Never has an extra standings point felt so good for Colorado College hockey.
Freshman Alex Berardinelli scored an unassisted goal with two-tenths of a second left in the second overtime to garner two out of a possible three standings points and bring The Broadmoor World Arena crowd to their feet.
There was a fracas by the eighth-ranked Western Michigan bench after the game so player availabilities for Saturday’s home National Collegiate Hockey Conference finale will be announced later.
But for now, the Tigers (7-20-4, 3-14-4-1) will bask in the glow of a home victory, even if it only counts officially as a tie.
“I think it is huge for morale,” CC coach Mike Haviland said. “We have been on the other end of those 3-on-3 overtimes or shootouts. They played extremely hard all night and won some battles against a team plays a hard game.”
‘We’ll let then enjoy this for about 30 minutes because we know (WMU) is going to come out hard (Saturday),” he added. “I am really proud of them.”
Second period report
Colorado College scored two goals in 98 seconds late in the second period to seize a 3-2 lead headed into the third period Friday night.
Sophomore Trevor Gooch scored on a one-timer in the slot to tie the game at 2-2 with 2:51 left. The score came 10 seconds after a CC power play expired and caught a tired WMU penalty-kill unit flat footed.
CC kept up the pressure and WMU made a mistake that led to the go-ahead goal for senior captain Sam Rothstein with 1:13 remaining.
Broncos goalie Ben Blacker went behind his own net to collect the puck but a WMU defenseman tried to control the rolling puck with his stick. The deflection disrupted Blacker and the puck ended up in front for Rothstein, who shot before Blacker could get back into position.
The Tigers penalty kill, which performed well during a 5-minute WMU power play during the first period, broke down early in the second when WMU sophomore Griffen Molino skated into the slot undefended and scored on a forehand deke and backhander on CC freshman goalie Alex Leclerc to make it 2-1, Broncos.
First period report
A late Western Michigan goal spoiled a strong first period for host Colorado College as the two National Collegiate Hockey Conference teams entered first intermission tied at 1-1.
CC senior Matt Hansen scored his career-best fifth goal this season when he fired a one-timer off a pass by sophomore Mason Bergh to convert a 5-on-3 power play midway through the first period.
Western Michigan was called for four penalties in the opening eight minutes, including a 5-on-3 CC power play that culminated in Hansen’s scoring shot from between the faceoff circles.
The Broncos had their chance with a five-minute power play, but Leclerc made four of his nine saves in the first period and Frederik Tiffels’ shot toward a wide-open CC net clanged off the post and safely away to keep it a one-goal CC lead with 2:44 left.
Moments later, the five-minute major expired and CC looked in control until a defensive breakdown left senior center Sheldon Dries open for a pass from Corey Schueneman to tie the game at 1-1 with 1:39 remaining.
CC fans will need to look out for the top line of senior Western Michigan center Sheldon Dries ( No. 8) and sophomores Griffen Molino (No. 17) and Matt Iacopelli (No. 7), which have combined for 40 goals this season. Sophomore center Colt Conrad (No. 29) has 11 goals for 51 out of WMU’s 100 goals this season.
No. 8 Western Michigan
Goalies – Blacker, Gorsuch.
Extra – St. Pierre
Goalies – Leclerc, Shatzer.