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Nolan LaPorte picked up his first career two point game in the tie.
Courtesy: Zolton Cohen

Broncos Earn Shootout Win Over Notre Dame

Courtesy: WMU
Release: 02/22/2013
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KALAMAZOO -- Western Michigan earned two pivital points with a 2-1 shootout win over Notre Dame after the two teams battled to a 3-3 tie on Friday night in front of a sellout crowd at Lawson Ice Arena.

The Broncos led three times on the night but were unable to hold off the Fighting Irish, who answered every WMU goal. Western Michigan picked up goals from Justin Kovacs, Will Kessel and Nolan LaPorte on the night. Mike Leone and Chase Balisy netted goals in the shootout and Frank Slubowski stopped three of the four shots in the shootout to earn the extra point. Slubowski made 25 saves on the night and helped hold Notre Dame scoreless on three power plays.

Western Michigan struck first at 12:33 in the first period on Kovacs’ fourth of the season. Mike Leone found the sophomore forward in the slot and he beat Steven Summerhays low glove side to give the Broncos a 1-0 lead. Luke Witkowski also tallied an assist on the goal, his sixth of the season.

The Fighting Irish responded at 17:33 on a goal by David Gerths. UND rushed down the ice and Sam Herr found Gerths in the left circle and he buried it for his eighth of the season.

WMU retook the lead just 21 seconds later when Kessel punched it in from the right side of the crease for his first goal of the season. Nolan LaPorte picked up the lone assist on the goal.

Notre Dame once against squared the game on an unassisted short-handed goal by Bryan Rust at 18:31 in the second period. Mike Cichy had a shot blocked on the power play by Rust and he took it down the ice and beat Slubowski for his 11th goal of the season to tie the game 2-2.

The Broncos took the lead for the third time at 4:07 in the third period. Garrett Haar fired a shot from the left point and Trevor Elias redirected it on net. Summerhays made the save but the rebound popped out to LaPorte and the freshman forward punched it in for his second of the night and first career two-point game.

Notre Dame tied it for the final time at 11:10 on Austin Wuthrich’s fourth of the season. After a collision UND had a four-on-two rush down the ice. Steven Fogarty fired a shot that hit the cross bar and the rebound bounced to Wuthrich and he fired it past an out-of-position Slubowski to square the game away at 3-3.

The Fighting Irish outshot Western Michigan 28-25 on the night, only the third time the Broncos had been outshot at home this season.

The two teams battle it out for WMU’s final home game of the regular season on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. Prior to the start the team will honor its eight-member senior class.