KALAMAZOO, Mich. — The Western Michigan Broncos earned a weekend sweep of the No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes, winning Saturday’s thriller 5-4. After being down 4-1 with three minutes left in the second period, the Broncos kept pressing to score the game’s next four goals.
“The game was wild. It was a fast game. We got a bounce on Jason’s goal. We kept working and got the bounces,” said assistant captain Brent Walton. “Were too young too realize that we are down 4-1 to the No. 4 team in the country.”
The scoring opened early when Ohio State forward John Dingle lit the lamp for the second time this season. Dingle took a pass from Kyle Hood and walked out front and placed the puck on the low glove side of Bronco netminder Daniel Bellissimo.
Nearly 11 minutes later, Brent Walton got his third goal of the season from his knees. The Broncos were on the power play and Walton roofed it, putting the puck past Ohio State goalie Ian Keserich. The score was tied at one after one period of play.
The Buckeyes then took command, scoring three goals in a matter of 10 minutes. The first was scored by Sean Collins with the assist to Matt McIlvane. Collins placed the puck under a sprawled Bellissimo after a scramble in front.
Ohio State took a 3-1 lead when Jason DeSantis walked into the middle of the ice and beat Bellissimo 5-hole. The assist went to Zach Pelletier. The goal was DeSantis’ second of the year.
Thirty seconds later, Collins got his second of the game and his third on the season. Collins, a defenseman, fired a shot from the point through a screen, and Bellissimo never saw it as the puck went high glove side.
Jeff Pierce started the comeback at 18:59 of the second period on the power play. Paul Szczechura sent a pass cross crease to an open Pierce, who placed the puck high to the glove side of the Ohio State netminder.
Under a minute later, Nathan Ansell lit the lamp once again on the power play. He took a slap shot from the point and beat Keserich high to the blocker side. Jeff Lovecchio got the helper and his first career assist. The score was 4-3 at the end of the second period.
Western received a lucky bounce when Lovecchio sent the puck into the Buckeye end and bounced off the back boards to an open Jason Moul who placed the puck into the wide open net as Keserich went back to play the puck.
With three minutes left to go in the game, the Broncos struck for the final time as Dave Krisky got his own rebound and fired the puck past Keserich. The goal came on the power play and gave the Broncos the lead for good.
For the last few minutes of the game, the crowd of 2,856 was on its feet and was cheering to the point that the blow of the whistle could not be heard.
“I can’t thank them enough. We have such a special environment here,” said Bronco head coach Jim Culhane. “I can’t thank the Lawson Lunatics enough. When were down three goals and they’re standing and cheering, ‘Lets Go Broncos.’ The players, myself and the staff feed off their energy.”
Ohio State thought that it had tied the game with nine seconds left, but the goal was disallowed. The Buckeyes pulled their goalie and were skating 6 on 5, but the Ohio State player knocked the puck in with his hand and referee Steve Piotrowski immediately waved the goal off.
Ohio State finished the game 0-6 on the power play and mustarded a total of 41 shots Bellissimo’s way. The Broncos were 4-8 on the power play and finished with a total of 20 shots.
“Our specialty teams need work. That was the difference this weekend,” said Buckeye head coach John Markell. “They (Western Michigan) are a great team. They are gonna climb right up the ladder. Right now we have to catch them, they are ahead of us.”