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November 10, 2012

Broncos down Falcons 3-1 on Military Appreciation Night

A week after giving up 30+ shots in each game against Notre Dame, the Western Michigan Broncos returned to their defensively dominant selves in their 3-1 win over the Bowling Green Falcons. They held their fellow MAC school to a mere 12 shots, including a lone SOG against them in the 1st period.

Bronco head coach Andy Murray liked his team's play on the evening.

"I liked our structure. I liked our energy. We needed to have energy, but we needed to have structure too, and we had that. Overall, we're pleased with the win."

The Bronco offense used scoring of all sorts. The scoring started with a rebound goal by Dane Walters. It was the 3rd of the year for Walters, and the 3rd in as many games as well. The goal was set-up by a blistering shot by Dennis Brown.

In the second period, Chase Balisy took a Walters pass and drove down the ice. After holding off the Falcon defender, Balisy went over Andrew Hammond's stick to net a short-handed goal. It was his first career short-handed goal, and the first regular season "shortie" since Garrett Haar's last November.

After both teams traded penalties, Adam Berkle was called for tripping just 19 seconds after coming out of the box and the Broncos struck again, this time on the power-play. Shane Berschbach took a face-off and got it to Brown. Brown then saw freshman defender Kenney Morrison wide open for a one-timer. Morrison ripped it into the top corner to make it a 3-1 game and all but secure the victory.

The lone Bowling Green goal came on an unusual play. Rusty Hafner threw a puck in on net. That puck would pinball off Ryan Carpenter and Bryce Williamson (and possibly a Bronco defender or two), through Frank Slubowski's legs, and into the net. Said Slubowski, "It was a weird one. Kinda pinballed. Not the balance you want either."

This was the 2nd straight game that co-captain and normal starting defender Dan DeKeyser missed due to an lower body injury. Matt Stewart again stepped in his place, even starting. Said Murray on Stewart's play, "I feel Matt was solid tonight, and that Witkowski simplified his game and that allowed (Stewart) to be effective."

On the Bowling Green side, Falcon head coach Chris Bergeron was not pleased with his team's play in any regard, but did note the effort.

"For the first time all year, I felt we had a little bit of fight on our bench. There was a 'No Quit' mentality. Our guys hung in there. That was something that our guys developed towards the end of last year, but hadn't shown yet this year. We'll take that away from the game as a positive. As for our offense, I think we're still a little bit too choosy at times. We need to find a way to get more pucks at the net. Credit the Bronco defense, but the more shots you get on net, the better your chances are at winning, and 12 SOG isn't even close."

When asked about Hammond's 29 saves, some fairly spectacular in a one-goal or tie game at times, Bergeron noted that despite pressure being on the forwards, there is some on Hammond to improve himself.

"We look at the first two goals as pucks that we'd like to see (Hammond) have. But then he goes and makes 29 saves. Like the rest of our program, he needs to take his play from good to great, which is consistency. However, there is a lot of pressure on him, or whoever else is in net, because we're not scoring goals. I don't want the pressure on our goaltender. I want the pressure on our forwards and defensemen in the offensive zone.

Both teams departed Kalamazoo shortly after the game and headed for Bowling Green, OH for the second game. Puck drop is at 7:05 pm from BGSU Ice Arena.



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