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February 9, 2013

Broncos regain 1st place, defeat Miami 2-0

When the 6th ranked Broncos skated off the ice last night, there was no big celebration. They had just regained first place and had beaten a #3 team at Lawson for the first time since defeating Notre Dame last season in January, but they knew they still had work to do.

The Broncos opened the scoring in the 1st period with a Jordan Oesterle goal. Chase Balisy won a faceoff in the Miami zone, Dane Walters collected the puck and swung it to Oesterle who threw a puck on net. RedHawk goalie Jay Williams never saw it as it slid by the 5 players screening him and into the net. It was Osterle's 3rd goal of the year.

After that, Enrico Blasi's team turned up their intensity, but the Bronco defense held strong. Over the next 37 minutes, the RedHawks got 3 power-play opportunities, but the Broncos only allowed 3 shots on goal total in those chances. Eventually, the Broncos got a penalty shot chance after Balisy had a great look on a wide open net, but Joe Hartman grabbed the puck and held it for a delay of game. Mike Leone would miss the shot, but the RedHawks were starting to show signs of being on their backs.

Coming out for the 3rd period, the Broncos were on a 4-on-3 power-play. Andy Murray sent out his top unit hoping to get a goal. Balisy, having been denied once on the night, looked to get redemption. After getting a pass from Dan DeKeyser, Balisy deflected a shot off a RedHawk defender to net his 9th goal of the season, and gave Western Michigan a 2-0 lead. The Broncos would control play most of the way from there on out, and held on for the win.

Frank Slubowski played superbly for the Broncos. Facing 32 shots, he stopped all of them, including 11 in the 1st period and 13 in the 3rd when Miami had pulled Williams in favor of an extra attacker. The shutout was Slubowski's 4th of the season, and the 7th of his career, tying him with Riley Gill for the Bronco record for career shutouts. The single-season Bronco record is 5 shutouts by Marc Magliarditi.

"Tonight's game was an intense game," said Murray after the game. "It was physical by both teams. Both goalies played outstanding. When your goaltender gets a shutout, you have to like his performance. Their goaltender made a couple tremendous saves as well, but Frank was tremendous all night."

"I thought we couldn't capitalize on our power-play, but give (the Broncos) credit on the penalty kill," said Blasi after the game. "I thought both teams played hard, but it's a playoff hockey atmosphere."

With the win, and other action around the country, the Broncos move back into 1st place in the CCHA and are guaranteed to be no worse than 1 point back from 1st by the end of the weekend. They also moved into a 3-way tie for 4th in the Pairwise, with that slot getting the final 1-seed in the NCAA Tournament.

The two teams meet again tonight at 7:05 pm at Lawson Ice Arena.

Western Michigan NEWS


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