MARQUETTE, Mich. — Northern Michigan appeared to be on its way to the sweep of No. 19 Western Michigan, but the visiting Broncos had other ideas. WMU scored two goals in the final 6:16 to tie the game at 4-all, where it stayed through overtime. The Broncos (7-5-4, 3-4-3-2 CCHA) won the shootout by a 1-0 count.
“We got a point tonight, but we’re not happy with that,” said head coach Walt Kyle. “We capitalized on some power play opportunities, but we took some bad penalties that broke up our rhythm.”
Northern Michigan (7-7-3, 6-4-2-0) had its largest lead at 4-1 after Justin Florek scored less than a minute into the second period. WMU answered quickly as Max Campbell wristed a shot from the right circle past Reid Ellingson on an odd-man rush.
The score remained 4-2 for nearly 30 minutes before the Broncos made their charge.
Kyle O’Kane snuck the puck past Ellingson inside the far post on an innocent-looking play at the 13:44 mark of the third. NMU was whistled for a roughing penalty a minute later, and Western cashed in. Defenseman Matt Tennyson blasted a shot from the point to knot the game at 4-all.
The goal was WMU’s only power play tally on six chances including two five-on-three advantages in the game.
Both teams had opportunities in the overtime session, but neither could find the back of the net.
For the shootout, Western Michigan brought in Kuhn, who started the game but was pulled after Florek’s goal early in the second. Kuhn stopped all three shots he faced. Dennis Brown tallied the shootout goal for Western Michigan which stood up as the winner.
NMU excelled on the power play with three goals on four opportunities.
Two of the tallies came during a five-minute major the Broncos incurred late in the first period for checking from behind. Tyler Gron registered both of the goals. The first came at 15:05 as he skated the puck out from the end line and finished low on Kuhn. The second was a rebound of his own shot from the doorstep at 18:55.
WMU also had a goal during that five-minute major penalty kill. NMU’s point man fell down, allowing Dane Walters to skate in uncontested for a short-handed goal.
Northern Michigan got its opening goal at the 12:29 mark of the first period from Greger Hanson.
Ellingson made 28 saves for NMU including four in overtime. Nick Pisellini, who was the goalie of record, and Kuhn combined for 15 saves.
Northern Michigan will travel to face No. 12-ranked Notre Dame in a two-game series next Friday and Saturday (Dec. 10-11).
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