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Broncos start fast in 5-2 win over Miami (OH)

by Colin Windecker

Oxford, OH (WKZO) – For the first time since 2004, the Western Michigan University men’s hockey has defeated the Miami (OH) RedHawks at Steve Cady Arena with Friday night’s 5-2 victory in National Collegiate Hockey Conference action.

Lukas Hafner made his first start for the Broncos since allowing four goals in his previous start against Minnesota-Duluth last Friday, but was much more impressive saving all but two of the RedHawks’ 29 shots, while ending the Broncos winless streak at two.

Also much improved was the Broncos offense and special teams. WMU took a quick 2-0 lead with two goals just 1:37 into the opening period. Shane Berschbach tallied his first of two first period goals, as he lit the lamp 1:21 after the opening face-off and Sheldon Dries added his third goal of the season just 16 seconds later. Berschbach recorded his 12th goal of the season on the power play with 8:59 left in the first to give the Broncos a commanding 3-0 lead.

After Miami was finally able to get a puck passed Hafner to cut the lead to 3-1, Justin Kovacs regained the three goal advantage for WMU, scoring on the power play 8:23 into the second period for the Broncos fourth goal.

Ben Paulides scored the RedHawks final goal in the third period and Nolan LaPorte scored an empty netter with 50 seconds left closing out the scoring.

The Broncos finished the game 2-for-5 on the power play and killed off 4-of-5 power plays for the RedHawks. Jay Williams made 11 saves after replacing Ryan McKay, who allowed the first three goals to the Broncos on just eight shots.  

Chase Bailsey had three assists.

WMU (13-10-4, 7-7-1-1 NCHC) will look for the weekend sweep of the RedHawks on Saturday night as the two former CCHA rivals battle for the final time during the regular season. Puck drops at 7pm.