Tigers’ mistakes costly in NCHC-opening loss to Western Michigan

WilkieCCH_MNDuluth020219_017_webWestern Michigan took advantage of Colorado College’s mistakes and won the 50-50 puck battles in front to reel off five unanswered goals and pull away for a 6-3 comeback win Friday.

The Broncos tied the National Collegiate Hockey Conference opener for both teams when Dawson DiPietro knocked in his own rebound with 14:27 left in the game.

The goals kept coming for the Broncos (3-3-1, 1-0 NCHC), who dominated the final 25-30 minutes of the contest after falling behind 2-0 and later 3-1.

Paul Washe scored the eventual game-winner with 12:59 remaining by batting in a loose puck in front before Drew Worrad recorded his second power-play goal of the night for a 5-3 margin. Washe’s tally was the Broncos’ first lead of the night.

Josh Passolt accounted for the final margin against goalie Matt Vernon, who came on for starter Ryan Ruck (27 saves) with 4:48 left.

“We take a not-good penalty and them we miss an assignment on the PK (penalty kill) on the back door,” Tigers coach Mike Haviland said. “We just got outworked in front of the net on two of them. I can’t have that.”

The second period featured a myriad of momentum swings before WMU took control.

Colorado College scored twice in 34 seconds on its first two shots of the second period to take a 2-0 lead only to see Wester Michigan answer with a power-play goal by Drew Worrad 1:21 later.

Tigers senior Chris Wilkie then tipped away a WMU pass in the CC zone, collected himself and the puck in the neutral zone then raced in for a solo breakaway that he converted down low to make it 3-1.

But the Broncos would answer with a strong finish to the period with a pretty goal by Jason Polin, who was left undefended, giving him the space needed to lift the puck in over Ruck’s shoulder on a tough angle down low. His first NCAA goal made it 3-2 with 2:17 left.

The Tigers (2-3, 0-1) would push back, generating a couple late scoring chances only to see Luke Bafia make a big-time shot block on a Alex Berardinelli attempt toward a wide-open net with goalie Brandon Bussi still sprawled on the Broadmoor World Arena ice.

“The late goal in the second for them really gave them momentum,” Haviland said. “That’s a goal that should not have gone in. We were standing next to the guy (Polin). We could have went in (to the third) up 3-1. Instead, they got the momentum and we never got it back.”

Sophomore center Bailey Conger recorded his first assist as a Tiger on Nick Halloran’s first goal of the season. Zach Berzolla scored his first this season and second of his career to stake CC to a 2-0 lead early in the second, just 34 seconds after Halloran ‘s tally.

Ice chips

Freshmen Sam Renlund and Josiah Slavin and sophomore Jackson Ross all recorded their first NCAA points during the Michigan State series.  They were held of the scoresheet Friday (Ross inactive) … With no points on Friday, Bryan Yoon’s three-game points streak ended. … Friday’s loss was the Tigers’ first series-opening setback this season (2-1 Friday, 0-2 Saturdays).

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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: