "We have eight freshman led by Max Campbell a fifth round pick of the New York Rangers and Ryan Watson a seventh round pick of the Florida Panthers."
Also added to the class of 2011 are two goaltenders, Jerry Kuhn and Matthew Federico, forwards Patrick Nagorsen and Travis Paeth and defenseman Mike Levendusky.
Although you probably won't see this team in the top five pre-season, do not be surprised if the Broncos make it to the Joe Louis Arena this year for the conference semis (or possibly finals).
"Everyone is looking forward to the buzz," said Culhane about the upcoming season. "You look back and look at the league it was a surprise last year. Notre Dame came out of nowhere."