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Sunday, February 06, 2011

Western Michigan keeps streak alive

By Karl Henkel/Western Michigan Beat Writer

Western Michigan’s turnaround story keeps getting better and better.

Last season, the Broncos finished second-to-last in the CCHA. This year, they’ve rattled off the nation’s longest unbeaten streak and the longest in school history (13) thanks to a tie and a victory against Bowling Green.

“It’s nothing we talk about,” said first-year coach Jeff Blashill. “It doesn’t benefit us to talk about it at all. You want to win every single game that you play. Every game we have from here on out is going to be critical. We’re trying to get better.”

The two teams tied the opener, 1-1, before WMU used a big third period and won the finale, 3-1.

In the opener, the Broncos fired 32 shots on net, but could only come up with one goal to show, a third-period goal by Chase Balisy. WMU failed to convert on four power-play opportunities.

Jerry Kuhn made 14 stops for Western Michigan; Andrew Hammond made 31 for BGSU (8-19-3, 3-16-3-1 CCHA).

In the second game, after WMU’s J.J. Crew and Bowling Green’s Jordan Samuels-Thomas traded second-period goals, Derek Roehl and Trevor Elias both scored their second goals of the year in the third period to boost WMU to the 3-1 victory.

Kuhn made 19 stops; Hammond made 30.

“Any time we can win games, it’s good,” Blashill said. “But you don’t judge seasons midway through the year, you judge them when they’re over. We want to continue to go out and win hockey games.”

Western Michigan (15-6-9, 9-5-8-4) next faces CCHA-leading Miami (16-9-5, 13-7-4-2) in Oxford, Ohio, Friday and Saturday. Friday’s contest starts at 7:05 p.m. and Saturday’s kicks off at 7:35 p.m.

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