KALAMAZOO, Mich. — “If we play for 60 minutes … we can beat any team in the league.”
Western Michigan senior forward Chad Kline’s quote never rang truer than following Saturday’s 2-0 victory over No. 6 Michigan State.
In front of a capacity crowd of 4,575 at Lawson Ice Arena, the Everett, Wash., native scored the game-winner while shorthanded at 1:53 of the second period, and senior goaltender Jeff Reynaert stopped all 24 Spartan shots to help the Broncos salvage two points for the weekend.
WMU head coach Jim Culhane was proud of his squad following the victory.
“It’s special for everyone in attendance tonight and for us as a program. To beat a team such as Michigan State, they have such good tradition and winning tradition; it’s a great effort by our goaltender, Jeff Reynaert — (the) senior just played great, and we were able to get a bounce tonight.”
“As a team, this is probably one of our better performances. What we’ve talked about again is when we work real hard for 60 minutes, and when we execute the game plan, good things can happen, and we got a good result here tonight.”
MSU junior goaltender Ryan Miller finished the evening with 19 saves in the defeat.
The conference loss is the first for the Spartans since November 30; the victory ends a three-game losing streak for WMU.
Kline took a rebound off a shot from Mike Bishai and stuffed it past the defending Hobey Baker award winner to put the Broncos up 1-0.
The Broncos thought they had taken the lead late in the first period at 17:16 when Paul Davies thought he had poked a shot past Miller, only to have the goal waved off by referee Steve McInchak.
WMU caught a break with 3:30 remaining in the first period when MSU senior Adam Hall clanked a slapshot off the post to the left of Reynaert to keep the Broncos in the lead.
None of Friday’s nastiness between the two schools was lost Saturday as the game was delayed multiple times because of extra-curricular activity.
WMU forward Shawn Rose one-timed a pass from Trevor Cook past Miller to put the Broncos up for good, 2-0 at 14:25 of the third period.
Reynaert gave credit to the team for stepping up.
“Last night, when we look back at it, turnovers and bad defensive plays in our own end … we wanted to cut back on those tonight. This was a total team effort, a total team shutout. They were blocking shots, clearing pucks out of the way, getting pucks out of the zone; they did a great job.”
Next weekend the Broncos head to Fairbanks to play Alaska-Fairbanks, and the Spartans play at Ferris State January 15.