Late-game woes trip up Tigers in home OT loss to No. 8 Western Michigan

cc vs wmu2Colorado College’s third-period and overtime woes continued as No. 8 Western Michigan rallied for a 5-4 OT victory Friday night.

Hugh McGing scored 18 seconds into overtime to complete the rally after the Broncos trailed 4-2 early in the third period at The Broadmoor World Arena.

“They are the best team in the second half in the country so they have players who can make plays,” CC coach Mike Haviland said. “I guarantee you that Clarky (senior goalie Alex Leclerc, 24 saves) would want two of those back. It happens. It’s a work in progress obviously.”

CC has been outscored by a combined 37-23 margin, including a 5-0 deficit in OT, in the third and overtime periods this season. In contrast, CC has outscored its foes by a 69-51 margin (36-23, first) during the first two periods.

McGing scored his first goal to cut the Tigers lead to 4-3 with 18:14 left in the third before Austin Rueschhoff scored less than five minutes later to tie a game in which CC (11-15-4, 5-10-3-0) did not trail until the very end.

WMU senior goalie Trevor Gorsuch (29 saves, 11 in third) maintained the tie despite a flurry of CC scoring chances over the final seven minutes of regulation.

“We had two breakaways in third?” Haviland said. “We got to finish. We had chances to score and we didn’t score. It’s something we will continue to work on. That’s where we’re at. Close the game out. We’re all in this together.”

CC senior Trey Bradley continued to be the Tigers’ catalyst on offense, assisting the first two goals and scoring the third. Junior Chris Wilkie scored the opening goal and added two assists as well over the first two periods.

“We played a good 40 minutes there,” Wilkie said. “I wish I had answers for what goes in in the third. It’s getting to the point where it’s pretty frustrating. We just have to get back to work (Saturday) and come out with three points.”

Bradley put sixth-place CC ahead 3-1 with 4:34 left in the second period when his shot was stopped on a superb diving save by Gorsuch. But the sprawled netminder could not recover in time. The puck went behind the WMU net, where Bradley tracked it down and then fired a banked shot off a Broncos defenseman on a wraparound attempt.

Late in the first, Bradley skated in through the left faceoff circle and flipped the puck off Gorsuch’s left shoulder from a hard angle.

The goalie was unable to corral the puck and Westin Michaud poked in the rebound for a 2-1 lead with 1:44 remaining. Bradley set up the National Collegiate Hockey Conference game’s opening goal after Zach Berzolla forced a WMU turnover at central ice midway through the first period.

Berzolla chipped the puck ahead to Bradley who started the 2-on-1 rush and then passed over to Wilkie, who ripped a one-timer with 10:11 remaining to make it 1-0 in the first shot on goal for the hosts.

Second-place WMU (18-10-1, 11-7-1-1 NCHC) would answer quickly, with Cam Lee scoring about a minute later on an unassisted goal to tie the game early. Ethen Franks scored Western’s second goal three minutes after Bradley’s tally to make it 3-2 entering the third.

Ben Copeland put CC ahead 4-2 early in the third period when he skated across the slot and lifted the puck past Gorsuch’s glove attempt with 18:14 left.

Ice chips

Friday’s game started a five-game homestand and a stretch of six Tigers home games in seven NCHC contests to close out the regular season. … Mason Bergh now has 95 career points (41 goals) and is 84th all-time in program history. The last Tiger to crack the Century Club (100 points) was Alex Krushelnyski on Feb. 22, 2014. … CC has allowed 17 goals in 11 wins this season while getting touched for 71 in the other 19 games (0-15-4).

About paisleyhockey
I am a freelance writer specializing in sports with about 25 years of professional experience.

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