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February 2, 2013

WMU outworks Bulldogs, win 3-1

On Friday, in a hostile environment, the Western Michigan Broncos continued to hold the upper hand in the "Battle of US-131" against the Ferris State Bulldogs in a 3-1 victory. From the opening faceoff to the final buzzer, the Broncos outworked, outplayed, and out-skated their rivals. The win keeps the Broncos in 1st place in the CCHA standings and moves them closer to a potential one-seed in the NCAA tournament.

Colton Hargrove opened the scoring in the first period on a great shot from the left faceoff circle. It was his 3rd straight game with a goal, and his 4th goal in that span. However, after Trevor Elias was called for roughing the goalie on a breakaway, Garrett Thompson scored his 10th goal of the season with a top-shelf goal from the slot just 20 seconds into the first power-play of the game.

But Elias would make up for the penalty. Just 61 seconds later, Trevor buried his 4th goal of the season on a breakaway chance to give the Broncos the lead again. Said Elias, "when you take a penalty, and (Ferris State) capitalizes on the power-play, you want to go out there and try to equalize that. I'm glad I was able to get it early."

The Broncos dominated most of the play from there on out, limiting the Bulldogs to just 5 shots in the 2nd period and 2 in the 3rd. After a Thompson boarding penalty, Chase Balisy found Dane Walters on a cross-crease pass that Walters easily buried to give the Broncos a 3-1 lead.

"Chase is an unbelievable player," said Walters on the pass. "He's got great hands and great vision. We were just working it up top, pulling their forwards (towards the blue line). We just wanted to get it down to Chase for him to either shoot it or, in this case, found me for the backdoor."

The defensive performance was due in large part to a good, aggressive forecheck all night, led by great passing and speed. The 2 Bulldog shots on goal in the 3rd period was the 2nd time this season that WMU had held Ferris State to 2 shots in a period.

The two teams meet again tonight at 7:05 pm in Big Rapids.



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