Western Michigan hasn't lacked heart or talent this season, but what they have lacked is an ability to convert that potential into points. That began to change last weekend, as they skated to a 4-2 win and a 2-2 tie with Northern Michigan.
The Broncos started strong in Friday's game. Mike Lesperance and Ryan Mahrle combined to set up Brian Bicek for the night's first goal. The 'Cats evened the score on a shorthanded effort from Darin Olver in the second period.
Brent Walton (pictured) put the Broncos back on top with some help from Paul Szczechura and Daryl Moore. Nathan Ansell widened Western's lead to 3-1 on a power-play goal. Lesperance and Reid Yantzi earned assists on the play.
Zach Tarkir scored to put the game within Northern's reach, but an empty-net goal from Jeff LoVecchio sealed the win for Western. Northern netminder Bill Zaniboni finished with 26 saves while Western goalie Daniel Bellissimo recorded the win with 22 saves.
The 'Cats didn't let Saturday's game get away from them, but they didn't quite finish the job either. Western lit the lamp first thanks to a Moore rebound late in the first period. Nathan Sigmund of Northern netted his first goal of the season to tie up the game in the second. Rob Lehtinen and Nick Sirota were credited with assists. The two teams traded goals once more. Western's Kevin Labatte notched a top-shelf power-play goal while Mike Santorelli scored in the second period's waning minutes to seal the tie.
Zaniboni finished with 22 saves, Bellissimo had 29.
Next weekend, Northern (14-12-2, 10-10-2 CCHA) welcomes Wayne State to the UP, while Western (6-16-4, 6-11-3 CCHA) faces off with the Michigan Wolverines.