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December 15, 2012

Bronco offense stumbles, WMU falls 2-0

"We were not good enough tonight."

That was the quote from Andy Murray after the Western Michigan Broncos fell 2-0 Saturday night in a hard fought loss. The Bronco offense never seemed to have any rhythm as Michigan controlled play most of the game. The lack of chances on Wolverine 3rd-string goalie Adam Janecyk allowed him to earn his first career win.

The first period was played much like the end of the game on Friday, with Michigan getting some chances, but not too many. Still the Wolverines controlled play, and out-shot the Broncos 7-6, with half of those 6 shots coming on clearances that found their way to Janecyk.

Frank Slubowski played superbly throughout the night, highlighted by an impressive 2nd period in which he saved 15 Wolverine shots. WMU played slightly better in the period, but still only managed 9 shots on net, not counting a shot from Kenney Morrison midway through the period that shattered glass. The shot resulted in a 15 minute delay during a Bronco power-play, and it appeared to give Michigan some time to regroup on the penalty-kill.

Heading into the 3rd period, the score was still 0-0, until a Brennan Serville shot from the slot made it 1-0 just 78 seconds into the period. It was Serville's 1st career goal. After some more dominant play by the Wolverines, Jacob Trouba drilled a version of the "double one-timer" into the back of the net 11 minutes later to make it 2-0. It was Trouba's 5th goal of the season, and his 4th on the power-play.

The Broncos were able to pick up play the rest of the way, but didn't create any decent chances, as the Michigan defense held their ground and sealed the 2-0 victory. WMU was out-shot in each period, with an 11-10 differential in the 3rd period. Slubowski stopped 31 of 33 shots on the night, making a few spectacular saves, but was not able to get any goal support in the end.

After the game, Coach Murray talked about his team's performance.

"I thought Michigan came out really strong, which we fully expected they would. We were not good enough tonight. (Michigan) played better. They won the faceoffs, they beat us in a lot of (other) different areas. We gave up a late power-play goal in a 1-0 game as well on a bad penalty to take."

Bronco captain Luke Witkowski also added, "We didn't match their intensity. They came to play tonight and we didn't put two games together and obviously the outcome didn't come out the way we wanted it to tonight."

Fellow captain Dane Walters had a different take on the loss, noting that while the defeat hurts, some good should come out of it.

"We didn't generate enough offense tonight. We just need to go back to the drawing board and keep working hard and do the things that we work on. I'm not too worried about the loss on the season (as a whole). It is a tough loss going into Christmas Break, but it will fuel us over break and it's going to make us even stronger."

The Broncos are off next weekend and will play fellow CCHA foe Michigan State at 3:35 pm on December 29th at the Joe Louis Arena in the Great Lakes Invitational. Depending on how the outcome of that game, and the Michigan/Michigan Tech game afterwards, WMU could face Michigan in either the 3rd place game or the GLI Championship game.



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