KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Western Michigan hockey coach Pat Ferschweiler likes to end his practices by recognizing the accomplishments of his athletes and coach staff. Some names have been called in the huddle more times than not, including Ryan McAllister’s.
McAllister leads Broncos hockey and the nation in points as a freshman, with 10 goals and 28 assists.
“I didn’t really expect to come in and have this big of an impact in my first year, but I love this town, I love the college here,” McAllister said. “The fans are amazing, so it’s almost exceeded my expectations for sure.”
“In the summer, when he came here, I called my dad, and I said right away, ‘This guy’s a player,'” Broncos forward Max Sasson said. “He hasn’t slowed down since, so he’s been really fun watch, really fun to play with.”
McAllister has been a key part of Western Michigan’s top line. He’s known as the playmaker.
Then there’s Jason Polin. With an elite shooting touch, he leads the country with five hat tricks this season. He’s on pace to break a Broncos program record.
“Since I got here my freshman year, I just continued to work and I think the progress is starting to show up now,” Polin said.
“(Polin) has been our most professional player since the day he stepped on campus,” Ferschweiler said. “At the end of the day, he’ll sign and play pro hockey after this year. Deservedly so. I love to see a kid who does it right every day get rewarded. And that’s him right now.”
Finally, there’s Max Sasson, the third piece of the puzzle and the glue that holds the Broncos roster together.
“It’s been incredible. It’s super fun,” Sasson said. “I think we all have really good chemistry on and off the ice and we all do something a little bit different.”
“It clicked right from the start, and we just continue to get better week by week,” Polin said. “It’s been a blast playing with those guys.”
The three have 96 points combined. On paper, they’re the country’s top-scoring line.
“That’s our plan. We’re trying to attack. We’re not a clamp it down on the defensive side; I think kids today want to be encouraged to play offense,” Ferschweiler said. “And that’s what we do, but there is a special chemistry in that group. There’s a special skill set.”
And as it turns out there’s a simple formula to their success.
“They love to work hard. We demand that they do it,” Ferschweiler said. “But we also are supposed to have fun.”
*Correction: Due to a typo, a previous version of this article listed one of McAllister’s stats incorrectly. We regret the error, which has been fixed.