SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — A game between evenly matched teams ended in a 2-2 tie as 11th-ranked Union and 12th-ranked Western Michigan played to the stalemate Friday night.
It took only a little over two minutes for Union to score their first goal of the game. Sam Coatta was responsible for the unassisted goal, the first of his Union career. Coatta recovered his own rebound, shot wide of the net, but the puck bounced back off the boards and onto his stick where he made no mistake in beating WMU goalie Nick Pisellini at the 2:03 mark.
After Union’s goal, Western Michigan took back control of the game.
The Broncos outshot the Dutchmen, 13-5, in the period, and managed to tie it up with a little over two minutes remaining. Greg Squires scored the goal for Western Michigan by firing a shot into the top right corner of the net that Union goalie Troy Grosenick was late to deflect.
In the second period there were plenty of penalties, as each team was called for three, but both teams failed to capitalize.
In the third the two teams traded goals. Union again scored first, getting a goal from defenseman Mat Bodie 2:57 into the period.
“I shot a bit on the side, but it was really just a play to get it on the net and hope for the best,” Bodie said of his goal.
Squires responded for the Broncos with his second goal of the game at 12:47 on a breakaway after Union defensemen Shawn Stuart missed the puck on a backwards pass in his own zone.
In overtime, Union got a power play opportunity after Luke Witkoswki was whistled for hooking, but to no avail.
Union was 0-for-4 with the man-advantage, a notable stat, as th Dutchmen were tops in the country a season ago.
“We just have to keep it simplistic,” said Union coach Rick Bennett. “We are not last year’s team. We can’t keep carrying around that plaque anymore. It’s all done. Those guys know it. We’ve also had some pretty darn good chances on the power play tonight. Any time you get some point-blank chances like that, you just didn’t put it in the back of the net. Maybe tomorrow they do.”
Perhaps a big reason for the great penalty kill was the goaltenders. Pisellini finished with 30 saves, while Grosenick made 32 stops.
“I thought both goalies were good tonight,” said Western Michigan coach Andy Murray. “Certainly Nick Pisellini played well for us and we couldn’t seem to get one by their goalie either, except for Greg Squires, so both goaltenders played great.”
“Troy definitely kept us in the game,” added Bennett. “For a guy who came into the season with a whopping 85 minutes, he certainly has shown he is a quality goaltender in these two starts.”
Despite the respect both teams have for each other, neither was thrilled with the tie.
“We’re not big on ties, especially in our home arena,” said Bennett. “I don’t want our guys to be satisfied with that tie. We don’t ever want to play on our heels, but when you play a team like that, that’s an excellent hockey team – very well coached and that’s a good lesson for us. We’re just going to have to build on that.”
The tie extends Union’s streak to seven games without a win against CCHA teams. The tie also leaves Union winless in its overall series against Western Michigan (0-2-1).
The two teams square off again Saturday at 7 p.m. at Messa Rink.