Nov. 22, 2013
EAST LANSING - A pair of two-on-one goals and a shutout from goaltender Lukas Hafner helped Western Michigan defeat the Michigan State hockey team, 2-0, on Friday night in front of a crowd of 6,175 at Munn Ice Arena in East Lansing. Nolan LaPorte scored in the second period and Justin Kovacs added another in the third, while Hafner turned away 22 MSU shots. The Spartans are now 3-6 on the year, while the Broncos improved to 4-5-2.
"The margin for error tonight was small and they capitalized on a couple of odd-man rushes," said Spartan head coach Tom Anastos. "We had a couple opportunities and we didn't capitalize and it resulted in the difference in the game."
The Spartans outshot WMU, 9-6, in the first period and had a number of good scoring chances, but the Broncos broke through for the first goal of the game at 13:08 of the second period. Josh Pitt picked up the puck at center ice, starting a two-on-one with LaPorte. Pitt sent puck to LaPorte from the left side, who directed it past a sliding Jake Hildebrand for a 1-0 lead.
The Broncos had more opportunities to build on their advantage with two MSU penalties in the final seven minutes of the period. But the Spartans' penalty kill held and Hildebrand made several more stops, keeping the game 1-0 after 40 minutes.
"I thought we played a pretty good first period, but got out of rhythm in the second period with all the penalties," said Anastos. "When they got ahead, it was kind of a different game and they were able to shut things down defensively and we couldn't build any rhythm."
After killing a penalty early in the third period, the Broncos made it 2-0 at the 6:58 mark on another two-on-one goal. Shane Berschbach poked the puck free at his own blue line, sending Chase Balisy and Justin Kovacs away on an odd-man rush. Kovacs finished the play scoring from the right side, just outside the crease, for his fourth goal of the season.
Hildebrand finished with 19 saves in the loss.
"I thought Jake was solid tonight and made a couple of really big saves in the game," said Anastos. "He didn't have a lot of opportunity on their two goals."
The Broncos went 0-for-5 on the power play, while MSU was 0-for-3.
The two teams will meet again tomorrow night at Lawson Arena in Kalamazoo at 7 p.m.