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January 19, 2013

Broncos held in check, fall 3-2

The Western Michigan Broncos had a rough night last night.

The Broncos played their last game at BGSU Ice Arena for presumably a long time, but did not see the results they wished to have, dropping a 3-2 heart-breaker in a wild 3rd period. The loss drops the Broncos to 0-5-3 in their last 8 games in Bowling Green.

In the first period, both teams started with back and forth play before the Falcon forecheck came out and started to disrupt the Bronco offense. Nevertheless, Dane Walters was able to intercept a puck late in the period and find Shayne Berschbach. Berschbach would pass back and forth with Chase Balisy before shooting a shot that would hit all 3 posts and come out for an easy put-back goal for Balisy, his 8th of the season.

"Dane Walters made a great play on the boards to chip the puck past the defense for a 2-on-1 and Chase made a perfect pass to me," said Berschbach after the game. "I could've swore it went in, but it hit the post and crossbar and Chase put it in. We'll take it any way we can get it."

In the 2nd period, the Falcons really came out and capitalized on some Bronco mistakes. After a Kenney Morrison holding penalty midway through the period, Mark Cooper tied the game up with a goal on a puck that just happened to fall to his stick on Frank Slubowski's open side. 3 minutes later, Ryan Carpenter deflected a Connor Kucera shot from the blue-line in for his 9th goal of the season, giving the Falcons a 2-1 lead.

However, the Bronco power-play was able to even up the game before the period was over on a Kenney Morrison one-timer. The goal moves Morrison into 2nd for goals by a defenseman, trailing fellow freshman Jacob Trouba of Michigan.

In the 3rd period, Dajon Mingo got an early goal to break the tie. A poor turnover put Slubowski out of position with Mingo getting the puck right in front. It was Mingo's 5th goal of the season, and his first career game-winning goal.

After that goal, play really started to intensify as both teams laid hit after hit upon each other. Eventually, that led to Brent Tate getting a game misconduct for a check from behind with 8:30 to go in the 3rd. Roughly a minute later, Ryan Peltoma joined Tate in the locker room for a similar hit on Trevor Elias. After the dust settled, the Broncos had a 4-on-3 power-play (Josh Pitt received a roughing penalty simultaneous with the Peltoma penalty) for 1 minute, a 5-on-3 power-play for 2 minutes, and a normal power-play for 1 minute, all without the possibly of a Falcon coming out of the penalty box due to the major penalties.

After the Broncos got a few chances early on in the power-play, the Falcon defense tightened up and started to clear chance after chance. Eventually, the crowd got behind the team, and the Bronco players appeared to get too anxious trying to get chances, with poor turnovers and shaky skating. Even after an Bronco timeout, WMU was unable to get anything going, and the lengthy power-play was over with nothing to show for it. Despite pulling Slubowski at the end of the game, the Broncos were unable to get a tying goal, and the game ended 3-2, ending the Broncos' unbeaten streak.

On the game as a whole, Bronco head coach Andy Murray congratulated his opponent, but noted that his team didn't play well as well.

"Their team is playing well. We came out with some good energy. We had a majority of our team play hard tonight, but we had a minority that didn't. We had some guys that were just too light in this game and that just didn't play hard enough and when you play light you just get hurt. (The Falcons) are playing really hard, but we don't need to help them."

"I don't know if (BGSU) disrupted our offensive flow," said Murray when asked about how the Falcon forecheck may have affected the Bronco offense. "We attempted 50 shots and only ended up with 22 on net, so we missed the net on 28 shots. We can't do that. We had about seven 3-on-2's and couldn't get a shot on."

The two teams now travel back to Kalamazoo for the final conference game between the two teams. Game time is slated for 7:05 pm as the Falcons look to extend their winning streak to 5 games, or their unbeaten streak to 7 games.

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