March 23, 2017 PRINT Bookmark and Share

WMU's Dries, Allison to Play in NCAA Opener

Duo Missed NCHC Frozen Faceoff

by Joe Meloni/Senior Writer (@JoeMeloni)

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PROVIDENCE — Western Michigan center Sheldon Dries and winger Wade Allison are both expected to play in the East Regional semifinal of the NCAA tournament against Air Force Friday afternoon.

The Broncos were without the duo during last weekend's losses to both Minnesota-Duluth and Denver at the NCHC Frozen Faceoff at Target Center in Minneapolis.

Dries said he would be in the lineup during Thursday's media session at Dunkin Donuts Center. Western Michigan coach Andy Murray confirmed that Allison would be in the lineup as well.

"I'll be playing tomorrow," Dries said. "It's very difficult anytime you miss a game and have to watch from the stands. You feel a little helpless. But I'm glad to be back and ready to get to work."

"We'll have 20 healthy players dressed for (Friday) night," Murray said. "That's all we're allowed on the roster sheet. Wade was out at pratice (Thursday), and I fully expect that he'll play (Friday)."

Both players went through a full practice Thursday afternoon after missing last weekend's NCHC semifinal and consolation games in Minneapolis.

They practiced in Kalamazoo this week prior to WMU's trip to Providence. The Broncos lost to both Minnesota Duluth and Denver without the duo to finish NCHC play for the season.

Dries, Western Michigan's No. 1 center, is suffering from a lower-body injury and hasn't played since March 12, which was Game 3 of WMU's NCHC quarterfinal series against Nebraska-Omaha. He missed the first two games of that series as well before being reinserted into the lineup for Game 3.

Allison suffered a concussion in Game 3 against Omaha.

During the first period of that game, he fell awkwardly into the boards after taking a shot on goal. He was taken off the ice in stretcher but discharged quickly from the hospital that evening.

"I don't think any of the 16 teams in the playoff here are healthy," Murray said. "Every single player on our team and every single player on Air Force and Harvard and Providence has a bruise or a strain or something like that. At this stage of the season, if you don't have something like that, you haven't been playing hard enough. We got hit a little harder than normal in the last couple weeks. Our athletic training staff has done a great job, and we expect to have healthy players in the lineup."

Allison, a freshman, missed both games in Minneapolis last weekend. However, he was cleared for full contact earlier this week. A second-round pick of the Philadelphia Flyers in last summer's draft, Allison scored 12 goals and assisted on 17 others in his freshman year in Kalamazoo.

As a senior, Dries has a career high in points with 29 on 15 goals and 14 assists in his 35 games. For most of the season, Dries centered WMU's top line between wingers Matheson Iacopelli, who led the team in goals with 20, and Griffen Molino.

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