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Courtesy: Brett Beier

Novak’s OT Winner Gives WMU First NCHC Win

Courtesy: Adam Bodnar, assistant director of media relations
Release: 11/01/2013
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KALAMAZOO, Mich. -- Kyle Novak netted the game-winning goal just 1:52 into overtime for his first career goal to give Western Michigan scored three unanswered goals in  a 3-2 win over Colorado College in front of 3,114 fans at Lawson Ice Arena on Friday night.

Novak got the puck in the slot from a pass through traffic by Will Kessel. The freshman fired it high and CC goalie Josh Thorimbert made the initial save but it bounced over him and was pushed into the net by the goalie’s back and over the line. The win is the first for the WMU hockey (2-2-1, 1-0-0 NCHC) program in National Collegiate Hockey Conference play.

Kessel had two assists on the night, while Justin Kovacs and Jordan Oesterle also lit the lamp. Junior goalie Frank Slubowski made a game-high 29 saves to pick up his second win of the season. WMU held Colorado College scoreless on all six of its power play opportunities tonight but where slightly outshot 31-29.

Colorado College jumped on the Broncos early with goals at 6:56 and 12:06 in the first period. Right after a Tiger power play ended Archie Skalbeck skated around traffic in the slot and fired a shot into the net for his first goal of the season to give CC a 1-0 lead.

Just under six minutes later Alex Roos skated in on Slubowski and punched his in for the second of the season with Cody Bradley and Alexander Krushelnyski setting up the goal to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead.

Western Michigan responded just over a minute later on a two-on-one breakout. Josh Pitt threaded the needle with a pass through the crease to Kovacs and the junior forward fired it into an open net for his first goal of the season. The assist was Pitt’s second on the year and Shane Berschbach also tallied a helper to cut the lead to 2-1 at 13:11 in the first period.

With time winding down in the first Kessel got a pass from Oesterle and skated through the left circle and fired a shot on net. Thorimbert coughed up the rebound and Oesterle punched it in for his first of the season to even the game 2-2.

The two teams battle evenly through two periods of play with each team firing off 10 shots on goal in the second. The Broncos killed off both CC power play opportunities in the period, allowing zero shots on goal during the disadvantage. The Tigers had the slight advantage on shots on goal in the third at 10-8 but the Broncos once again killed off two more power plays to keep Colorado College out of the net and send it to over time.

The Broncos and Tigers battle it out again on Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. in Kalamazoo.

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