By Karl Henkel/Western Michigan Beat Writer
Western Michigan started off 2009 in similar fashion to the way most of 2008 went — with a loss.
The Broncos dropped the opening game of the Dodge Holiday Classic at Mariucci Arena to Northeastern, 3-1, on Friday.
Ryan Watson scored the lone goal for WMU to cut the Northeastern lead to 2-1, but a late goal prevented any further comeback for the Broncos.
Riley Gill made 37 stops and it was the fifth time this season he has eclipsed the 30-save mark. Brad Theissen had 23 for Northeastern (12-3-2).
In the third-place game on Saturday, WMU came out with a better result, tying Brown, 1-1.
Greg Squires scored his third goal of the season on a power play late in the second period for the Broncos.
Mike Stuart responded with a goal with the man-advantage midway through the third period for Brown, but after that, neither team could muster another tally.
Jerry Kuhn got the call in net for WMU and made 32 stops. Mike Clemente had 43 saves for Brown (1-9-3).
Western Michigan (3-12-5, 2-8-4-1 CCHA) will play a home-and-home with Ferris State (9-9-4, 6-6-2-0 CCHA) Jan. 9 and 10. Friday’s matchup, in Big Rapids, will start at 7 p.m. Saturday’s finale will be in Kalamazoo and begins at 7:30 p.m.