KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Two seasons ago at Lawson Ice Arena, Mark Kosick scored the tying goal with seven seconds left in the third period, the culmination of a two-goal comeback that gave the Wolverines a 2-2 tie with the Broncos.
Warp to this season, and Kosick hasn’t had those opportunities, even getting scratched two weekends ago by Michigan coach Red Berenson for lackluster play.
But Saturday night, Kosick began his redemption by reliving his 1999 performance, tallying the game-tying goal with just over a minute left in No. 9 Michigan’s 4-4 tie with No. 7 Western Michigan.
“We knew we had the potential to come back,” Kosick said. “It’s always fun to make the big comeback.”
Kosick received a pass from Jillson from the point, then tried the backhand. Western Michigan goaltender Jeff Reynaert stopped the first shot, but Kosick’s rebound flew over the goaltender’s pads.
While Kosick saved his team from a bitter loss, topping Michigan’s biggest comeback in two years, the senior made his own comeback of sorts, scoring his first goal in nine games at the most opportune time.
Meanwhile, Western Michigan blew leads of 3-0 and 4-1, the latter holding until nine minutes left.
“You should be able to put them away,” said Reynaert, who saved 32 of 36 shots. “It disgusts us right now. We’re very disappointed that we did that in the last 10 minutes.”
The Broncos stormed to a 2-0 first-period lead on a goal by Paul Davies and a power-play tally David Gove.
Gove went on to score another power-play goal as Western Michigan took advantage of Michigan’s 51 minutes of penalties.
“If we want to go anywhere in this league and in the national race, we have to play disciplined,” said Jeff Jillson, who said Berenson was upset with the overloading of the Michigan penalty box. “We have to learn to walk away from this stuff.”
The Wolverines did kill off their biggest penalty, as Michigan halted Western Michigan’s attack on a five-minute major committed by Jed Ortmeyer with 17 seconds left in the first period.
Ortmeyer checked Gove from behind and was ejected with a game misconduct. Michigan’s Mike Komisarek and Western Michigan’s Brian Pasko received 10-minute misconducts for unsportsmanlike conduct.
“It’s a joke — a check from behind, you’re going to have a quadriplegic out there,” Western Michigan coach Jim Culhane said. “There’s no room for that in our league.”
The Broncos responded with a shorthanded strike when freshman Lucas Drake caught Michigan on a line change. Anthony Battaglia fed Drake, who beat Michigan goaltender Josh Blackburn one-on-one.
Jillson cut the Wolverines’ deficit to 3-1, with a power-play tally at the 15:30 mark of the second period.
Down 3-1 at the start of the third, the Wolverines didn’t look like they were going to make any sort of comeback. Michigan went to the box on three straight penalties in 3:14. Gove then notched his second power-play goal to put Western Michigan up 4-1 with 11:30 remaining in the third.
“We knew we weren’t giving the effort we wanted,” Jillson said. “Things were looking low.”
But then the jets turned on and the Wolverines took control. Even with six minutes of penalties, Michigan outshot Western 12-5 in the third period.
Mike Cammalleri started the comeback, notching two goals in a span of 5:47, before Kosick’s game-tying tally.
“It was a great tie after all the adversity we battled tonight and all the penalties,” Berenson said. “We still knew we had a chance. It’s a good character builder and a good confidence builder.”
The tie dropped the Broncos to third place in the CCHA with 22 points. Meanwhile, with a win and a tie against Western Michigan this weekend, the Wolverines moved into second place, holding 24 points — five points behind league leader Michigan State, which beat Miami twice.
While the Broncos remain winless in four games, they did prove that they can play among the CCHA’s best. Western Michigan tied Michigan State earlier this season, and tied Michigan Saturday.
“I mean, we realize that we can compete,” Gove said. Friday night’s 5-1 loss “was embarrassing, and tonight I thought we outplayed Michigan for 55 minutes.”