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Monday, December 10, 2007

Broncos better Warriors in sweep

By Tom Morelli/WMU Beat Writer

Western Michigan University’s sweep against Wayne State University was their first since the Broncos’ pair of victories against Bentley College to begin the 2007-2008 season.

Perhaps Western Michigan had a relapse to the beginning of the season, because the Broncos had a five-goal output on both nights, which was their highest since their season opener.

It took nearly 25 minutes in Friday night’s game before any scoring took place. Winger Matt Clackson ended the drought with his second goal of the season, with seniors Brian Bicek and Mike Lesperance helping out on the play.

Patrick Galivan joined into the scoring fray at 7:06, taking a pass from Max Campbell and Cam Watson to give Western Michigan a 2-0 lead.

The Warriors refused to rollover, as senior Tylor Michel took advantage of a Steve Silver charging penalty to put Wayne State on the board.

Despite the power-play ending a minute later, the Warriors still found a way to even-up the score, with Stavros Paskaris firing a shot past freshman goaltender Jerry Kuhn.

Assistant captain Tyler Ludwig gave the Broncos a 3-2 lead before the end of the period, scoring with the extra attacker at 16:42.

Bicek added an insurance goal six minutes into the final stanza, thanks to a set-up pass by Ludwig.

With the net empty, sophomore Chris Clackson banged one home with less than a minute remaining, giving Western Michigan their first win since Nov. 23 against Ohio State University.

In just his second start of the season, Kuhn notched his first collegiate win, stopping 24 of 26 shots. Brett Bothwell stopped 33 shots for the Warriors.

Saturday’s game was nearly déjà-vu for the Broncos, as their offense didn’t put any points on the board until the middle period.

Co-captain Jeff LoVecchio notched his fourth goal of the season at 4:17, as Matt Clackson garnered his third assist on the play.

Galivan added to the lead with a pair of goals, which were scored within two minutes of each other.

While Wayne State’s Ryan Bernardi sat in the penalty box, Ludwig scored his second power-play goal in as many nights, with Galivan and Jeff Pierce earning the helpers.

All hopes of a shutout for Kuhn came to a halt in the final period, as Paskaris fed Jared Katz the puck to put the Warriors on the board at the 2:47 mark.

With less than seven minutes remaining, Lesperance scored on the power-play, giving Western Michigan a 5-1 win.

Kuhn once again had 24 saves, and bumped his record between the pipes to 2-2-0. Kyle Funkenhauser totaled 17 saves for WSU.

The Broncos’ special teams units came through, converting on two of four power-play opportunities, and went a perfect 5-5 on the penalty kill.

Western Michigan improves to 6-10-0 overall and will face the United States World Junior Team next in an exhibition game on December 18. Wayne State (3-11-2) heads to CHA rival Niagara this weekend.

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