Broncos Senior Class Steals the Show

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — The six members of the class of 2010 for the Western Michigan Broncos, enjoyed their senior night with a shootout victory over the Ferris State Bulldogs at Lawson Ice Arena on Saturday night.

The first period opened with three straight penalties by the Broncos, but the Western Michigan penalty kill was sharp.

With 5:08 to play in the first period, Matt Tennyson blasted a slapshot from the point that was knocked away by Ferris State goaltender Pat Nagel.  The rebound kicked to the right and Kyle O’Kane knocked the puck in for his fourth goal of the season.

The Bronco penalties continued to pile up through the second period.  The Broncos committed seven penalties during the second period of play.

However, Ian Slater, Chris Clackson, and Tyler Ludwig were solid all night when facing the Bulldogs’ power play.

“[Penalty kill] was exceptional,” said Broncos’ coach Jim Culhane.  “Obviously I’m not happy with number of penalties, but I was really pleased with the way we killed them though.”

J.J. Crew was tagged with a hitting from behind penalty with 1:56 to play in the period, bringing the Bronco penalty kill unit back onto the ice. Thirty-three seconds into Crew’s penalty, Jared Katz was called for tripping, giving Ferris State a five-on-three advantage for 1:27.

The Bulldogs finally found a seam in the Broncos’ penalty kill when Riley found Casey Haines through traffic on the backdoor for the power play goal with 25 seconds to play in the second period.

Ferris State turned it up a notch in the third period, outshooting the Broncos 17-4.  The Bulldogs could not find a way past Gill through the third period, leaving the game tied at 1-1.

The overtime period featured a lot of grinding in the corners and little offense.  The Bulldogs recorded the only three shots in overtime. Cody Chupp had an incredible opportunity with just under two minutes to go in the overtime period, but Gill made a sliding save to keep the game deadlocked.

“[The puck] landed right on his stick, I got good position, and made the save,” Gill said.  “It was a pretty good one there late in the game.”

The Broncos sent three seniors in the shootout with Cam Watson and Tyler Ludwig missing the first two shots. Katz was the third senior shooter for the Broncos and made a nifty deke to beat Nagel for the goal. Gill stopped all three Bulldogs’ shooters, including a shot by Chupp that nearly snuck past the goal line.

The thrilling overtime victory was the perfect way for the Broncos’ seniors to leave their home rink.

“It was a fun night,” said Ludwig. “But kind of bittersweet too because it’s our last time in Lawson, so it was good.”

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