KALAMAZOO, MICH. Dawson DiPietro scored two goals and added an assist and Trevor Gorsuch had 25 saves to lead 12th-ranked Western Michigan to a 5-2 victory over Colorado College Sunday night and even the NCHC quarterfinal series in Kalamazoo at one game apiece.
With the win, the Broncos force a third and deciding game Monday night at Lawson Ice Arena.
For the second straight night, the Broncos (21-14-1) jumped out to an early 1-0 lead. DiPietro gathered the puck at the blue line and sent a wrister past Alex Leclerc just 1:56 into the contest.
An exciting second period saw each team score twice. Following a Mason Bergh shot off the end boards, Troy Conzo evened the game at 1-1 at the 4:17 mark by shooting the puck from behind the net off Gorsuch’s skate and in for his seventh goal of the season.
For the next 12 minutes, Leclerc was as spectacular as he has been all season, making 13 saves before Colt Conrad found a rebound at the edge of the net and gave the Broncos a 2-1 lead at the 16:51 mark.
WMU took a 3-1 lead with 27.2 seconds left in the middle frame when Corey Schueneman slid down the slot, took a pass from Conrad and scored over Leclerc’s left shoulder.
That two-goal lead did not last long, however, as the puck entered the WMU end after the ensuing faceoff and, after a shot by Westin Michaud was saved, Bryan Yoon found himself with the puck in the slot and beat Gorsuch with 12 seconds remaining to cut the lead back to 3-2.
Austin Rueschhoff scored 1:44 into the third period, then DiPietro scored his second of the game after escaping the penalty box, finding the puck and beating Leclerc from the top of the left circle at the 13:08 mark of the final frame.
The Tigers (16-18-4) were outshot, 40-27, and Leclerc finished the game with 35 saves. Both teams were 0-for-3 on the power play.
”They came out strong and we never got a push in the first period,” head coach Mike Haviland said. “Later, we turned the puck over and they capitalized. We need to play harder tomorrow and now it’s do-or-die.”
Monday’s game is scheduled to start at 7:05 p.m. (ET).