ST. CLOUD, Minn. — Those critiquing Friday’s game between Western Michigan and St. Cloud State might say it wasn’t pretty, but that’s OK with Andy Murray.
“We’re not a pretty team,” said the WMU coach after the No. 8 Broncos snipped the Huskies, 2-1, in overtime at the National Hockey Center.
“We play pretty hard, though,” Murray added. “We should’ve won last night going away, but we didn’t score on our chances.”
Chase Balisy notched the game winner 41 seconds into overtime on a backhand shot that beat SCSU goaltender Ryan Faragher through the five-hole.
WMU is now unbeaten in six of its last seven games going back to its Nov. 22 shootout win against Notre Dame.
WMU (9-5-5 overall) hosts Minnesota-Duluth next Friday and Saturday at the Lawson Ice Arena in Kalamazoo, Mich.
Across the rink in the opposite tunnel, Saturday’s game left the Huskies with nothing but bitter disappointment.
“That was disappointing because it was a hard-fought hockey game and it was a hard weekend,” Huskies coach Bob Motzko said. “It was real disappointing to lose on a play that should have been shut down.”
The Huskies came into the game staring down the barrel of a fully-loaded second-half schedule in which four of the seven opponents the Huskies face are ranked nationally.
SCSU (8-9-4 overall) has a week off before it takes on Colorado College Jan. 13-14 in Colorado Springs.
The Huskies looked like they might be going for its first sweep of the season and third win in a row against a ranked team (the Huskies defeated No. 14 Denver, Dec. 17) while controlling most of the chances and momentum in the last half of the third period.
Matt Tennyson put the Broncos on the board at the 10:45 mark of the first period when he banged in a rebound from a Derek Roehl shot and 1:08 into the second period, Ben Hanowski took a shot from the top of the right circle that David Eddy tipped past WMU goalie Nick Pisellini.
The teams traded scoring chances and power-play opportunities through the final horn of regulation and into overtime when Balisy brought the puck deep to Faragher’s right. Balisy’s backhander slipped between Faragher’s pads, redirected off his left skate and into the net.
“I had it on my backhand [and] I threw it off (Faragher’s) pads and hoped someone would get a rebound,” Balisy said.