The next two weekends for the Western Michigan Broncos on the ice will truly prove their grit, playing two of the top four teams in the nation. It all begins this Friday and Saturday as the 19th-ranked Broncos welcome the 4th-ranked Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs, the reigning NCAA champions the past two seasons.

The weekend could also determine where the Broncos stand among the elite in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference. A possible six points with two regulation victories over the Bulldogs could pull them into a second-place tie in the conference standings with Duluth.

The Broncos earned four points last weekend on the road in Oxford, Ohio, against the Miami Redhawks. After opening the weekend with a 2-2 tie, losing the extra point in the 3-on-3 overtime, the Brown and Gold picked up a 4-1 win on Saturday to keep them in third place in the NCHC standings. Western's stellar play since the beginning of the 2020 portion of their schedule has put them back in the national rankings for the first time since December 30th

Earlier this week, Broncos head coach Andy Murray talked about how uncharacteristic his squad played in the Friday contest compared to their play since January.

Western will get their second look at the Bulldogs this season, after taking just two points in their January meeting in Duluth. Even though they picked up a tie to conclude that weekend, the Broncos won in the shootout to get the extra point. Duluth has also played very well at Lawson Ice Arena since the beginning of the NCHC, going 6-3-1 in Kalamazoo.

The Bulldogs enter the weekend winning four straight and five of their last six games. That lone loss came against the nation's top team and conference-leading North Dakota. The Fighting Hawks are next on the Broncos schedule in Grand Forks.

There are very few tickets remaining for the Friday night contest, which is also being broadcast on CBS Sports Network. It was announced on Wednesday that Saturday's game is limited to standing room only.

Face-off both nights in Kalamazoo is at 7:05pm.