KALAMAZOO, Mich. — It took just 1:37 of overtime for the Western Michigan Broncos (7-21-4 overall) to beat the Beavers of Bemidji State (14-11-3).
“I really didn’t see it go in,” overtime goal scorer Jason Moul said. “I just heard the crowd react.”
Bemidji State started strong, scoring the first two goals of the game.
Shane Holman scored his fourth goal of the season 3:05 into the game. Holman found himself on a mini breakaway, and he beat Bronco goalie Daniel Bellissimo up high on the glove side. Jake Bluhm and Garrett Roth were each given assists.
The Beavers scored their next goal off of a Bronco miscue behind the net. Jean-Guy Gervais picked up the puck behind the Bronco’s net and fed it out front where Matt Pope was sitting on the doorstep. He made no mistake and buried it into the back of the net.
“We made two mistakes, and they capitalized on those mistakes,” Bronco head coach Jim Culhane said.
Just 5:04 into the second period, Brent Walton brought the game closer on the power play, scoring his 22nd of the year. Dave Krisky started the two-on-one break by passing the puck to center Paul Szczechura, who then broke in on a two-on-one with Walton. Szczechura made the pass, and Walton found the back of the net.
“Tonight it just went in the net for us (on the power play). Over that stretch (1 for 20) we were creating chances they just weren’t going in the back of the net,” Culhane said.
Captain Mike Erickson tied the game at 7:48 of the second once again on the power play. Nathan Ansell passed the puck to his defensive partner Reid Yantzi, who fired a slap shot on net. Erickson deflected the puck passed Beaver goalie Layne Sedevie.
Holman deflected a Dave Deterding shot, putting the Beavers up 3-2 with 3:48 left to go in the second period. Roth was given the other assist on the goal.
Krisky evened the score at 3 with 18 seconds left in the third period. Erickson and Walton were given the assists on the power-play goal.
“We let them back in the game and we didn’t pay attention to detail very well when we had the lead,” Beaver head coach Tom Serratore said.
Tyler Scofield scored the Beavers fourth goal of the night when he put a rebound past Bellissimo at 8:01. Gervais and Pope were given the assists.
Late in the third period, the Broncos once again mounted a comeback. Ryan Mahrle scored only his second goal of the season. After the face off, Mahrle pinched in deep and threw a backhand on net that beat Sedevie, tying the game at 4 and sending it to overtime.
“(Jeff) LoVecchio chipped it off a face off, and I was going down low and I spun and wheeled it on my backhand. It slipped through the goalie,” Mahrle said.
In overtime, Moul gave the Broncos the victory 1:37 into the period. Jeff LoVecchio was given the helper on the overtime winning goal.
The Broncos finished the game with 27 shots on goal, while Bemidji State fired 36 shots on Bellissimo.
The Broncos power play was clicking, scoring on three of their eight chances, while they held the Beavers scoreless on the power play.
“We were good tonight (on the penalty kill). We got to keep battling and getting pucks out, and if we keep doing that we are going to make a run at this thing.” Moul said.
The Broncos will make the journey up to Fairbanks, Alaska, to face off with the Nanooks in a critical set of games as the CCHA season begins to wind down. The Beavers will play host to Robert Morris next weekend.