Hockey: No. 4 Michigan over WMU In Shootout

The No. 4 ranked University of Michigan hockey team kicked off the second half of the regular season slate Friday night at Yost Ice Arena. The Wolverines hosted the Western Michigan Broncos for the first game of a home and road series.<p> The two teams combined for 76 shots and 10 goals in the three periods. <b>Michigan came out out on top 6-4.</b></p>

As has been the trend lately for the Wolverines, Michigan played from behind early in the contest.

Western Michigan forward Paul Szczechura provided the first hustle play of the game and his hard work paid off. Seconds after successfully killing a Bronco power play, Michigan skated the puck in an attempt to clear the zone. A fore check by Szczechura poked the puck away in the other direction, setting himself up for a shot on Wolverine goalie Al Montoya. With no other defenders around to help, Szczechura calmly flicked the puck over the shoulder of Montoya and into the Michigan net 2:32 into the contest.

After the quick goal the teams exchanged scoring opportunities. Then in the final moments of the first period, Michigan’s T.J. Hensick netted the equalizer, beating Bronco goalie Daniel Bellissimo on a rebound from a shot by Milan Gajic ( who was credited with the assist).

Minutes into the second period Hensick, the Wolverines leading scorer, beat Bellissimo again. This time he put the puck in the net high to the glove side after sneaking up to the top of the circle and snapping the quick shot. The goal, which occurred only 1:29 into the second period, marked the first time the Wolverines pulled ahead in the contest.

Western Michigan would answer with a power play goal, but any momentum gained by the Broncos was very short lived.

37 seconds after the Bronco goal, Jeff Tambellini put Michigan back in front for good on a slap shot from the point. He capitalized on a clean face off win by Wolverine captain Eric Nystrom.

Milan Gajic would add his second point of the night for the Wolverines, scoring his ninth goal of the season less than three minutes later to provide a little insurance.

Western Michigan would throw one last counter punch at the Wolverines by scoring two of the next three goals to once again pull within one. The CCHA conference’s leading scorer, Brent Walton, added his 15th goal of the season for the Broncos while on the power play before Ryan Mahrle beat Montoya to provide Western Michigan with their fourth and finalgoal of the night.

David Moss scored the Wolverines' final goal with just under five minutes remaining to provide breathing room for the Maize and Blue. They held on despite the last minute rush by the Broncos.

The win improves the Wolverines CCHA record to 12-1-0.

The same two teams are scheduled to meet Saturday night in Kalamazoo, Mich. in a game set to be televised on Fox Sports Detroit.

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