Colorado College’s inability to finish on its scoring chances assured the Tigers of a third-straight last-place league finish.
No. 8 Western Michigan never trailed and used a three-goal second period to put away CC, 5-1, in the regular-season home finale Saturday and spoil Senior Night at The Broadmoor World Arena.
With the loss, the Tigers (7-21-4, 3-15-4-1 league) finished the regular season with a 1-13-2 home record.
Now assured of the eighth seed, Colorado College will travel to the National Collegiate Hockey Conference regular-season champion – either top-ranked Denver or No. 2 Minnesota-Duluth -- to open the playoffs on March 10.
It was a disappointing outing for CC, which did not play with the same energy displayed in Friday’s 3-3 tie. Thirteen face-offs in the opening seven minutes slowed down the game, which favored the bigger Broncos, who also capitalized on their scoring chances.
Second period report
Western Michigan is in control with a 4-1 lead as Colorado College hockey’s home finale enters the third period.
CC cut into a commanding 3-0 Western Michigan lead thanks to a strong individual play by senior Luc Gerdes, which out to the front of the Broncos net and draw two WMU defenders before making a pass to a wide-open Trevor Gooch for a power-play goal with 7:19 left.
It invigorated a quiet home crowd but CC could not take advantage of another man advantage only 27 seconds later and Western Michigan pulled ahead by three goals about five minutes later on a power-play tally by Corey Schueneman.
A defensive breakdown helped WMU pull ahead 2-0 when leading scorer and sophomore Matheson Iacopelli got behind the CC defenders and hauled in a long pass from defenseman Luke Bafia as he cross the Tigers blue line. He faked low and then lifted the puck high over CC freshman goalie Alex Leclerc’s shoulder with 12:53 left in the second.
A long-range shot through traffic by defenseman Cam Lee made it 3-0 with 8:57 remaining.
First period report
Western Michigan cashed in the first power play of the game when right winger Frederik Tiffels scored down low off a pass from behind the Tigers net by Jade McMullen midway through the first period.
It was a lackluster opening 20 minutes for CC, which is not playing with the same energy as Friday’s 3-3 tie. The game got off to a sputter with 13 face-offs in the opening seven minutes.
Western Michigan enters Saturday’s NCHC series finale with an 0-4-3 mark all-time in Colorado Springs, including 0-2-3 since the NCHC began play.
WMU did earn a point Friday and can secure home ice for the quarterfinal round of the NCHC Tournament by earning two points against CC on Saturday.
A regulation or overtime loss, including 3-on-3 OT/shootout loss, by North Dakota or St. Cloud State Saturday would also lock up home ice for the first time in the NCHC for the Broncos.
No. 8 Western Michigan
Goalies – Blacker, Gorsuch.
Extra – St. Pierre
Goalies – Leclerc, Shatzer.