KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Western Michigan failed to maintain three leads during the game and Notre Dame freshman forward Alex Lalonde scored twice to help the Irish tie the Broncos 4-4.
ND freshman goaltender Morgan Cey tallied 31 saves on the evening while defenseman Neil Komadoski had a hand in two goals with two assists. WMU freshman goaltender Mike Mantua finished with 23 saves, including a breakaway save on Rob Globke early in the third period. Junior defenseman Dave Cousineau scored a goal and an assist for the Broncos.
After speaking to the players for 30 minutes following the game, WMU head coach Jim Culhane didn’t have much to say to the press.
“We have to be more disciplined in what we do. We can’t take retaliation penalties against anybody, and that’s going to cost us.”
ND scored first blood early, at :36 of the first period when junior Connor Dunlop, the Irish’s leading scorer, split the defense and beat Mantua with a backhand shot to give ND a 1-0 lead.
Junior forward Shawn Rose scored his first goal of the season at 12:11 by tucking the puck between Cey’s pads to even the game at 1-1.
WMU would take one of its three leads when Cousineau found the back of the net with a slapshot from the blue line that deflected off the post into the goal. The goal, scored at 17:30 in the first period on the power play, gave the Broncos a 2-1 advantage.
Lalonde tied the game at 19:20 of the first period after taking a pass from Globke and beating Mantua five-hole while skating across the crease to tie the game at 2-2.
After ND freshman defenseman Joe Zurenko took his second penalty of the evening on a tripping call, WMU leading scorer and co-captain Mike Bishai scored his first goal of the season, taking a pass the length of the ice from Mantua and skating through the ND defense to beat Cey with a wrist shot to put the Broncos on top 3-2 at 5:24 on the power play.
Tensions came to a boil midway through the game when WMU senior defenseman Austin Miller and sophomore Brian Pasko were involved in a scuffle with Globke between the team benches. Miller, Globke, as well as ND defenseman Tom Galvin were assessed penalties after the incident.
It only took ND four seconds to capitalize on a poor slashing penalty by Bishai at 19:43, as Lalonde scored his second goal of the game by deflecting a shot from captain Evan Nielsen past Mantua to tie the game again.
ND had a golden opportunity to take the lead within the first minute of the third period after a turnover by Miller in the offensive zone allowed Globke to skate away with no one in his path, only to be denied by Mantua glove-side.
WMU took the lead for the third time at 2:23 of the third; sophomore Lucas Drake knocked in a rebound of a Cousineau shot past Cey, who was flattened by a Bronco forward on the play, to put WMU on top 4-3. The goal was the Holt, Mich., native’s first of the year.
Irish forward Michael Chin scored his third of the season by knocking in his own shot that landed on the side of the net, past Mantua at 4:42 to bring the game to its final score of 4-4.
Late in the third, the Irish blew another opportunity to take the lead when forward Jon Maruk sent his shot wide of the net on a beaten Mantua.
The uneventful overtime ended with WMU edging ND in shots 4-3. WMU finished on top in the shot department for the game, 35-27.
Asked if the Broncos let this one get away, Culhane said one would need to wait until the end of the season to determine that.
“The only way you’re going to determine that is in March, when the season is all done. I’d like to think this is a hard-fought point for us in a tremendous league. The CCHA is the best league in college hockey, and from top to bottom it’s so competitive. I’m optimistic that this point will be huge down the stretch for us, and not be a pessimist and say, hey, maybe we let one slip away.”
Notre Dame head coach Dave Poulin was unavailable for comment.
Due to the Central Michigan-Western Michigan football game Saturday, the rematch between ND (2-5-4, 2-2-3 CCHA) and the Broncos (4-4-3, 3-4-2 CCHA) has been pushed back to 8:05 p.m. at Lawson Ice Arena.