By Tom Morelli/WMU Beat Writer
The struggles continue for Western Michigan University, who lost a pair of games on the road to No. 5 ranked Miami University over the weekend. The Broncos combined for just a goal in the series, while their counterparts reached double digits in the scoring department.
Friday’s game went a little closer than expected, as both teams were scoreless after the first period.
The Redhawks took the early lead about midway through the second period, when Justin Mercier banged one home past goaltender Riley Gill while on the power-play.
Teammate Ryan Jones added an insurance goal at the 6:31 mark of the final period, and netminder Jeff Zatkoff stopped 23 shots en route to a shutout.
Gill racked up 26 saves in the contest, 17 of which came in the third period.
Game two proved to be a scoring frenzy for Miami, which generated eight goals from six different players.
Freshman Jerry Kuhn started between the pipes for Western Michigan, but his stint was short-lived. After allowing four goals on seven shots in the opening period, Head Coach Jim Culhane yanked Kuhn in favor of Gill.
In the final minute of the second period, sophomore defenseman Jordan Collins scored his first goal of the season for Western Michigan, which came while on the man-advantage. This was the Broncos only goal of the night, and forwards Brian Bicek and Cam Watson were credited with the helper.
Penalties proved to be a burden throughout the game, as both teams went into double digits on their trips to the sin-bin.
Zatkoff finished with 26 saves, while Gill allowed four goals on 20 shots.
With the pair of losses, Western Michigan falls to 7-23-3 overall (3-21-2 CCHA). The Broncos are in the midst of a five-game losing streak and have now dropped seven of their last 10 games.
Up next for Western Michigan is a weekend series with Notre Dame University, who swept the Broncos back in November. This CCHA match-up will be the last regular season set before the conference tournament. The first game will be in Kalamazoo on Friday night, which can be seen at 7:35 pm on Comcast Local. Western Michigan will trek down to South Bend. Indiana the following night, with puck drop expected to be at 7:05 pm.