Western Michigan opened up conference play against the Colorado College Tigers this weekend in a two-game series. The Tigers eliminated the Broncos from the NCHC tournament last spring and ruined their hopes at an at large bid for the 16-team NCAA tournament.
The first game saw the Broncos rally past the Tigers 6-3 on Friday, Nov. 1. However, the second game was a different story as they tied the Tigers 4-4 and won the game in a shootout. The Broncos now stand at 3-3-2 overall and 1-0-1 in conference play.
The first period in game one was quiet as neither team was able to put the puck in the net.
The second period was much more entertaining as it was a scoring fest by both teams. The Tigers took a quick 2-0 lead after scoring two in just over two minutes to start the frame. Not too long after that, the Broncos answered back with a power play goal from Drew Worrad who netted his third goal of the year.
After the Broncos cut the Tigers lead in half, Colorado College responded well and scored its third goal on the night to take a two goal lead over the Broncos. As the second period began to whine down, the Broncos scored a goal within the last two minutes of the frame. The goal came from freshman Jason Polin as he scored his first career goal off an assist from Lukas Samuelsson.
Going into the third period, the Broncos went in with a one goal deficit being down 3-2. However, the lead for Colorado College wouldn’t last long as the Broncos would score four goals in the third period to runaway with the game. Dawson DiPietro, Josh Passolt, Paul Washe, and Worrad would all go on to score goals in the period. After a hard fought game, the Broncos took the series opener 6-3.
The second game was a tightly contested one as both teams scored four goals a piece which resulted in a tie. Western would ultimately go on to capture five out of six points possible to start conference play winning the sudden death shootout in the series finale.
The Broncos enjoyed a hot start in the first period scoring two goals to give themselves the early advantage. The players responsible for scoring the first two goals were defensemen Washe and Ronnie Attard.
The Tigers, however, answered back with two goals themselves with one of them being a huge power play goal. This would tie the game up 2-2 going into the second period.
Within the first two minutes of the second, the Broncos regained the lead thanks to a goal from Worrad. Following the Broncos goal, the Tigers evened up the game once again midway through the period.
The Broncos would go into the last minute of the third period shorthanded and Colorado College took advantage scoring and gathered the lead for the first time in the game. However, the Broncos answered within the last 30 seconds of the contest tying the game 4-4 with a goal from Attard who scored his second of the night, the contest would head into overtime.
After a winner couldn’t be determined from two overtime periods, the Broncos went on to win in a shootout to gain five of the six points against the Tigers.
The Broncos did hurt their chances of pulling out a sweep in the second game as they racked up the penalty minutes again. The Broncos committed a total of seven penalties for a combined 25 minutes short handed.
Western went on to outshoot Colorado College 50-37. This would make the first time since 2017 that the Broncos racked up 50 shots on an opponent.
Worrad and Washe were the biggest weapons for the Broncos during this series. Worrad scored three goals and earned two assists, while Washe scored two goals and racked up three assists over the two games.
Over the course of the series, the Broncos did finally get their offense going which was on a slow start to the year. The Broncos scored 10 goals on 85 shots in the two games against the Tigers.
Next weekend the Broncos will square off against the Ferris State Bulldogs for a home and home series. Western will host the Bulldogs in game one on Friday, Nov. 8 with the contest starting at 7 p.m. They will then travel to Ferris State on Saturday, Nov. 9 with the puck dropping at 8 p.m.