Colorado College recovered from Friday night’s meltdown and was well on its way to rallying past Western Michigan. But the Broncos scored an extra-attacker goal and Josh Passolt scored the deciding goal in the shootout.
Saturday's game went down as an official 4-4 tie as no one scored in overtime, but the Tigers left the weekend — the end of a six-game homestand — with only one standings point.
“We’re definitely proud of our guts in the first period there, but we’re not proud of blowing another lead,” forward Bailey Conger said. “We definitely need to tighten that up.”
Matt Vernon made 43 official saves. Thirteen in the third period made a one-goal lead hold up until the final 23.9 seconds. Western Michigan’s Ronnie Attard tied the game after CC repeatedly whiffed on an empty net.
Conger missed the vacated cage twice looking for a hat trick.
“Nightmares, for sure,” Conger said of the evening ahead. “We definitely needed to put that one in, evidently.”
The Tigers had to spend the second half of 5-on-5 overtime killing off a Sam Renlund penalty, fought hard and escaped to 3-on-3. Grant Cruikshank and Ethen Frank traded goals in the first round of the shootout, but Chris Wilkie’s attempt went wide.
Conger gave the Tigers their first and only lead with his second power-play goal of the night late in the middle period. It was the fourth goal in four games for the newly eligible transfer from Providence, playing on CC’s top line.
“He’s been very, very good,” CC coach Mike Haviland said.
“He’s getting the opportunity to show what he can do playing with high-end skilled guys like he is.”
Ben Copeland, who scored on the Broncos four times during the Saturday game last year at The Broadmoor World Arena, tied it at 3. The sophomore morphed a turnover into a 2-on-1 and buried it in the bottom corner of the net.
Colorado College had to erase a two-goal deficit to get that far. Connor Mayer got the Tigers back on track, scoring his first career goal 1:51 after Attard made it 2-0. The freshman defenseman moved up and scored from the right faceoff dot.
WMU’s Michael Joyaux was assessed a major penalty and game misconduct for checking from behind to the left of Brandon Bussi (30 saves) and the Tigers had five minutes to tie it at 2. Bussi saved Erik Middendorf’s bid but Conger was there to deposit the rebound.
“We’re trying to get some greasy goals in front,” Conger said. “We’ll take those.”
Haviland wanted to focus on the good — including “the character in the room” — after a disappointing loss-tie series, but spirited final game.
“We had to kill a penalty in overtime. It was kind of a wild game, to be honest with you,” Haviland said. “But certainly I’m happy the way we came back after last night, for sure.
“You move forward, you take the positives out of it.”