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March 24, 2012The Western Michigan hockey season came to an end with a 3-1 loss to North Dakota at the West Regional Semifinal on Saturday afternoon.
The Broncos spotted UND a 2-0 lead but were unable to rally. Kyle O'Kane scored the lone WMU goal midway through the second period to cut the lead to 2-1 but North Dakota added an empty net goal in the final minute. Bronco goalie Frank Slubowski made 24 saves on the day, while North Dakota's Aaron Dell made 25. North Dakota advances to play the winner of the Minnesota/Boston University game.
North Dakota took an early 1-0 lead at 6:04 in the first period on a wraparound goal by Michael Parks. Parks took the puck down and behind the net, throwing it off of Slubowski's skate and in. Mark MacMillan and Ben Blood each tallied assists on the goal.
Corban Knight made it 2-0 North Dakota at 3:16 in the second period. A shot by Danny Kristo was deflected right to the stick of Knight and he punched it into an open net.
O'Kane netted his seventh of the season at 12:57 in the second period on a breakaway. Dan DeKeyser created a turnover and found Derek Roehl at center ice. Roehl hit O'Kane in stride and the senior forward beat Dell on his glove side to cut the lead to 2-1.
A goal was waived off that would have tied it for the Broncos but the officials ruled that the net was dislodged before the puck bounced off of Ian Slater and across the goal line.
The Broncos tried to rally in the third period, pulling Slubowski with 1:17 left in the game but Brock Nelson stole the puck in the WMU zone and fired it from center ice into an empty net.
Western Michigan ends the season with a 21-14-6 record, the most wins since the 1995-96 season. The Broncos also captured the program's second ever CCHA Tournament Championship.
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