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December 8, 2012

WMU scores big, defeats Ferris State 4-2

The Broncos seemed to be in the right place at the right time last night. Whether it was scoring, or passing, or defense, Western Michigan seemed to be wherever they needed to be in their 4-2 win over rivals Ferris State.

After weathering a tough forecheck in most of the first period, the Broncos got on the board with just over 5 minutes left in the period on a Mike Leone goal, his first of the season. Dan DeKeyser found Ben Warda on a drive, and Leone skated with him on a slight break. Warda found Leone on a pass that gave Mike a wide open shot from the slot.

However, the lead would only last a mere 2:30 as Ferris State got a goal from Garrett Thompson on a strange goal. After a few Bulldog chances, TJ Schlueter flipped the puck from behind the net into the crease when a scrum ensued. Thompson somehow got to the puck and flicked it into the net with hardly anyone seeing it. The goal would tie the game at 1 heading into the 1st intermission.

The 2nd period would start like the first, with a lot of intensity and back and forth play. The Broncos rather easily killed a Chase Balisy tripping penalty before getting a great chance on the power-play for themselves. After Dakota Klecha received a boarding call, the Broncos were having struggles getting the puck into the attacking zone. That's when Kenney Morrison lifted his arms to show why he wasn't going anywhere: Jason Binkley's stick was hooked around his waist. The hooking call made it 5-on-3, and the Broncos would call a timeout after nearly a minute of trying to score and getting nothing

With time running down on the 5-on-3, the Broncos were finally able to strike. Morrison received a pass from Dennis Brown and threw a shot that was so high and hard, it bounced off the boards right to a waiting Dane Walters who knocked it past CJ Motte for a 2-1 lead.

Again, however, the lead would not last. 91 seconds later, Trevor Elias was called for tripping. Just 32 seconds into that power-play, with a delayed call coming to the Broncos (David Killip for hooking), Travis Ouellette drilled a shot past Frank Slubowski for the power-play goal, his 4th goal overall on the season. Garrett Thompson registered an assist, and his 2-point night gave moved him to 11 points on the season. The Broncos were able to kill the Killip penalty, but the 2-2 game had Ferris State with a little momentum.

The Broncos were able to draw another penalty against the Bulldogs late in the 2nd period as Eric Alexander was called for cross-checking. After Dennis Brown saved a puck from leaving the Ferris State zone, and possibly leading to a 2-on-1 Bulldog breakaway on the PK, Shayne Berschbach found Balisy who "threaded the needle" on a cross-crease pass to Walters. Dane tapped it in to give the Broncos a 3-2 lead, which would hold up until the end of the period. Said Chase on the pass, "(Berschbach) got the puck down low and I saw Dane was on the other side of the net with the defenseman just sliding there and his stick was just off the ice a little bit. I just slid it to Dane and he finished it off."

The 3rd period started with a lot of fire for the Broncos. After controlling the opening faceoff, the Broncos made one line change and found more gold in the net. Morrison, after getting an assist on a wide shot earlier in the game, found the back of the net on a shot from the blue line to make it 4-2. Morrison was somewhat surprised he scored.

"I got (the puck) at the point and saw a lane. It got through 3 or 4 guys and somehow went top corner."

After that goal, the Broncos controlled play for a few moments before an Elias holding call created a Bulldog power-play. While WMU was able to kill the penalty, Ferris State was able to play with a little more confidence for a few minutes before play evened back out.

The back-and-forth play the rest of the way favored the Broncos heavily, as they ended up holding the high-powered Bulldog offense to a mere 2 shots on goal in the 3rd period. Ferris State coach Bob Daniels chose not to pull CJ Motte and the game ended 4-2 in favor of WMU.

Bronco Head Coach Andy Murray was happy with the win, but noted that the defense could improve, despite holding Ferris State to a season low 15 shots on goal

"It was a typical Western Michigan-Ferris State game. Not a lot of room to play out there, fast tempo, very tight. We did manage the puck well, but they got some players behind us and we have to do a better job of that. I think our defense was solid, but they can be better than what they were tonight."

The Broncos extended their win streak to 4 games in front of a season-high 4,018 fans at Lawson Ice Arena. They also moved into 4th place in the CCHA, just one point behind Ohio State, who is idle this weekend. The two teams will meet up again tonight at 7:05 at Lawson Ice Arena.



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