Nov 2, 2013 12:45 AM by Jordan Mason
Colorado College deserved better.
The Tigers matched Western Michigan University stride for stride, shot for shot, and until overtime, goal for goal in Friday's series opener at Lawson Arena.
But, with 3:08 left in the extra session, freshman Kyle Novak's blast from the inner edge of the left faceoff circle trickled across the goal line to lift the Broncos to a 3-2 victory in their first-ever National Collegiate Hockey Association contest.
CC finished with a season-high 31 shots on goal but ran into another hot goaltender in junior Frank Slubowski, who finished with 29 saves after a shaky start.
Senior Josh Thorimbert made 26 stops at the other end while senior center Archie Skalbeck scored his first goal of the season and freshman right wing Alex Roos his second for the Tigers.
"We had good second effort tonight, scored a couple goals, but in the end we didn't finish the game off," said head coach Scott Owens, whose team dropped to 1-4-0 overall and 1-2-0 in the NCHC. "We put ourselves in position to finish the game out, and we need to do that. That's a three points to zero game. That's the tough part."
Playing its third consecutive outing on the road, Colorado College looked determined from the start but lost one of its defensemen - sophomore Russell Finch - to an injury less than two minutes into the contest when he was crushed with a clean check behind his own net by WMU's Josh Pitt.
But still it was all CC in the early going. At 6:56 of the opening period, moments after the first of eight Western Michigan penatlies in the game expired, Skalbeck picked up a loose puck out of traffic in front, cut through the slot from right to left and fired a wrist shot past Slubowski on the glove side. At 12:06, less than a minute after Skalbeck delivered a nice hit in the Broncos end, Roos made it 2-0 while whirling and falling to one knee after Cody Bradley feathered a pass to him on Slubowski's doorstep.
WMU brought the loud, raucous Kalamazoo crowd of 3,114 to their feet a little more than a minute later, however, when Justin Kovacs raced up ice to get free in the slot and slammed a one-timer past Thorimbert after a pass from Pitt at 13:11. With 2:26 left in the period, junior defenseman Jordan Oesterle knotted things up on rebound after Thorimbert made a save on Will Kessel then got taken out of the play by Kessel.
Referees Brad Shepherd and Tom Sterns studied the video replay and let the goal stand.
That's how it stayed until Novak's first career tally at 1:52 of overtime slid into the net after Thorimbert got a piece of the initial shot.
"We deserved a better fate," Owens said. "But you've got to earn that and you've got to finish it."
Western Michigan evened its overall record at 2-2-1 with the triumph heading into Saturday's rematch.
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