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Western Michigan Broncos Stampede Minnesota Duluth 5-3

With both teams coming out of winless weekends, it's the Broncos who strike in round 1 led by Boston Bruins prospect Colton Hargrove, defeating the Bulldogs 5-3 at Amsoil Arena in Duluth, Minnesota.

"Anytime you win you win you feel good, and anytime you lose you feel rotten," said Western Michigan coach Andy Murray.  "We just tell our guys to plan on feeling good."

Murray's advice must have been taken to the heart's of the Broncos because after the "you-score-I-score" game was played for the first half of the game, it was Murray's team who came away with the victory on Friday night at Amsoil Arena in Duluth, Minnesota.

"We worked hard all week in practice everyday to prepare for this weekend, said Bronco sophomore Colton Hargrove.  "We stuck to our system and played hard for the whole sixty minutes after letting it get away from us last weekend."

The Boston Bruins prospect, Hargrove, not only buried the game-winner, but also gifted the Broncos with a single goal insurance policy, solidifying the score at 5-3.

"It's just hard work by my linemates," said Hargrove of his second goal.  "I pressured the puck, got a lucky bounce and got a breakaway to put it in."

Three other Broncos found the back of the net on Friday night; David Killip, Chase Balisy (Nashville Predators), and Justin Kovacs joined Hargrove in defeating the Bulldogs.

Goals from the Bulldogs came from Kyle Osterberg, Sammy Spurrell, and Justin Crandall, who had two points on the night.

"We're still really confident in that room and we like what we got in their," said Crandall.  "We've just given up to many easy goals over the last two games to opposing teams and we need to tighten that up more."

As far as puck possession goes, the Bulldogs seemed to have the advantage.  UMD won 43 of 67 face-offs, including a 10-4 record from Washington Capitals prospect Caleb Herbert and a 7-1 record from Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Tony Cameranesi.

"Hopefully it (face-off winning) keeps going that way because that means we're starting with the puck, but we gave them some easy goals and defensively we need to get a lot better," said UMD coach Scott Sandelin.  "We can sit and look for excuses but excuses don't matter, we have to find a way to win and correct some things."

Tonight's a new night and both teams will square off once again, only this time it will be broadcasted nationally on CBS Sports Network at 7:07 CT.  Both coaches will be look for wins, but for coach Andy Murray, there was only one thing on his mind - tomorrow.

"Our game plan is trying to win tomorrow.  That's the only thing we're worried about."

Scoring Summary

1st Period - UMD (14:35) PP Justin Crandall from Dominic Toninato and Andy Welinski

1st Period - WMU (15:51) David Killip from Mick Cicky and Aaron Hadley

1st Period - UMD (17:48) Sammy Spurrell from Charlie Sampair and Cal Decowski

2nd Period - WMU (2:29) Chase Balisy from Justin Kovacs and Dennis Brown

2nd Period - UMD (3:59) Kyle Osterberg from Justin Crandall

2nd Period - WMU (5:00) Justin Kovacs from Chase Balisy and Cal Decowski

2nd Period - WMU (6:58) Colton Hargrove from Chris Dienes

3rd Period - WMU (13:29) Colton Hargrove

Goaltending Summary

Lukas Hafner (WMU): 9-5-6 = 20 (3 GA) - W

Matt McNeely (UMD): 5-3-0 = 8 (4 GA) - L

Aaron Crandall (UMD): 0-4-8 = 12 (1 GA)

Official Three Stars

1. Colton Hargrove

Scoring both the game-winning goal and the insurance tally, Hargrove helped his team defeat the Bulldogs all while skating at a +3 rating.

2. Kyle Novak

Novak's presence was felt throughout the night on the blue-line; a constant frustration for UMD's forwards.

3. Chase Balisy

Balisy not only tallied two points on the night, but did so while constantly being keyed as one of the Bronco's better forwards.

Game Notes

  • Western Michigan went 0 for 4 on the man-advantage with only 1 shot in 4:54, while Minnesota Duluth went 1 for 5 with 3 shots in a duration of 6:11.
  • Both teams were able to block 11 opponent shots throughout the game, keeping the number of shots on goal relatively low.
  • Minnesota Duluth's Aaron Crandall, who came in to relieve starter Matt McNeely in the second period, led all three goaltenders between the two teams with a .923 save percentage.
  • Western Michigan's Kenney Morrison finished the game with one assist, but more impressively was one the ice for all of the Bronco's goals, skating a +5 rating.
  • The Bulldogs had but just one complete line that skated above a +/- rating of 0.  The fourth line of Charlie Sampair, Cal Decowski, and Sammy Spurrell, along with the first defensive pair of Andy Welinski (Anaheim Ducks) and Carson Soucy (Minnesota Wild) all skated at +1.

Like stated above, tonight's game will be broadcasted live on CBS Sports Network.  The puck drops at 7:07 CT.



Matt Christians covers Minnesota Duluth and the NCHC for SB Nation and College Hockey News. You can also give him a follow here ->