Western Michigan University’s hockey team (3-1-0) scored a goal on a breakaway in the final minutes of the third period to defeat Canisius (1-3-0) 2-1, Saturday night at Lawson Ice Arena.
With the game tied late in the third period senior forward Trevor Elias found himself in a race for a loose puck with a Canisius defender. Elias got to the puck first earning himself a breakaway opportunity that he converted into a goal, sending an already raucous crowd into a frenzy.
“My legs felt fresh and it was a great toss-up, almost like a Hail Mary, there, almost landed perfectly. I just kind of put it in the net, kind of got lucky,” said Elias.
The beginning of the game was marked by several opportunities for Western to score while big save after big save was made by Canisius goaltender Tony Capobianco, who was awarded the third star for his efforts.
“I still think we territorially dominated the play in the first period, but they were fore checking aggressively,” said Head Coach Andy Murray. “They did a really good job of rotating on their fore check and their coaches made some good adjustments in their meeting this morning. They were prepared for this game tonight.”
WMU’s Danny Dekeyser finally opened up the scoring with a hard slap shot from the blue line that found its way past Capobianco at 11:01 in the second period.
Canisius was able to tie the game early in the third period as Duncan McKellar put the puck past WMU goaltender Frank Slubowski for the first and only time of the night.
Overtime appeared eminent as the third period went along, but late game dramatics by Elias and solid defensive play at the end kept the Broncos from having to play an extra period.
“In this league there’s no easy games,” said Elias. “…I think that we’re expecting ever game to be a 60 minute battle right to the end. Obviously we’d like to win by a little bit more, a little less dramatic, but it kind of builds character as a team and we know that we can win these kind of games.”
Justin Kovacs, Michael Leone, and Luke Witkowski each contributed an assist in Western’s third win of the year.
Next up for WMU is Notre Dame as they travel to South Bend to take on the Fighting Irish Nov. 2 at 7:35 p.m.