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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Miami wins first Mason Cup, tops WMU

By Karl Henkel/Western Michigan Beat Writer

Miami finally cooled off Western Michigan and won its first Mason Cup in school history with a 5-2 victory Saturday night at Joe Louis Arena.

Tournament MVP and Grosse Pointe native Andy Miele and Curtis McKenzie scored less than two minutes apart in the third period to break a 2-2 tie.

The Broncos didn’t go down without a fight, as they tied the game early in the third period after trailing 2-0.

Mike Leone and Dane Walters scored power-play goals for WMU following first-period goals from Bryon Paulazzo and Reilly Smith.

"I’m very proud of our guys and how hard they fought," Western Michigan coach Jeff Blashill said. "I’m more happy with the sacrifices they made through the summer and this season leading up to this point. I’ve talked to the guys about how you have to learn lessons along the way. This was certainly a tough loss and there was a lot of disappointment. I’m proud of our guys, but now we have to turn our heads to the NCAA Tournament."

Though both teams scored a pair of goals with the man advantage, Miami dominated the game when it came to shots on goal.

"We need to congratulate Jeff Blashill and the job he did with Western and the great game tonight with it being 2-2 with 10 minutes left in the game," Miami coach Enrico Blasi said. "The veteran team we have showed its true colors when they scored we started to take the momentum back. These guys deserve all the credit. They are the ones that go out there and execute and perform. They weren’t satisfied with one. They got another one and another one after that. I’m so proud of them making history today."

Jerry Kuhn stopped 30 shots for WMU and Cody Reichard turned aside 14.

Western Michigan will find out Sunday morning if it earned an at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament. Miami secured a spot with its win Saturday.

Photo courtesy CCHA

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