Broncos Beat Bulldogs in Season Opener

In front of a sellout crowd of 3,870 and a packed student section, the Western Michigan hockey team opened up this season with an early conference win over in-state and CCHA rival Ferris State. In a game that saw two short handed goals and a power play goal, it was Daryl Moore's check of a Bulldog player into the boards that sent the loudest roar through the crowd.

With 9:56 left in the second period Moore checked a Bulldog player into the boards in front of the scorer's box. The check resulted in an extra 20 minute intermission so the Lawson Arena staff could clean the shattered glass of the ice, replace the glass and resurface the ice. While in the locker room, the team had some fun as Jeremy Cheyne said, "we were bugging him a little bit. Pretty good, being the smallest guy on the team and breaking the glass."

The fans in attendance were treated to a good hockey game and the student section was rocking from start to finish. "I think it's fantastic," Coach Jim Culhane said about the students in the stands. He went on to say, "I love their enthusiasm. We need their support." With the Broncos using six freshmen tonight, they got their first look at playing at Waldo for the Broncos. Being the toughest place to play for opponents can be intimidating, but for the new Broncos, "I think it was pretty exciting for them (seeing the students). It was pretty exciting," Cheyne said.

The Broncos were able to get on the board early in the second period when at the 6:40 mark Brent Walton put the puck behind goalie Mike Brown while short handed with Brian Pasko serving a 2 minute minor penalty for tripping. "Getting the first goal gave us some momentum," Coach Culhane said after the game. The Bulldogs responded in just 1:03 after Pasko's goal when Greg Rallo scored an unassisted goal.

Following the clean up of the glass the Broncos got back to work and it too them just over two minutes to pull ahead again when Cheyne scored his first of two goals on the evening. Brent Walton got his second point of the night after the pass he gave to Cheyne deflected of the skate of a Bulldog and into the net.

The Broncos increased their lead to 3-1 at the 17:02 mark of the second period while on the power play. With Matt Rutkowski in the penalty box for elbowing Cheyne got his second goal of the night by poking in a loose puck amid a mad scramble in front of Brown.

Ferris State was able to pull to within 1 at the 2:20 mark of the 3rd period, but that was as close as they would get to the Broncos. Carter Thomson scored is first career short handed goal while the Bulldogs was shorthand with Derrick McIver serving a slashing penalty. Thomson scored the goal after Rallo fed him in between the circles.

The Broncos finished the scoring at the 6:26 mark when Kevin Labatte and Lucas Drake were able to get the puck to him so he could lift a backhander that would go to the far post. The goal gave the Broncos a 4-2 lead and they were able to withstand a last minute attempt by the Bulldogs, but goalie Mike Mantua was ready and up to the task as well as the Broncos defense. "The guys played well in front of Mike and Mike played well in net," Coach Culhane continued "It's a great way to start out homecoming and our season." Pat Dwyer agreed, "Mike did what he had to do."

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