KALAMAZOO (WKZO) – In similar fashion to the series opener, Western Michigan hockey relinquished an early lead to North Dakota Saturday night, and fell by a 3-2 final in front of 3,045 fans at Lawson Ice Arena.
Both Western Michigan scores came on the man advantage. On the Broncos’ second power play chance of the night, Kenney Morrison blasted a wrist shot top shelf over the left shoulder of UND goalie Zach Gothberg for his second score of the season at the 4:44 mark of the first.
North Dakota answered nearly four minutes later with a power play goal of their own. Dillon Simspon blasted a feed from Luke Johnson and Jordan Schmaltz to tie the game 1-1. UND took the lead on an even strength score from Bryn Chyzyk at the 16:45 mark of the opening frame to go up 2-1.
The Broncos owned a 13-9 shots-on-goal advantage after the first period, and finished with 25 shots-on-goal to 16 for North Dakota. Western Michigan finished 2-for-6 on the power play with seven shots while UND made good on 1-of-3 chances on the man advantage with three shots on the night.
North Dakota added to their lead in the second on Rocco Grimaldi’s sixth score of the season at the 6:55 mark. The Broncos’ cut into the lead late in the final frame when Nolan LaPorte flipped the puck to Justin Kovacs who hammered it home at the 16:34 mark.
A total of 17 penalties were called in the game, and 36 for the weekend. 10 went against North Dakota Saturday, and seven against the Broncos. Trailing 3-1 midway through the final frame, Western Michigan squandered a strong scoring chance skating with a 5-on-3 advantage.
Frank Slubowski made 10 saves before being pulled at the 6:55 mark of the second period. Lukas Hafner made three saves in relief.
With the loss, the Broncos have lost a game in which they have scored first for the fifth time this season.
Western Michigan (6-7-3/2-4-0 NCHC) continues conference play next weekend on the road with Minnesota-Duluth. Friday and Saturday game times are slated for 8:07 pm