Never has an extra standings point felt so good for Colorado College hockey players and their fans.
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 but no penalties were issued.
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 them enjoy this for about 30 minutes because we know (WMU) is going to come out hard (Saturday)," he added about Saturday's home National Collegiate Hockey Conference finale. "I am really proud of them."
No NCHC playoff seeds are decided yet.
CC can climb up to seventh place with three-straight wins and two more losses by Miami (5-12-5-3 NCHC, 23 points), which is idle Saturday. Under that scenario, CC (3-14-4-1 league) would have six league victories and Miami five to win the first tiebreaker for seeding.
Western Michigan tied the game at 3-3 on the first shot of the third period on a goal by freshman Hugh McGing. It began a wild third period that saw CC generate three terrific scoring chances only to either get robbed by a brilliant save by Broncos freshman goalie Ben Blacker (37 saves) or miss the net.
"It was a great game," Haviland said. "We kept coming and played with a lot of confidence. (Blacker) was good."
Colorado College scored two goals in 98 seconds late in the second period to seize a 3-2 lead headed into the third period.
Tigers 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.
"Gooch and Michaud have put together a few games now playing with a lot of energy and obviously, (that was) a huge goal by Berardinelli," Haviland said.
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. Blacker went behind his own net to collect the puck but a WMU defenseman deflected it. That discombobulated Blacker and the puck ended up in front for Rothstein who shot before the goalie could get into position.