Kalamazoo, MI – Mika Ilvonen scored twice including the game-tying goal with 49 seconds remaining in regulation and Jimmy Schuldt added two goals including the second overtime winner to earn the extra league point as SCSU and WMU skated to a 5-5 overtime tie in Kalamazoo, MI. Ilvonen, the former Finnish World Junior player had only skated in 11 games the previous two seasons but has responded nicely with the increased playing time this season notching 2 goals and 2 assists in the last four games. The tie has the Huskies overall record at 19-6-4 and NCHC record 13-4-2. The two league points earned allowed SCSU to keep a two-point lead over Denver in the NCHC standings. The Friday result also moved SCSU into the #1 Pairwise position. The win also clinched home ice for the first round of the NCHC playoffs.
In a ragged first period fraught with a lot of turnovers saw the teams rack up 5 goals on a combined 28 shots on goal. The Huskies struck first on a goal by Ilvonen (Newell | B Lizotte) at 3:28 with a nice wrist shot from the left dot that beat Blacker for a 1-0 SCSU lead. Western responded with a goal by little used forward Aidan Muir who hadn’t been in the lineup for two months to knot the game at 1-1. With Jimmy Schuldt penalized for slashing WMU added another by Paul Stoykewych at 7:05. Stoykewych tapped in a rebound of a DiPietro shot for a 2-1 WMU lead. The Broncos, the second most penalized team in college hockey took two consecutive penalties and the Huskies made them pay with a power play goal by Easton Brodzinski (Jackson | Schuldt) at 9:58. Jackson fed Brodznski who was positioned low in the slot and he beat Blacker with a bad angle shot that somehow got behind him. This was Brodzinski’s 11th goal of the season. The Huskies again took the lead at 14:29 with Ryan Poehling’s (Brodzinski | Jackson) 8th goal of the season. Poehling knocked in a rebound in traffic at the goal mouth for a 3-2 SCSU lead. In a wide-open first period, WMU outshot the Huskies 17-11.
SCSU began to exert themselves on the Broncos in period two outshooting them 18-6 but failing on three man-advantage opportunities. However, it was the Broncos with only six shots on goal that converted that period with another goal by Aidan Muir for his second of the game at 4:04. The Broncos simply outworked the Huskies down low and Muir tapped in a rebound to knot the game at 3-3.
Period three had another explosion of goals starting with a goal by WMU’s Hugh McGing at 7:11. McGing skated in on the left perimeter and beat a partially screened Smith from the left circle for a 4-3 Bronco advantage. With the Broncos Neal Goff penalized for the second time in the game, SCSU converted again on the power play with a goal by Jimmy Schuldt (Newell | Lizotte) at 9:15. Schuldt beat Blacker with a shot from the high slot to again tie the game at 4-4. The Broncos, who battled back the entire game took the lead again at 17:35 with a goal by Dawson DiPietro. With an extra attacker, Mike Ilvonen became the SCSU hero of the game scoring the game-tying goal with just 48.5 seconds left in the contest. Ilvonen (R Poehling | Fitzgerald) scored from a bad angle along the goal line for the crucial tying goal to end regulation at 5-5.
SCSU outshot the Broncos 4-1 in a scoreless overtime session to put the game in the books officially as a 5-5 tie. In the league mandated second overtime session the Huskies ended things quickly on a goal by Schuldt. Skating 3×3, Blake Lizotte made a nice cross-ice pass to Schuldt who put a cannon of a shot past Blacker from the blue line for the extra session league point.
SCSU threw a lot of rubber at the WMU goal outshooting WMU 48-33. The Broncos Ben Blacker was called upon to turn aside 43 of 48 SCSU shots on goal. SCSU’s Smith stopped 28 of 33 Broncos shots on goal. SCSU was 2 for 6 on the power play while WMU was 1 for 1. SCSU won the faceoff battle 41-34 and blocked 13 WMU shots on goal.
The two teams return for the series finale tonight at 6:05 CT.
Stars of the Game: #1 Ilvonen (SCSU) #2 Stoykewych (WMU) #3 Schuldt (SCSU)