KALAMAZOO, Mich. – Colt Conrad and Dawson DiPietronetted goals in the final 1:12 of the game to come from behind and give the Western Michigan hockey team a 6-5 win over No. 1 Denver at Lawson Ice Arena to open National Collegiate Hockey Conference play on Friday night.
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Conrad punched in a rebound on a shot by Hugh McGing to tie up the game at 5-5 at 18:48. The Broncos (4-3-1, 1-0-0-0 NCHC) pulled freshman goalie Austin Cain to gain the extra attacker and Corey Schueneman found McGing in the left circle. The sophomore forward fired a shot on goal and Conrad put the rebound under the crossbar for his sixth goal of the season.
Just 15 seconds later DiPietro fired the puck past DU goalie Dayton Rasmussen for the game-winning goal at 19:03. Neal Goff held the puck in the zone and found DiPietro and the sophomore punched it in for his fifth goal of the season and second on the night.
DiPietro had his first collegiate three-point game with two goals and an assist, while McGing also had three points on a goal and two assists. Cain made his collegiate debut in the second period in relief of Ben Blacker and ended up making 15 saves to earn his first collegiate win. Schueneman had a season-high three assists, while Wade Allison also finished with a multi-point game, recording a goal and an assist.
Henrik Bogstrom gave Denver an early 1-0 lead after he beat Blacker from just in front of the crease, finishing off a centering pass that came from Troy Terry behind the net at 8:45 in the first period.
Western Michigan responded at 11:02 with Allison's third goal of the season. Luke Bafia found DiPietro with a stretch pass and DiPietro passed it through the slot to Allison, beating Rasmussen to tie it up at 1-1.
The tie didn't last long as Bogstrom got his second of the night at 12:51 on a short-handed goal. WMU turned the puck over and Jake Durflinger passed it ahead to the Florida Panthers' draft pick, who netted his seventh goal of the season.
Paul Stoykewych tied up the game at 2-2 at 4:06 in the second period on his first goal of the season. Stoykewych redirected a shot by Schueneman into the net. Borgstrom completed the hat trick just 1:43 later to give the Pioneers a 3-2 lead after finishing off a pass from Terry.
Denver pushed its lead to 4-2 at 7:35 in the second period on a goal by Jaakko Heikkinen. Rudy Junda found Heikkinen alone at the blue line and the freshman forward skated into the left circle and beat Blacker near post. WMU head coach Andy Murray then went to the bench for Cain's collegiate debut.
DiPietro scored his first of the night on a delayed penalty goal at 13:59 in the second period, cutting DU's lead to 4-3. The referee indicated a penalty was to be called on the Pioneers and Blacker was able to get to the bench for the extra attacker. Schueneman dropped it off to McGing in the right circle. McGing spun and got a shot on net and DiPietro banged in the rebound for his fourth goal of the season.
The headed into the locker room trailing 4-3 but McGing netted his second of the season to tie it up at 4-4 just 5:50 into the third period. Aidan Muir dished it off to McGing and he took it to the net, beating Rasmussen.
After penalties on both teams a faceoff in the DU zone was won by Borgstrom. He dropped it back to Ian Mitchell and Mitchell played it off the wall, creating a race to the puck. Cain charged out of his net to play the puck but missed and Terry corralled the puck, putting it into the net to give the Pioneers a 5-4 lead.
Just a minute later Cain stopped Terry on a breakaway that would have put the game away for Denver.
Western Michigan outshot the defending National Champions 37-35. The Bronco penalty kill was a perfect 9-for-9 on the night, including 1:44 of 5-on-3 time midway through the third period.