Michigan Hockey Sweeps WMU

<b>Brandon Kaleniecki</b> racked up his second career hat trick, inclduing the game-winning goal with 53 seconds left in the game to give the Wolverines a 6-5 victory, and a sweep in their two-game series with Western Michigan.

For the second night in a row, the Broncos were the first team to get on the scoreboard with a loose puck goal in front of the Wolverine net. Wolverine goalie Al Montoya made the save on the initial shot but was unable to control the rebound. The scramble in front of the Wolverine net followed, and while Montoya thought he was covering the puck with his glove, it was poked out by Ryan Marhle of Western Michigan to make it 1-0 less than five minutes into the game.

Milan Gajic tied it up for Michigan later in the period, taking advantage of a deflection on a centering pass from T.J. Hensick. Hensick riffled the puck towards the center of the ice as Gajic crashed the back post of the net. As Gajic closed in on the net, the puck deflected off the skate of the back pedaling Bronco defender, and come right to the stick of Gajic who tucked it away in the back of the net.

Western Michigan would add one more goal in the final minutes of the period to make it 2-1 as the teams headed into the locker rooms to prepare for what wound up being an exciting second period.

For the first 10 minutes of the second period both goal tender’s performed brilliantly. Then the things fell apart for the defenses.

Michigan’s Brandon Kaleniecki opened the scoring for the second period, scoring what would be his first of three goals at the 11:13 mark.

47 seconds later, Al Montoya sparked the Wolverines for what would become their first lead of the game by denying the Bronco shot on a two-on-one break. The rebound come out to the Wolverines Brandon Rogers, who found teammate Jeff Tambellini streaking down the right hand side of the ice. A crisp pass to Tambellini led the Wolverines on a two-on-one of their own and after sucking Bronco goalie Daniel Bellissimo to the near post, Tambellini fired a quick pass across ice to Chad Kolarik, who flipped the puck up into the air and then tipped it into the net.

Minutes later, Kaleniecki scored his second goal of the game, this time beating Bellissimo from the far post on a cross from teammate David Moss. The goal pushed the score to 4-2 with seven minutes remaining in the second period.

Tambellini scored Michigan’s final goal of the third period beating Bellissimo from the point after a clean face off win by Chad Kolarik.

Western Michigan battled back though. Two goals in the final minute of the period, including one with three seconds remaining, trimmed the lead to 5-4 as the period came to a close.

Western Michigan came out riding their wave of momentum early in the third period. At 13:13 the game tying goal beat Montoya, but a Bronco in the crease nullified the goal and play continued.

Western would beat Montoya again on the power play a minute later and this time it would count. This time beating him high to the glove side as the Broncos capitalized on an odd man rush and an open man crashing the net.

With the game looking to be heading for overtime, Brandon Kaleniecki hit the hat trick for the Wolverines, scoring his third goal of the night from behind the net as he tipped in a shot from Milan Gajic that originally missed the goal.

With Ohio State’s loss to Ferris State the Wolverines increased their lead to five points in the CCHA standings.

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