PLYMOUTH, Mich. — In a battle for third place in College Hockey America, a controversial goal late in the third period gave Wayne State a 2-2 tie with visiting Niagara on Saturday afternoon.
Adam Krug’s second goal of the game at 15:18 of the final period capped a back-and-forth game that saw WSU score the game’s first goal just 38 seconds in.
Krug appeared to have both feet in the crease when his shot beat Niagara goalie Jeff Van Nynatten. The NU bench contested, but referee Steve Piotrowski let the goal stand.
“He clearly had both feet in the crease and the whistle should have gone,” Purple Eagles head coach Dave Burkholder said. “We clearly out-chanced Wayne State, but still, this was a great road effort.”
On the first shift of the game, Krug redirected a Steve Kovalchik shot five-hole on Van Nynatten.
“That was one of the first times I’ve started,” Krug explained. “Our line wanted to get out there and get it done right away and we did.”
Niagara captain Barret Ehgoetz knotted the game at 15:06 of the second period on a sharp angle shot that surprised Warriors’ goalie Matt Kelly. Ehgoetz gathered a loose puck at the bottom of the left circle and fired a shot along the ice that beat cleanly.
“We obviously came out quick and had the intensity,” WSU head coach Bill Wilkinson said. “But sometimes that’s the kiss of death when you come out and get a quick one.”
Wayne State then scored at 16:59 of the second, only to see the goal waved off. A Wayne State player rattled the puck off the boards on a dump-in and the puck went in off a linesmen and past a diving Van Nynatten who was scrambling back to the net after preparing to play the puck behind his net.
Ryan Carrigan scored his first of the season on a point shot that put Niagara up 2-1 at 5:58 of the third period. That set the stage for Krug’s late power-play tally.
“We kept coming,” said Burkholder. “We played well from start to finish and we’ve got to be positive about that. But we won’t know how big this game was until after tomorrow’s game.”
Wayne State (12-14-3, 5-7-3 CHA) is still a point up on Niagara (10-16-2, 5-8-2 CHA) in the CHA standings with a 2:05 p.m. rematch set for Sunday afternoon.