Cornell Smothers the Broncos

On Friday night the Western Michigan University Broncos fell into an early hole against the Cornell Big Red at Lawson Arena in a non-conference hockey matchup. The Big Red leads the all time series with a 5-0-0 record. The last time these two teams met for a weekend series was on January 14 and 15, 2000. Cornell won the first game 4-3 and took the second game 3-1.

The 2,985 fans in attendance welcomed the Bronco Marching Band's pep band back to Lawson Arena and they were barely in there seats when just 42 seconds into the game Cornell's Matt Moulson beat Mike Mantua with a one-timer for the first goal of the game and a 1-0 lead. Ryan Vesce and Stephen Baby picked up the assists on Moulson's goal. Less than five minutes later with Andrew Dwyer off the ice for cross checking, the Big Red picked up a power play goal. When Mark McRae put the puck in the net from the top of the left faceoff circle, Sam Paolini and Doug Murray picked up the assists on the goal.

A minute after the McRae goal the Big Red picked up there third and final goal of the first period when the Abbott brothers (Cam and Chris) teamed up for a goal. Cam scored the goal when he shot one in from the slot through traffic that went through Mantua's five hole. Coach Jim Culhane than used the Broncos timeout so the team could regroup and stop the bleeding. The Broncos did settle down but had to play a defensive hockey game most of the night.

The Broncos were unable to get a goal in the first period and only managed to get 3 shots on goal. For the period the Broncos had 3 shots and was short handed 3 times on penalties by Andrew Dwyer (cross checking), Paul Davies (Tripping) and Dwyer again for obstruction interference. The Big Red peppered Mantua with 11 shots on goal and recorded just 2 penalties Ben Wallace (holding) and Mike Knoepfli (tripping).

In the second period the Broncos stepped up their offense and their defense limited the Big Red to just two shots on goal. The Broncos were able to get on the board halfway through the period when captain Dana Lattery, in his first game back since injuring his hand, put the puck in the net on a tight angle. The puck hit both goal posts after goalie David LeNeveu lost control of it in the corner and Lattery was able to get a shot off from the goal line. The goal pulled the Broncos within 2 at 3-1, but five minutes later Cam Abbott picked up an assist when Shane Palahicky redirected the pass from the slot giving the Big Red a 3 point lead again at 4-1.

Despite holding the Big Red to just 2 shots they still trailed by 3 points as they did at the end of the first. After the first to periods the Big Red held an 11-13 lead in shots on goal. There was just three penalties called in the second period with Brent Walton (obstruction tripping) and Jeff Campbell (high sticking) visiting the penalty box for the Broncos. The Big Red's Matt Moulson was sent to the box at 17:25 for obstruction tripping.

After the goal by Palahicky, the wind in the Broncos' sails had left and it became more evident in the third period as the Broncos were just not able to get anything going on offense and their defense faltered a couple of times. Almost halfway through the third period Stephen Baby fed Ryan Vesce a one-timer between the circles that found the back of the net and led to the departure of some of the fans in attendance. Both teams settled down a bit until Moulson scored his second goal of the game on a backhander that went top shelf at the 18:15 minute mark.

In that third period both teams finished with 10 shots on goal and the Big Red had a 23-21 advantage in shots on goal. Mike Mantua made 17 saves on the night while his counterpart, LeNeveu, recorded 20 saves. Cornell was penalized three times in the final period Jon Gleed (obstruction tripping), Gleed (holding) and Palahicky (checking from behind). The Broncos visited the penalty box just once with Brent Walton taking a hooking penalty while the Broncos were on the power play. For the game Cornell was 1-6 on the power play while the Broncos were 0-6 on the power play.

Heading into the game, both teams had a 4 game winning streak. Cornell extended their winning streak to five games with the victory over the Broncos. The Broncos look to stop Cornell's winning streak tonight when they meet up again at Lawson Arena for the 7:05 start time. Tickets are available for a special rate of 2 for the price of 1. The special price is only available with the donation of a canned or dry food item. All donations are going to benefit the Greater Kalamazoo Holiday Food Drive and other charities.

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