Broncos Sweep UNO on the Road

OMAHA, Neb. (Jan. 17) - Western Michigan continued its assault on the Central Collegiate Hockey Association standings, posting a 3-2 win over Nebraska-Omaha at the Qwest Center Omaha.

Entering the night tied for fourth place, the surging Broncos are now 7-1-1 over their last nine contests, having earned 15 of 18 possible points during that time. WMU also extended its win streak to four games, completing a CCHA sweep for the second straight weekend.

WMU built a 2-1 first period lead on goals from Vince Bellissimo (9) and Mat Ponto (2). UNO opened scoring on Dan Hacker's power play tally just 1:47 after the opening whistle.

Neither team found the back of the net until late in the third period. The Mavericks pulled even on Scott Parse's 12th goal of the year, a redirection between the pads of G Scott Foster. The Broncos responded less than a minute later, as Paul Szczechura tapped in a pass from Jeremy Cheyne with 5:49 left in regulation. For his efforts, Szczechura was named Perani Cup No. 1 Star of the Game.

Nebraska-Omaha played the last 49 seconds with a two-man advantage after pulling Holt on a minor penalty called to Reid Yantzi. Foster turned away several shots in the closing seconds to preserve the victory.

"It was a tremendous battle, I was really pleased with our hard work and execution," coach Jim Culhane said. "We have a lot of guys in the locker room with ice packs for all the shots they blocked. The guys are playing really hard right now for the team."

Western Michigan takes on Michigan next week (Jan. 23-24) in a home-and-home series starting Friday in Kalamazoo.

NOTES: The Broncos played in front of a season-high crowd of 9,471 ... the Brown & Gold were outshot for the first time in seven games ... WMU captured the season series, 3-0-1 ... Portage native Scott Parse finished with five points (2-3) in four games against the Broncos.

GOAL DESCRIPTIONS:
1st, 1:47, UNO (PP) ? Hacker beats G Foster to a loose puck and shelves a shot just outside the slot.
1st, 5:41, WMU (PP) ? Mahrle's slap shot from the point is redirected in front by Bellissimo.
1st, 13:10, WMU ? Mat Ponto's initial shot from the slot is kick saved by Holt, Ponto follows with a second shot and scores.

2nd ? none.

3rd, 13:22, UNO ? Morelli hits a streaking Parse in the slot with a pass, Parse redirects between the pads of Foster.
3rd, 14:11, WMU ? Szczechura one-times a shot in front of Holt.

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