U-M Falls to Western Michigan in Series Opener
Phil Di Giuseppe

Dec. 14, 2012

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Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Yost Ice Arena)
Score: #7 Western Michigan 4, Michigan 1
Records: U-M (5-9-2, 3-7-1-2 CCHA), WMU (11-3-1, 7-1-1-1 CCHA)
Attendance: 5,800 (sellout)
Next U-M Event: Saturday, Dec. 15 -- vs. Western Michigan (Yost Ice Arena), 7:35 p.m.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan ice hockey team fell to Western Michigan University (No. 7 USA Today/No. 7 USCHO.com), 4-1, on Friday night (Dec. 14) at Yost Ice Arena.

The Broncos established their lead midway through the opening stanza and maintained at least a two-goal advantage throughout the matchup. Phil Di Giuseppe (Maple, Ontario) tallied the lone goal for the Wolverines. Luke Moffatt (Paradise Valley, Ariz.) and Cristoval 'Boo' Nieves (Baldwinsville, NY) now ride two-game scoring streaks thanks to their assists on Di Giuseppe's goal.

WMU netted two goals in the first period, including a power-play marker with 33 seconds remaining. Midway through the period, a scuffle between Jacob Trouba (Rochester, Mich.) and WMU's Mike Leone resulted in a pair of penalties but just after both teams regained full strength, Ben Warda floated the puck towards the left faceoff circle into a cluster of players in front of the crease. The puck eventually found twine to open the scoring.

There were six power-play opportunities between the Broncos and the Wolverines throughout the opening 20 minutes. Michigan failed to convert any of its three chances with the man-advantage, but WMU capitalized with 33 seconds remaining in the period when Luke Witkowski snapped the puck into the net from in front of the crease, bringing the score to 2-0 in favor of the Broncos.

WMU tallied its third goal early in the second period when Justin Kovacs drove the puck straight into the crease and overwhelmed Steve Racine (Williamsville, NY) glove side.

A little more than eight minutes later, at 13:49, the Wolverines got on the board to whittle down the Broncos' lead to two. After a scramble in front of the Western crease, the puck snuck out to a waiting Di Giuseppe, who sent it home from the right faceoff circle.

The score sat at 3-1 in favor of the Broncos throughout the third, and with 1:44 remaining, the Wolverines pulled Racine for the extra attacker. WMU drove home the win at 19:51 of the period as Dane Walters tallied an empty netter.

Racine turned aside 24-of-27 shots faced in the loss, and Frank Slubowski staved off 22-of-23.

The Broncos and the Wolverines meet again tomorrow night (Saturday, Dec. 15) to close out the CCHA weekend series. The puck is set to drop at 7:35 p.m. at Yost Ice Area. Michigan will hold its annual Teddy Bear Toss during the first intermission.

Contact: Rob Tillotson (734) 763-4423

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