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Courtesy: WMU

Broncos and Falcons Battle in Home-and-Home Series

Courtesy: WMU
Release: 01/17/2013
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#10/10 Western Michigan (13-5-4, 9-3-2-1 CCHA) vs. Bowling Green  (7-10-5, 4-7-3-1 CCHA)
All-Time series ­— BGSU leads 72-52-7

Jan. 18, 2013 // BGSU Ice Arena (5,000)
Jan. 19, 2013 // Lawson Ice Arena (3,667)
7:05 p.m. // Bowling Green, Ohio/Kalamazoo, Mich. // America One/Bronco Insider

The games will be broadcast live on the Bronco Radio Network: 96.5 FM (Kalamazoo, Portage, Mattawan) on Friday. Saturday the game will be broadcast on 590 AM.

Friday's webstream will be broadcast by America One Networks, while Saturday's will be handled by Bronco Insider.

Western Michigan picked up four points as the Broncos tied and beat Lake Superior State in front of two sellout crowds at Lawson  Ice Arena.

On Friday Western Michigan outshot the Lakers 45-25 but were only able to get one goal past LSSU netminder Kevin Kapalka. Lake Superior won the shootout 2-1 to earn the extra point.

On Saturday the Broncos picked up goals from Mike Leone, Dane Walters and Dennis Brown to sink the Lakers 3-1. Kenney Morrison tallied two assists, including one on the game-winning goal. Frank Slubowski made 18 saves in the win.

Bowling Green holds the series lead at 72-52-7. The two teams met earlier this season with the Broncos winning 3-1 at home and then tying 2-2 on the road with a shootout win. The Broncos are 3-1-2 against the Falcons under head coach Andy Murray.

Dane Walters leads the team in scoring against BGSU, totalling 11 points in eight games off of seven goals and four assists. Chase Balisy has seven points off of five assist and two goals, along with a +6 plus/minus rating. Goalie Frank Slubowski has a 3-1-2 record with a 1.63 goals against average and a .915 save percentage when playing the Falcons.

The Falcons are riding high and are currently on a three-game winning streak and a five-game unbeaten streak. They are 5-2-1 in their last eight as well with wins over Alaska, Niagara, Canisius, Michigan and most recently Notre Dame.

Bowling Green’s offense has exploded during the unbeaten streak averaging 3.4 goals per game, well above their season average of 2.18. The Falcon offense is led by a core group of sophomores. Ryan Carpenter leads the team with 17 points on eight goals and nine assists. Fellow sophomore Dan DeSalvo leads the team in assists with 12, while Dajon Mingo has balanced goal-scoring and distributing with four goals and nine assists. Sophomore defenseman Mike Sullivan has 11 assists from the blue line. Senior defenseman Bobby Shea is the lone upper classmen on the team in the top six in scoring with 11 points on three goals and eight assists.

BG’s defense has also tightened up, giving up just 1.4 goals during the streak. Senior goalie Andrew Hammond has started four of the five games during the streak. On the season he has a 5-7-3 record with a 2.66 goals against average and a .914 save percentage. Freshman Tommy Burke has started in five games on the season, including the 2-2 tie between WMU and BG in Bowling Green this season.

Despite the increase in offensive output, the Falcons have still struggled to score with the man-advantage. BGSU has only tallied 10 power play goals on the season, converting just 10.8 percent of their chances. The penalty kill has also had its troubles, currently ranked 52nd in the nation. The Falcons have given up 19 power play goals this season, killing off 78.2 percent of the power plays they take.

This is the second weekend in a row in which the Broncos will be facing a team that is on at least a five-game unbeaten streak. Last weekend Lake Superior State came in to Kalamazoo with a five-game winning streak and extended their unbeaten streak to six games before the Broncos ended it with a 3-1 win on Saturday.

Bowling Green is currently on a five-game unbeaten streak in which they are 4-0-1.

For the second straight week a Western Michigan freshman has been named CCHA Rookie of the Week. After his performance in WMU’s series against Lake Superior State, freshman defenseman Kenney Morrison took the honors after Colton Hargrove was awarded it last week.

Morrison tallied three assists on the weekend and his work on the penalty kill helped shut the Lakers out on eight chances. In Friday’s 1-1 tie he assisted on WMU’s lone goal. On Saturday he assisted on the game-winning goal and Dennis Brown’s goal that gave WMU a 3-1 lead for his first career multi-assist game.

After netting goals in last Friday’s tie and Saturday’s win, senior forward Dane Walters now has goals in each of his last four games. The goal-scoring streak is a new career high for the captain from St. Paul, Minn. Prior to this streak his previous best was only two. The goals also pushed Walters to 11 on the season and nine in conference play, which leads the CCHA.

Western Michigan has held opponents to just one goal in each of their last three home games. In five of the team’s 11 home games they have held opponents to just a single goal, along with two shutouts. Only once in the 11 home games did the Broncos give up more than two goals in a game, the season-opening loss to St. Lawrence.