Ties aren’t usually acceptable to teams and coaches. Winning is much more satisfying.
But first-year Union coach Rick Bennett wasn’t complaining too much after his 11th-ranked Dutchmen skated to a 2-2 tie with No. 12 Western Michigan in the Messa Rink opener Friday.
There were some things Bennett wants to see corrected for tonight’s rematch at 7. He doesn’t want to see a slow start to the first period, and he will need the power play to do a better job, especially on a power play in overtime that generated few chances.
But for the second game of the season against a tough opponent, Bennett is pretty pleased.
“We’re not big on ties, especially in your home arena,” Bennett said. “I don’t want our guys to be satisfied with that tie. That’s not how we’re playing. I don’t want us ever to play on our heels.
“But when you play a team like that, and you come out of it [with a tie], my hats off to them. They’re very well coached. That was a good lesson for us. We’re going to have to build on that.”
Western Michigan coach Andy Murray wasn’t surprised by the outcome.
“We talked about it after the second period, and I didn’t like their body language,” said Murray, a former head coach in the NHL with Los Angeles and St. Louis. “We had a very good first period, and I think our guys got a little carried away with themselves, thinking that we’re pretty good. But I made them realize that we’re playing, in my opinion, one of the better teams in the country. Union returns 105 goals. They’ve got a great power play. I like their team.
“So, I thought [the tie] was very justifiable.”
Both goalies were outstanding. Union sophomore Troy Grosenick, making his second straight start, turned aside 32 shots. He was particularly strong in the first period, stopping 12 shots while the Dutchmen (1-0-1) struggled to keep up with the Broncos (2-0-1).
“Troy definitely kept us in the game,” Bennett said. “For a guy who came into the season with a whopping 85 minutes [played], he’s certainly shown he’s a quality goaltender in his two starts.”
Broncos goalie Nick Pisellini was just as good. The former Quinnipiac goalie, who made 32 saves, including 20 in the third period of a 6-3 win at Messa on Nov. 14, 2008, stopped 30 shots on Friday.
Two of his best stops, both glove saves, came against Daniel Carr in the second period. Carr was robbed on a one-timer from the right circle during a Union power play. That caused him to throw his arms up in frustration.
“I think that play was selfish of me to make that gesture,” Carr said. “We kept at him, and he made a couple of good saves.”
Late in the second, Carr went in on a breakaway.
“I saw a lot of room glove side,” Carr said. “I tried to get it over his glove.”
Again, Pisellini won.
“I felt confident,” said Pisellini, who made 16 saves in the second. “I read it off of his stick that he was going glove. I was trying to bait him that way.”
A fortuitous bounce led to Union’s first goal early in the game. Sam Coatta’s slot shot sailed over the net. The puck hit the glass and bounced back in the crease. Pisellini tried to clear it out, but he knocked it into the net.
Greg Squires tied it late in the first. Mat Bodie gave the Dutchmen the lead early in the third when his right-point shot beat a screened Pisellini.
But Squires tied it again with 7:13 left in the third. He beat Union defenseman Shaun Stuart to the puck in the neutral zone after Stuart failed to keep it in at the left point. Squires beat Grosenick from the right circle.
Union got a power play 1:30 into overtime. But the Dutchmen were tentative, passing the puck too much and not shooting until late in the power play.
“We got a little too cute,” Bodie said. “We could have just gotten traffic in front and pucks on [net]. That’s what we’ll do next time.”
Western Michigan 1010 — 2
Union 1010 — 2
First Period — 1, Union, Coatta 1, 2:03. 2, Western Michigan, Squires 1 (Oesterle, Brown), 17:54. Penalty — Novak, Uni (hooking), 13:11.
Second Period — None. Penalties — DeKeyser, WM (tripping), 2:17; Ikkala, Uni (boarding), 8:55; Warda, WM (holding stick), 12:16; Julseth-White, Uni (charging), 16:14; Roehl, WM (embellishment), 18:50; M. Bodie, Uni (tripping), 18:50.
Third Period — 3, Union, M. Bodie 1
(Zajac), 2:57. 4, Western Michigan, Squires 2, 12:47. Penalty — Berschbach, WM (hooking), 4:52.
Overtime — None. Penalty — Wiltowski, WM (hooking), 1:30
Shots on Goal — Western Michigan 13-11-10-0 — 34. Union 5-16-8-3 — 32.
Power-play opportunities — Western Michigan 0 of 3; Union 0 of 4.
Goalies — Western Michigan, Pisellini 1-0-1 (32 shots-30 saves). Union, Grosenick 1-0-1 (34-32).
A — 1,318. T — 2:25.
Referees — Alex Dell, Bryan Hicks. Linesmen — Mike Emanatian, Ryan Knapp.
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Categories: College Sports