Broncos are CCHA champions

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2012 CCHA Tournament Champion Western Michigan University Broncos

DETROIT--Western Michigan University's hockey team won the 2012 CCHA Tournament championship tonight at Joe Louis Arena with a 3-2 win over the University of Michigan.

Playing in their second consecutive CCHA tournament championship game in front of 10,421 fans, the Broncos secured the second CCHA tournament title in team history and first since 1986.

With the championship, the Broncos earn an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.

WMU opened the scoring on a goal by Ian Slater and led 1-0 at the end of the first period. The Broncos built a 3-0 lead after two periods on goals by Dane Walter and Chase Balisy, then held on as Michigan rallied with two goals in the third.

Freshman goalie Frank Slubowski made 27 saves and was named CCHA Tournament Most Valuable Player. Defenseman Dan DeKeyser and forward Greg Squire, along with Slubowski, were named to the CCHA All-Tournament team.

WMU took a 1-0 lead at 13:26 in the first period on Slater's seventh goal of the season and fourth in the playoffs. J.J. Crew fired a shot from just beyond the left circle and Slater wrapped in the rebound. Crew tallied his third assist in three games and Jordan Oesterle also tallied a helper.

The Broncos pushed the lead to 2-0 at 12:02 in the second period on a power play goal by Walters. Balisy fired a shot from the slot and a scramble ensued for the rebound with Walters back-handing it in for his 16th goal of the season and sixth career goal against Michigan.

Balisy made it 3-0 at 17:56 in the second period after Shane Berschbach found him alone at the side of the net for his 13th goal of the season.

Kevin Clare and Lee Moffie scored for the Wolverines, but the Broncos were able to shut Michigan down for the final minutes to secure the title. Michigan was coming off a double overtime win in the semifinals the previous night versus Bowling Green.

In its semifinal contest Friday, WMU defeated Miami University, 6-2, to advance to the championship game versus Michigan. One year ago, in the 2011 tournament, the Broncos defeated Michigan in the semifinals and lost to Miami in the championship game.

Visit wmubroncos.com for more about Bronco hockey.