By @MichaelCaples –
The Western Michigan Broncos return from Rhode Island still in search of the first NCAA Tournament win in program history.
WMU fell to Air Force 5-4 Friday night in the first round of the 2017 NCAA 2017 Division I Men’s Hockey Championship in Providence, R.I.
The Broncos scored three goals in the third period, cutting Air Force leads to 4-3 and then 5-4, but they couldn’t find the game-tying goal or more in the final moments.
With the loss, WMU now holds a 0-7 record in NCAA Tournament games all-time.
Head coach Andy Murray started his press conference by reminding members of the media that his Broncos club could play much better hockey than they did Friday night.
“Well we certainly want to congratulate Air Force on a very determined effort tonight,” Murray said. “They played exactly the way we expected them to play. They competed on every puck and played a very solid game over 200 feet of the ice. It’s disappointing for our team to play a game of that level at this time of the year and in this age in moment, we did not play well, we did not get out of the gates the way we wanted to and that was our emphasis, was to be very good at the start and that did not happen for us.
“It’s disappointing, you feel for your seniors that played their last college hockey game tonight obviously and for our whole team, obviously for most of you, you haven’t seen us play this year, I can assure you we play a lot better hockey than that. We were not a good team tonight and we got out-teamed by an Air Force team that is capable of doing that. Congratulate them on their victory. I’m disappointed in how we performed.”
A Michigan native played a substantial role in the elimination from the national tournament; Okemos native and sophomore forward Kyle Haak scored twice for Air Force in the win.
Frederik Tiffels scored the first and the last goal for the Broncos, while Griffen Molino and Sheldon Dries recorded third-period goals in the comeback attempt.
Freshman goaltender Ben Blacker made 25 saves in the loss.
WMU concludes its 2016-17 season with a 22-13-5 record.