KALAMAZOO, Mich. — After a scoreless first period, the Western Michigan Broncos erupted in the second period to score four unanswered goals en route to a 5-1 weekend sweep of the Wayne State Warriors.
Junior Patrick Galivan had a three-point second period, junior Jeff LoVecchio broke the scoreless tie early in the second, and freshman netminder Jerry Kuhn displayed stellar play between the pipes.
“I thought it was good because the second period has been our worst period so far this year, and to get the four goals in the period was really big for us,” Galivan said.
The second period got started quickly when LoVecchio found the back of the net past Warrior freshman goaltender Kyle Funkenhauser off a rebound opportunity created by junior Matt Clackson at the 4:17 mark of the period.
“We are pleased about how we played all weekend together as a team,” Broncos’ coach Jim Culhane said. “I thought we played 60 minutes last night, and we put another 60 minutes together tonight. I thought we played pretty hard.”
At the 9:19 mark, sophomore Cam Watson slid a pass to senior Jonathan Lupa in the neutral zone, and he poked it ahead to Galivan, who fired it past Funkenhauser for the second Broncos’ score of the night.
“I am just trying to get the puck to the net, I have been kind of unlucky this year scoring, hitting a couple of posts and today I just got a couple of bounces to go my way,” Galivan said.
As the Brown and Gold exploded in the second period to jump out to a four goal lead, coach Bill Wilkinson said that he thought his team had a good first period, and did some things that they wanted to do; trapping the Broncos, which led to counterattacks for the Warriors (3-11-2 Overall).
“The second period just got away from us a little bit,” Wilkinson said. “We started to mix it up a bit, instead of doing what we had been doing in the first period and they are a pretty physical team, we had some turnovers in the neutral zone that led to a couple of their goals.”
Up 2-0 and looking for more, Galivan picked up a loose puck in the Broncos’ offensive zone, deked his way around the Warrior defender inside the right circle, and fired a blast into the back of the net.
“Gally has been one of our key contributors for us all season long,” Culhane said. “Tonight was just another solid effort for Patrick and his teammates, and he just continues to excel for us.”
After WSU’s Ryan Bernadi was whistled for a holding the stick penalty late in the second period, the Broncos added their fourth goal of the period with one minute remaining on the power play chance when senior Jeff Pierce knocked a pass over to Galivan, who got it over to sophomore defenseman Tyler Ludwig just inside the blue line. Ludwig fired a rocket into the back of the net past Warriors’ Funkenhauser.
“We were able to score on some of our chances tonight,” Culhane said. “We were able to capitalize on some our opportunities. I think the one big goal was the one on the power play by Ludwig.”
The Warriors erased the shutout early in the final period when sophomore Jared Katz fired a backhand shot in front of the net on a pass from senior Stavros Paskaris, slipping the shot past Kuhn.
“Again, to be successful it is going to take hard work for us, and to stay disciplined,” Wilkinson said. “We can’t commit penalties and expend the energy with the guys that are doing a lot of that work for us.”
The Broncos added another power-play goal on a Funkenhauser slashing penalty in the middle of a pile up at the 11:41 mark. Senior Mike Lesperance received a nice little present when a shot from junior Chris Frank hit him in the chest, and the senior dropped the puck onto the ice and banged home his third goal of the season.
WSU will look to regroup next weekend as they get back into CHA play, traveling to Niagara for a weekend set of games. The Broncos will enjoy the week off this week because of final exams and take the ice once again in an exhibition game against the U.S. World Junior Team on Tuesday Dec. 18 at Lawson Ice Arena.
“I think it is kind of a blessing for us with finals week and Christmas break starting because we do have a number of injuries,” Culhane said.