WMU falls to Northeastern in shooutout, will play in Shillelagh Consolation Game

WMU media file

The Western Michigan Bronco hockey team was able to shut down the high-powered Northeastern Huskies, but could not score in another shootout to drop into a consolation game with an opponent to be determined.

The streak continues.

After winning every shootout they faced 2 seasons ago, a season that resulted in only the 2nd CCHA title in program history, the Western Michigan Broncos (5-5-3, 2-2-0) dropped their 3rd shootout of the season and their 4th straight dating back to last season on Friday in a 1-1 draw against the Northeastern Huskies (8-5-1, 3-4-0) when they were unable to answer the bell following a Dalen Hedges score in the first round of the shootout.

To get to that point, however, the Broncos used a stifling defensive attack to shut down the Huskie offense, one that came into the match-up averaging 3.62 goals per game, good for 8th in the country.  And despite a rough first 10 minutes, the Broncos held their own, not allowing a goal through the first 20 minutes.

"Northeastern is a very good team with a tremendous amount of skill," Bronco coach Andy Murray said after the game.  "But we wasted 10 minutes of the hockey game because we weren't ready for the first 10 minutes of the hockey game."

However, the Huskies wouldn't' wait long to strike first, as they pounced off of the draw to start the 2nd period, pushed down the ice, and Braden Pimm found John Stevens in front for the opening goal of the game.  It was Stevens' 3rd career goal, as he plays along side a stellar sophomore in Kevin Roy and solid senior in Pimm.

Both teams would then battle back and forth, as Western Michigan slowly worked their way back into the picture.  In the 3rd, the Broncos controlled a good portion of the play, but could not seem to find the back of the net.  Each shot seemed to be either blocked, or smoothly taken care of by Clay Witt.  However, after Tanner Pond received a penalty for roughing after the whistle, the Bronco offense came to life.

On the second shift of the penalty, Shane Berschbach and his power-play crew went to work attempting to pick apart the Huskie penalty kill.  Eventually, a scrum in front of the net allowed a puck to fall to Berschbach's stick, and the senior forward slid the puck under Witt's arm for the game-tying goal, and his 7th goal of the season.

However, Northeastern would quickly wake up and controlled most of the action the rest of the way.  The Broncos would get a couple looks, but for the next 10 minutes, the Huskies would pepper Western Michigan and Frank Slubowski with shots, to no avail though.  The game would end in a draw and the ensuing shootout saw Northeastern head to the Shillelagh Tournament Final  against the winner of the #10 Notre Dame/Alabama-Huntsville match in the following game.

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