Rookies Triumph Over Ferris State

The Broncos scored five goals to the Bulldog's three and all of the Bronco goals came from either freshman or a first year transfer in tonight's hockey contest. And the 3,413 fans in attendance weren't only treated to an offensive showcase but also a goaltending clinic as Daniel Bellissimo stopped 45 of the 48 shots he faced, most while the Broncos were on the penalty kill.

If one were to look for a player of the game in the Western Michigan win you can look no further then the entire freshman class as Brian Bicek (2), Mike Lesperance and Jeff Pierce accounted for four of the five goals in the game while Daniel Bellissimo landed First Star honors for his efforts in net. And to top it off and make it an all newcomers night junior transfer Mike Erickson tapped in a rebound for the Broncos' first goal of the night.

"We're going to need that," said head coach Jim Culhane on the freshmen performances in the game. "We need other guys to step up and tonight they did."

For Bellissimo his 45 saves are a season high and helped bump up his save percentage on the season to .919.

"Daniel continues to get better. He continues to grow in his confidence and I think that just adds confidence to our team too," said Culhane.

The game started on a frustrating note for the Broncos as Pat Dwyer was awarded a penalty shot but missed the net wide right and minutes later Vince Bellissimo missed a nearly open net on a one-timer and neither attempt added to WMU's mere four shots on goal in the first period.

Jeff Legue and Greg Rallo opened the scoring for Ferris State with both goals coming just seconds after the Broncos had killed a penalty. Legue's goal also came shorthanded as he smoked Bellissimo high glove side with a slap shot from the high circle.

Erickson's goal would be the only scoring for the Broncos in the first period.

Bicek's first goal of the night would tie the game in the second as he put in a rebound of a Brent Walton shot. The two teams would skate off the ice after the second in that 2-2 tie.

In the third period Vince Bellissimo would earn his second assist on the night feeding a streaking Jeff Pierce who would score top-shelf on the break away to give the Broncos their first lead of the game.

Joe Van Culin would tie it up at the midway point in the third on a one-timer for Ferris State before Lesperance got a one-timer of his own from Paul Szczechura to give the Broncos the permanent lead.

"Chewy (Szczechura) got the puck down in the corner and he slid a pass out front and I just one-timed it," said Lesperance. "It was just a bury your head and shoot it and hope for the best kind of shot."

"That's a big goal," said Culhane. "In a critical situation against a cluster opponent in front of the big crowd; for him to be out there to score that goal that's just going to add some confidence."

Bicek would get his second of the night on an empty netter from beyond center ice to seal the win.

Walton extended his NCAA points lead with his two assists to bring his season total to 24 (10 goals, 14 assists), while Scott Mifsud of Vermont – who had been tied with Walton – had tonight off before the Catamounts host Northeastern tomorrow night.

The Broncos will travel to Big Rapids to finish off the home-and-home series tomorrow night for a 7:05pm start. The Broncos (8-6-1, 4-6-1 CCHA) are now tied for seventh place in the CCHA with 9 points, just a single point behind Alaska-Fairbanks and just a pair behind a tie for fourth place.

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