Special to The Sun
After closing out the first half of their season with crushing losses against Oklahoma, the University of Central Oklahoma Bronchos will be looking to return to their winning ways this week on the road, travelling to New York for a series of games against Niagara University and the University at Buffalo.
The No. 17 Bronchos (10-11) slipped another spot in the ACHA standings following losses to the crosstown rival Sooners, suffering an 8-3 thrashing at home before being shut out 5-0 on Oklahoma’s home ice. Freshmen lead the UCO roster in the three main offensive stats. Riley Spraggs leads in points with 17, Rylan Duley leads in goals with 9, and Jordan Bledsoe leads in assists with 11. In goal, incumbent starter Tory Caldwell enters 2013 with a 3.26 GAA and a .90 save percentage.
For the No. 20 Niagara Purple Eagles (15-3), they enter the new year on a three-game winning streak, their latest victory coming Dec. 14, 2012 against Canisus, a 7-1 thrashing of the Golden Griffins. Niagara is also led offensively by a freshman, Patrick Gregory, who leads in both goals (18) and points (32). In net, Dane Wakefield has been a force, amassing a 2.77 GAA and a .92 save percentage.
The No. 22 Bulls for the University at Buffalo (19-2-3) also enter 2013 on a win streak, winners of four in a row with their latest victory a 5-1 drubbing of the Rochester Institute of Technology on Dec. 8, 2012. Matt Ganci leads the Bulls with 18 goals, while Ben Lantz has a team leading 24 assists and 36 points. Between the pipes, Michael Musialowski holds a 2.29 GAA with a .91 save percentage.
The Bronchos will play two games against each opponent, taking on Niagara Jan. 8 and 9, while facing Buffalo on Jan. 11 and 12. UCO will then turn around and travel to Arizona for games against the No. 18 Arizona Wildcats and the top-ranked Arizona State Sun Devils.
UCO will return home Thursday, Jan. 24 when the Bronchos take on fellow future Western Collegiate Hockey League member Colorado State at the Arctic Edge Ice Arena. Tickets are $7, $5 for UCO students and faculty with ID, and free for children under 5.