Too often this season, the Colorado College Tigers have cast themselves as “the other team” in an opponent’s dramatic comeback story.
The Tigers surrendered a two-goal lead in the third period for the second straight game, and Hugh McGing scored his second of the game 18 seconds into overtime as No. 9 Western Michigan sank the Tigers, 5-4 at home.
Chris Wilkie and Trey Bradley each had a goal and two assists and Alex Leclerc made 24 saves, but the Tigers left without a standings point.
“We’ve just got to be better the last 20 minutes. It keeps happening, and I don’t have an answer,” Wilkie, who tied a career high with eight shots on goal, said.
“It’s getting to the point where it’s pretty frustrating.”
Trailing Ben Copeland took a pass from Westin Michaud and flung it home for a 4-2 Colorado College lead 1:46 into the third period.
The Broncos’ game-tying burst came soon afterward. McGing and Austin Rueschhoff scored from the top of each circle 1:59 minutes apart.
“I guarantee (Leclerc) would want two of those back,” coach Mike Haviland said.
“I’m not blaming anybody. I’m not blaming him. We’re in this together.”
CC had another good first period, where it has a 36-23 scoring advantage this season. Wilkie got the Tigers on the board first, scoring his first in more than a month. Zach Berzolla got the puck to Bradley in transition, and Wilkie took the feed just past the blue line and buried it.
Western Michigan’s Cam Lee evened the score off a faceoff 1:03 later. The goal was unassisted.
Michaud sent CC (11-15-4, 5-10-3 NCHC) into the first period break with the lead after his goal survived a review. Bradley’s shot got caught in the crease, and Michaud located it before goaltender Trevor Gorsuch could.
Bradley was stonewalled by Gorsuch (29 saves) on an odd-man rush, picked up the rebound, curled around the back of the net and banked it in for his 12th of the season.
Ethen Frank got WMU (18-10-1, 11-7-1-1 NCHC) back within one before the end of the second period when the Tigers couldn’t clear the zone. The Broncos put blast after blast on Leclerc until Frank opened up to roof a rebound.
“You can’t be that close,” Haviland said. “You think you’re standing next to a guy, you better have that guy. You can’t just be, ‘I almost had them.’”
Colorado College killed off the latter three minutes of an Andrew Farny five-minute boarding major with a matching minor, but couldn’t glean any momentum.
CC has a quick turnaround, as Saturday's game starts at 4:30 p.m.