Broncos Win Late

The hockey season began in earnest on Friday night in Kalamazoo. With 2,489 fans including a sold out and rambunctious student section, the Broncos came from behind twice to defeat the University of Alaska Fairbanks Nanooks.

Making his first collegiate start in goal in his first collegiate contest, Daniel Bellissimo made it through the first half of the contest before his nerves settled down. Head Coach Jim Culhane stated after the game that the four goals that the Nanooks scored was not the fault of Bellissimo. The first goal of the game came just after the Broncos first of seven power plays had ended when Adam Powell broke away and went in alone on Bellissimo and was able to put the puck past him.

The Broncos answered when Brent Walton scored his first of two goals just 3:38 later. Walton scored his second goal unassisted on a short handed opportunity in the second period just 12 seconds after Jonathan Lupa scored his first goal as a Bronco while both teams were skating with only four men on the ice.

The Broncos lead wouldn't last very long because the Nanooks scored two power play goals with two Broncos in the penalty box. Curtis Fraser scored both goals exactly 30 seconds apart. Just 1:29 after Fraser tied it up at the 9:59 mark Kyle Greentree was able to get the puck past Bellissimo. Despite the Nanooks ability to keep the pressure on the Broncos, Bellissimo was able to shut them down the rest of the way as he settled down and started to make some great saves.

The third period was Bellissimo's strongest period. He made sever strong glove saves and some good stops with traffic in front of the net. His biggest save of the night however came when Kelly Czuy broke through the Broncos defense and was stopped cold by Bellissimo.

Despite being down by a goal and being pressured by the Nanooks, the Broncos remained calm and played a steady period of hockey. Their efforts didn't go unrewarded. With 12:46 remaining in the contest the Broncos captain, Pat Dwyer, scored his first goal of the season and 10:07 later he sent the fans through the roof when he when top shelf for the game winner.

UAF out-shot the Broncos 36-34. The Nanooks scored on 2 of their 5 power plays while the Broncos went 0-7 on the power play. The Broncos (1-0-0, 1-0-0 CCHA) and the Nanooks (0-1-0, 0-1-0 CCHA) will face-off at 8:00pm Saturday night at Lawson Arena in Kalamazoo, for the final game of the weekend series.

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