By Bob Miller/Michigan & Western Michigan Beat Writer
An entertaining weekend series between third-ranked Michigan and fourth-ranked Western Michigan provided 120 minutes of great hockey entertainment for those who attended, but defied logic as much as it entertained.
On Friday night, Michigan arguably played the better game, but lost 3-2 on a goal credited to Western Michigan's Dane Walters, but actually went in off the stick of Michigan defenseman Mac Bennett in a goalmouth scramble with only 57 seconds left in the third period.
On Saturday night, Western Michigan suffered the same fate the befell the Wolverines in the opening game. The Broncos held the edge in play, but allowed three third period goals, including an empty netter, to lose 5-2.
The hockey was fast-paced in Friday's opener. Ian Slater and Brett Beebe supplied the two initial goals for Western Michigan that put the Broncos in position for their late-game success and the victory.
Both teams exercised more caution in Saturday's finale. Western Michigan built a 2-1 lead on second period goals by Chase Balisy and Derek Roehl.
Despite being outplayed in the second period, Michigan took advantage of a late period power play goal by Alex Guptill to pull even after 40 minutes.
Bennett put the Wolverines ahead early in the third period with another power play goal. A.J. Treais added another late in the period for Michigan and Kevin Lynch clinched the game with an empty netter.
“It’s disappointing for us,” Western Michigan head coach Andy Murray opined after Saturday's loss. “Last night, we didn’t play as well as we thought we should have. Tonight, our game was actually better, but the bottom line was that it wasn’t good enough. I think the days of Western Michigan coming up here and being happy with a split are gone. There’s an upset group in there (the Western Michigan locker room). We came here on a mission and we didn’t get it done.”
"I think we were just hungrier tonight," said Treais of the Wolverine effort Saturday night. "I think that loss last night really fueled our fire. We let it slip away in the third yesterday, so it was good to come out in the third and win this one."